Category Archives: Insurance

Travel Insurance Benefits from Recent Hurricanes

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While Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have damaged or slowed many businesses, one area that is seeing an increase in demand is travel insurance.

Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection has seen a 35% increase in calls and 6% increase in visits to BHTP.com since August 25 – the day before Harvey made landfall,” said BHTP President Dean Sivley. “Hurricane season always heightens the interest in travel insurance because storms can unfortunately ruin vacations that have been planned for months.”

The terms of travel insurance vary, travelers with existing travel insurance policies may be covered for delays, cancellations and interruptions, which may also cover non-refundable trip payments for the following reasons:

• Inclement weather causing delay or cancellation of travel
• Named hurricane causing cancellation or interruption of travel
• Traveler’s destination made uninhabitable or inaccessible
• Traveler or travel companion must cancel because their primary residence is made uninhabitable or inaccessible.

Generally, once a storm is named, travelers can still purchase travel insurance for their trip, but they will not be eligible for coverage for losses caused by travel delays, cancellations or interruptions due to that storm. BHTP advises travelers to contact their travel insurance provider to confirm and understand the coverage purchased.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Hathaway Most Vulnerable Auto Insurer in Florida

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Berkshire Hathaway’s GEICO is the top auto insurer in Florida, and has the most at risk with Hurricane Irma possibly headed for landfall on the state’s east coast.

In 2016, GEICO had a 20.68% market share of all auto policies in Florida.

The Category 5 storm. which has been leaving a trail of destruction through the Caribbean, could hit Florida in the early morning hours of Sunday.

The magnitude of the hurricane has Florida Gov. Rick Scott warning that the damage could be greater than 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, which caused 65 fatalities and $26.5 billion in damage.

“I want everybody to understand the importance of this. This is bigger than Andrew,” Gov. Scott said.

GEICO will be sending its Catastrophe Response (CAT) teams to Florida. The CAT teams include auto damage adjusters, supervisors and managers, and IT personnel.

Last week, GEICO sent CAT teams to Houston in the wake deal with the estimated 50,000 vehicles the company insures that were damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

GEICO CAT Teams on the Ground in Houston

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GEICO has sent its Catastrophe Response (CAT) teams to Houston to handle damage claims in the wake of the massive flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.

The hurricane may be the most destructive hurricane in U.S. history due to the estimated 500,000-1,000,000 vehicles that were damaged. Initial estimates put the number of those vehicles that are insured by GEICO at around 50,000.

The CAT teams include auto damage adjusters, supervisors and managers, and IT personnel.

GEICO earlier installed express call lines for Hurricane Harvey claims and the company reports its claims teams are effectively answering the incoming calls.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

MedPro Group Expands International Facility Coverage Capabilities for United States Domiciled Risks through Reinsurance Program Participation

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Berkshire Hathaway’s MedPro Group will participate in the US Jurisdiction medical professional liability facility of The Medical Professional Liability Company Ltd.

MedPro has added its support to that of existing subscribing Syndicate, Pembroke Managing Agency Limited Syndicate 4000. Pembroke Managing Agency Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ironshore.

Launched in January 2011, the facility offers cover on Lloyd’s paper to US institutions providing clinical services outside of the United States. The cover is enhanced by a unique offering of claims handling solutions, clinical governance review and a 24-hour legal helpline delivered by The MPLC.

MedPro and The MPLC believe the combination of their respective domestic and international expertise will provide their clients an unparalleled partner for underwriting risks that extend beyond U.S. domestic borders.

Maximum limits available for this facility are USD15M for any one claim and USD30M in the annual aggregate.

John Young, Managing Director of The MPLC said: “We are delighted to have MedPro’s and Pembroke’s support which will strengthen our program, especially for MedPro’s producing brokers and healthcare clients. The offering combines MPLC’s wide international experience with MedPro’s financial strength and experience as well as the strength and expertise of the Pembroke Syndicate at Lloyd’s of London.”

Discussing MedPro’s motivation behind the partnership, Craig Rowland, Business Development Lead for MedPro’s International Division said: “Through this facility, we are very pleased to be able to further support our domestic institutional clients, who daily trust us to protect their assets and reputations, by now being able to cover their international risks. It is always our deepest desire to continually meet the needs of our clients and serve them as their risks grow and become more complex.”

Tim Glover, Chief Underwriting Officer for Pembroke Managing Agency said: “We look forward to expanding our successful partnership with MedPro and The MPLC. Our collective breadth of experience and distribution will better serve our broker and client needs.”

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

GEICO Celebrates 4 Million Policies Milestone

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GEICO Insurance is celebrating reaching the four million policies milestone.

“Four million policies in force is truly a remarkable achievement in the history of the GEICO Insurance Agency,” says John Zinno, president of the GEICO Insurance Agency. “This milestone speaks volumes about our growth but more importantly, it exemplifies the hard work and dedication of our associates.”

Improved sales, service and customer retention along with a commitment to providing great products and services have been a catalyst for the GEICO Insurance Agency’s growth, and it also ties back into the company’s 20-year-old motto that emphasizes the importance of providing exceptional customer service.

“’Never say no to a customer’ is an attitude that is central to the way we interact with customers,” says Zinno. “It’s imperative that we always go the extra mile to make sure our customers have a remarkable experience every step of the way.”

Headquartered in Fredericksburg, Va., with offices in Buffalo, N.Y., and Virginia Beach, Va., the GEICO Insurance Agency is a subsidiary of the GEICO Corporation. The company offers multiple lines of insurance products, including homeowners, renters, condo, boat and umbrella insurance. Associates in the company’s three locations marked the achievement with a celebration.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Growth in North American Market to Benefit Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection

Strong growth in the number of outbound North American travelers means solid growth opportunities for travel insurers, including Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection.

According to the Research and Markets report, “North America Travel Insurance Market by Distribution Channel: Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2016-2022,” the travel insurance market possesses high potential to grow in the next 6-8 years, as the present penetration level is considerably low. It is one of the niche segments as compared to other segments in the insurance industry. One of the driving factors of travel insurance is the growth of tourism industry across North America.

As the tourist traffic is growing, the associated risk (while travelling) is also on rise.

Travel insurance covers the expenses incurred and minimizes the risks during travel, which include medical treatment to patient, trip cancellation, loss of baggage, evacuation or repatriation during an emergency, loss of travel documents, and others.

The growth of travel insurance market is influenced by the growth in trend of adopting travel insurance as a prerequisite for obtaining VISA. This provision ensures that travelers are adequately covered in case of medical emergencies, owing to high medical and hospitalization cost in foreign countries. However, lack of proper knowledge in terms of benefits of travel insurance and low awareness are expected to restrain the growth of the North America travel insurance market.

According to a study, the number of outbound travelers in the U.S. was increased by 7.7% in 2015 as compared to 2014, strengthening the growth of the U.S. travel insurance market.

Moreover, 27% of the Canadian population comprises baby boomers, who have the resources and time to travel across the world. Thus, travel insurance service providers target baby boomers and amend their services to provide a better solution, which is expected to surge the demand for travel insurance in Canada. Insurance intermediaries are expected to gain high market share, owing to the growth of travel insurance among senior citizens.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

GEICO Besting Esurance in Illinois

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GEICO Casualty has been gaining customers in Illinois while its competitor, Allstate’s Esurance, has seen policyholder slippage.

Esurance’s total Illinois policyholders dropped 4% from the prior year to 49,317, according to its June 12 filing with the Illinois Department of Insurance. Nationally, its total policyholders fell 2% to 1.4 million from 1.43 million.

In contrast, GEICO Casualty’s Illinois policyholders grew to 212,029 policyholders as of March 31, which is a strong 15% increase from 183,644 policyholders.

In 2011, Allstate bought Esurance and Answer Financial from White Mountains Insurance Group for roughly $1 billion. Esurance sells auto insurance directly to customers online and through call centers. The unit has never turned a profit, and Allstate has responded by slashing its advertising budget.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Gen Re Founding Member of InsurLab Germany

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Gen Re is one of the founding members of InsurLab Germany, as the insurance industry is embracing digitalization at an ever-faster pace, both in Germany and elsewhere.

InsurLab Germany is open to companies in the insurance industry along with start-ups and related service providers. Gen Re is one of eight founding members with an insurance background; other co-founders include the Cologne Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the University of Cologne and TH Köln University of Applied Sciences. Ulrich Pasdika, Head of Region Germany and Research & Development Life & Health at Gen Re, was elected to the association’s board along with two other representatives from the insurance industry.

Dr Winfried Heinen, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors at General Reinsurance AG, said: “We are delighted about this initiative and are happy to actively support it. We believe it strengthens Cologne as an insurance hub and we can make a significant contribution to the discussions with our international expertise. As a top ten reinsurer with a global network, we have a strong interest in promoting collaboration between start-ups and the insurance industry – to the benefit of both sides.”

Gen Re has been involved in various initiatives dedicated to the digital future of the industry for some time now. One of the fields it focuses on within this area is data science. In addition to this, Gen Re is working with external partners to find practical solutions to the highly dynamic pace of change affecting the insurance industry as it tackles rapid technological progress and changing consumer behaviour.

Ulrich Pasdika commented: “We firmly believe that cooperation between insurers and reinsurers on the one hand and a wide range of InsurTechs on the other, offers huge potential for innovative approaches. Provided the industry maintains this collaboration in a smart, consistent way, digitalization represents a massive opportunity for it.

Cologne’s InsurLab is the latest in a long line of international initiatives and projects relating to technology and innovation which we have established around the world, and it offers us another outstanding opportunity to help shape these major changes.”

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Gen Re Hires New Chief Actuary

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William (Bill) Casill, FSA, has joined Gen Re’s North American life and health business as Senior Vice President and Chief Actuary, assuming strategic oversight of pricing and valuation for General Re Life Corporation. He reports to Vincent DeMarco, President and CEO.

Bill has an extensive background in pricing and valuation, including over 25 years of experience in mortality analytics, underwriting and reinsurance. Prior to his new role, he served as Head of Reinsurance and Corporate Chief Underwriter at AXA Equitable.

“We are excited about the experience Bill brings to Gen Re. His impressive wealth of knowledge will allow him to immediately support our profitable growth objectives,” said DeMarco.

“What mainly attracted me to Gen Re was the opportunity to work with a talented group of professionals, both within the company and across their wide range of clients,” said Casill. “I look forward to working under a top quality brand and identifying ways we can be more competitive across markets.”

Bill is based in the Stamford, Connecticut office and is a graduate of Stony Brook University.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Launches Public and Products Liability Insurance in the UK, Ireland and Southern Europe

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) is introducing Public and Products Liability Insurance in the UK, Ireland and Southern Europe, and Employer’s Liability Insurance in the UK and Ireland.

The company also named Martin Leeks, Senior Vice President, Casualty, UK and Southern Europe.

“Under Martin’s leadership, we look forward to building out our casualty team in the region and bringing to market creative solutions with the financial strength and long-term underwriting focus of BHSI,” said Tom Bolt, President, BHSI, UK and Southern Europe. “Martin’s wealth of casualty underwriting expertise, coupled with our broad appetite and stable capacity, will translate to solutions that serve customers well for years to come.”

Along with local casualty coverage in the UK and Southern Europe, BHSI will provide multinational programs and underwrite certain targeted trades via Coverholders.

Martin comes to BHSI with 26 years of casualty underwriting experience, most recently at Mitsui Sumitomo at Lloyd’s. Before that, he was Senior Underwriter at Chartis (AIG) Cat Excess and held casualty underwriting roles at ACE Europe and Zurich. He began his career handling international claims.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.