Tag Archives: Insurance

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.

Gen Re to Offer Reinsurance in India

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Gen Re has received approval from the Insurance Regulation and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) to open a branch in Mumbai (R3 license).

The new branch structure will now allow Gen Re to deliver underwriting and risk management expertise locally rather than cross-border. It will facilitate an optimal business model, both efficient in process and highly beneficial to clients. Gen Re has already been committed to the Indian market for the past 15 years through various channels, most recently through a local support services company in Mumbai. The focus was primarily on the Life and Health sector. Gen Re will continue contributing and expanding in this segment while simultaneously exploring opportunities to grow its presence in the Property/Casualty reinsurance market.

Venkatesh N. Chakravarty will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer and lead the branch. Bringing almost three decades of re/insurance experience to the role, he has held senior positions with both an international and domestic focus. Venkatesh will also hold operational responsibility for the Life/Health business. The Property/Casualty business will be headed by Nighat Khan.

Speaking recently, Winfried Heinen, Chairman of the Executive Board of Directors of General Reinsurance AG, said, “We are delighted about the opening of the Indian market. Establishing a reinsurance branch is an important milestone for us. We firmly believe in the great potential of the Indian market, especially for life and health insurance products. With Venkatesh as our local head we have an extraordinarily professional and capable team in place to lead this important move. I am excited about the opportunities on the horizon.”

“The new structure will enable us to provide technical and risk management services locally. Beyond classic reinsurance of traditional lines of business, the development of innovative life and health insurance products with and for our clients is at the core of our value proposition. We are now ideally positioned to meet the demands and challenges of the market,” added Venkatesh Chakravarty.

© 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 Travel Protection Innovates With New Products

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Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection (BHTP), a leading provider of innovative travel insurance, has launched a new lineup of travel insurance products for the U.S. market.

Known for its market-leading innovation in U.S. travel insurance, BHTP is launching more comprehensive coverage than before with the debut of ExactCare® Value™ and ExactCare® Extra™, and enhancements to its existing ExactCare® product.

“BHTP is launching a good, better and different suite of plans in the U.S. market,” said Dean Sivley, president of Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. “Our top-tier offering is ‘different’ in that it not only provides the highest coverage limits from BHTP, it also integrates our innovative fixed benefits, making it the broadest travel insurance option in the U.S.”

ExactCare® Extra™: BHTP is the first travel insurance company to launch a revolutionary concept that combines the innovative and immediate fixed-benefit payments featured in its existing AirCare® product with traditional coverage, giving travelers the broadest travel and simplest protection possible.

ExactCare® Value™: Full-featured product offering savvy travelers what they want most from travel insurance.

ExactCare®: BHTP’s most popular product is now more hassle-free – particularly for families, with the addition of family-friendly pricing.

“Travel agents now have something different to offer their clients – something that includes what we’re calling ‘no receipts needed’ fixed benefits for several coverages in BHTP’s new ExactCare Extra® plan,” Sivley added. “Following the 2014 debut of AirCare® – the world’s first flight-protection product to feature claims that are automatically filed and paid as flight or baggage mishaps happen – BHTP has now combined these popular fixed benefits for travel disruption and baggage with traditional, comprehensive travel insurance.”

As travelers enter the busy and often weather-disrupted summer travel season, the new and enhanced ExactCare products will not only make quick travel assistance more accessible for any travel problem or disruption, but now travelers can receive “as it happens” claims payments for covered flight cancellations, tarmac delays or delayed and lost baggage.

Designed to dramatically reduce or eliminate claim filing and processing, all new BHTP ExactCare products include expedited claims reimbursement via BHTP Burst® – including direct e-payments to a PayPal account, or payment via debit card into a specified account. Plus, the new, innovative ExactCare Extra plan includes real-time flight tracking, the popular high-tech feature that was first introduced in 2014 with BHTP’s AirCare product.

All BHTP insureds have access to on-demand attention and responses through MyAssist, and BHTP’s 24/7/365 global concierge service.

© 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 Specialty Insurance Launches Professional First Professional Liability and Network Security & Privacy Policy in Canada

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It was just last year that Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) marked its initial entry into Professional Lines in Canada with the launch of Professional First Miscellaneous Professional Liability Insurance, geared for large commercial entities, from consultants to property managers.

Now, BHSI has introduced its Professional First Professional Liability and Network Security & Privacy Policy and announced that it has appointed Geoffrey Kendrick as Head of Professional Lines in Canada.

“We are pleased to round out our Executive & Professional Lines products with comprehensive professional liability coverage for large, complex technology-related risks,” said Michael Densham, Head of Executive & Professional Lines, BHSI, Canada. “We are also excited to have Geoff leading our efforts in the Professional Lines marketplace. His extensive experience will serve BHSI and our customers well.”

BHSI’s new Professional First Professional Liability and Network Security & Privacy Policy is designed to address the needs of a wide range of enterprises, from systems integrators, to telecommunications providers, to IT staffing firms. The policy provides coverage for numerous exposures, encompassing: (i) third party exposures resulting from security and privacy breaches, including regulatory investigations, fines and penalties; (ii) a wide range of direct expenses an insured incurs in responding to a breach or extortion threat; (iii) media liability exposures; and (iv) lost income and related expenses resulting from interruption of the insured’s business due to a network security failure. The new form was purposefully drafted with clear, concise language, and builds in as standard many coverages traditionally available only by endorsement.

Geoffrey Kendrick joins BHSI after 11 years at Zurich Financial Services, Global Corporate. At Zurich, he held various underwriting roles of increasing responsibility focusing on professional indemnity and product safety & recall business in offices around the globe. Developing international insurance solutions for large, multinational risks, while addressing the complex and ever changing business, legal and compliance environment is his specialty. Geoffrey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Western Ontario, King’s College.

He is based in BHSI’s office in Toronto.

© 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 Reaches 15-Million Policyholder Milestone

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Fifteen million is a lot of anything, and for insurer GEICO it represents continued growth that has seen it become one of the dominant players in the auto, motorcycle and recreational vehicle insurance markets.

A Covington, Ga., couple called GEICO recently looking to purchase a new auto insurance policy. Little did they know that their 15-minute phone conversation with GEICO sales counselor Jon Hollingshed of Macon, Ga., would propel GEICO to a record-breaking 15-millionth policy.

“We are extremely excited that the 15-millionth policy was purchased here in Georgia,” said GEICO regional vice president Rhett Rayburn. “For the second time in 12 months, we’ve been a part of a significant policyholder milestone. This is a true testament to the tireless effort and hard work of our GEICO team here in Macon.”

Speaking with the couple over the phone, Hollingshed mentioned that they did their homework by asking the right questions, looking at coverage options, comparing quotes and reading customer reviews. “They reviewed different auto insurance companies but chose to go with GEICO because of our easy sales process, price discounts and mainly positive customer comments,” said Hollingshed.

As for being a part of GEICO’s historic milestone, Hollingshed had no idea that he had just sold GEICO’s 15-millionth policy. “When they told me the good news, I couldn’t believe it,” said Hollingshed. “My initial impression: what are the chances of that happening?”

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies and is the second-largest private passenger auto insurance company in the United States. GEICO, which was founded in 1936, provides millions of auto insurance quotes to U.S. drivers annually. The company serves more than 15 million private passenger customers, insuring more than 24 million vehicles (auto & cycle).

© 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.

General Star Offers Coverage for Food Delivery Businesses

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Ever wonder if your pizza delivery person could sink your company due to an accident? Well, worry no longer.

Berkshire Hathaway’s General Star Management Company has announced the launch of its Food Delivery Program effective March 1, 2017.

General Star’s Programs Unit will partner with AmWINS Program Underwriters, who will administer the program designed for hired and non-owned auto liability risks engaged in food delivery services.

The Food Delivery Program provides protection for hired and non-owned commercial auto liability risks. Businesses with twenty or fewer locations are eligible on a nationwide basis, with the exception of Louisiana.

“We are delighted to partner with AmWINS Program Underwriters. They have an enviable nationwide reputation as a skilled program administrator. We are pleased to respond to this need in the market,” said Tom Gersch, Vice President and General Star Programs Unit Manager.

General Star President and CEO Martin Hacala said, “We are pleased to expand General Star’s program offerings via this latest collaboration with AmWINS. The expertise of AmWINS and General Star provides a wonderful combination for success. I am confident the program will rapidly achieve its potential and provide long term value to our customers.”

he program will be written on a non-admitted basis by General Star Indemnity Company, which is rated A++ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company, and carries an AA+ Insurance Financial Strength Rating from Standard & Poor’s Corporation. General Star is a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Reinsurance Corporation, a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies.

General Star Indemnity Company is an eligible surplus lines insurer in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. It has the status as an unlicensed insurer in California and operates under NAIC Number 0031-37362. Insurance is placed with the General Star Indemnity Company by licensed producers and, for risks that qualify, by licensed surplus lines brokers.

© 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 Specialty Insurance Rolls Out Accident & Health Insurance and Services in Asia

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company (BHSI) has introduced Group Personal Accident, Corporate Travel and Expatriate Medical Insurance in Singapore and Hong Kong.
The company also named Kok Leong Koo as Underwriting Manager, Accident & Health, based in Singapore, and Janus Law as Assistant Vice President, Accident & Health based in Hong Kong.

BHSI’s new Corporate Travel and Expatriate Medical Insurance products combine coverage with 24/7 access to BHSI’s Care and Concierge Services. These services include emergency medical, evacuation and repatriation assistance; medical referrals; assistance retrieving lost luggage; and worldwide Concierge support for events like last minute reservations to house sitting services. The company’s new Group Personal Accident Insurance also offers expansive coverage with the flexibility of numerous add-on benefits.

“We are pleased to launch our first Accident & Health solutions in Asia — backed by BHSI’s financial strength,” said Phillip Brain, Head of Accident & Health, BHSI in Asia. “The BHSI Care and Concierge Services embedded in our travel covers are indicative of the high level of service we plan to bring to this marketplace.”

These new A&H products are available in Singapore and Hong Kong and will launch in Macau in the coming weeks. In addition, BHSI continues to provide facultative reinsurance for Accident & Health exposures through its four offices in Asia, which are located in Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau and Malaysia.

Kok Leong comes to BHSI with more than a decade of experience in different underwriting and business development roles in the Singapore and Malaysia markets, which includes underwriting expertise in a Malaysian life operation. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Malaya. Kok Leong is based in BHSI’s office in Singapore.

Janus has more than 10 years of experience in Accident & Health markets in Hong Kong and China, serving in various senior underwriting and management roles, including chief underwriting officer for Accident & Health products in Asia. Janus holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Hong Kong and is a Fellow of the Life Management Institute. She is based in BHSI’s office in Hong Kong.

© 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 Specialty Insurance Opens London Office

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company (BHSI), in coordination with its affiliate Berkshire Hathaway International Insurance Limited (BHIIL), has established a new office in London and filled key executive roles.

The company named Richard Nathan as Head of Property Lines; Patrick Brown as Head of Executive & Professional Liability; and Andrew Walker as Head of Claims, for BHSI in the UK and Southern Europe.

“We are pleased to expand our specialty insurance operations with a new London office and a growing team of professionals with excellent capabilities and character,” said Tom Bolt, President, UK and Southern Europe, BHSI. “Richard and Patrick will deliver bespoke specialty solutions backed by financial strength, while Andrew will ensure that excellent in-house claims expertise is available for customers from day one.”

The new office will serve brokers and customers in the UK and Southern European countries, including Ireland, Spain, France and Italy.

© 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 Travel Protection Report Identifies a Potential 4.9% Increase for Travel Insurance Sales to Americans

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Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection’s (BHTP) second-annual benchmark white paper report released today identifies a potential 4.9% increase for travel insurance sales to Americans traveling this year.

The Report uses surveys and a predictive global-travel model to produce its findings, which reveal that 36% of consumers expect to buy more travel insurance in 2017, and nearly 61% of travel agents predict that 2017 will be a better year for travel insurance.

The Report’s 10 most influential factors impacting travel insurance sales in 2017:

1. Travel on the rise means more trips to insure in 2017

41% of BHTP travelers indicate they plan to take more international leisure trips in 2017. Significantly more international leisure trips are covered by travel insurance (39%) than domestic leisure trips (16%), which appears to lead to an expected increase in travel insurance sales.

2. Increase in trip costs leads to higher travel insurance revenues

45% of travelers stated they would buy more travel insurance in 2017 because of the cost of the trip. The expected 4% increase in trip costs due to currency fluctuations, increases in lodging costs, airfares, cruise costs and ground transportation can lead to higher travel-insurance premiums and eventually higher travel insurance revenues.

3. Flight issues like cancellations and delays are among the top reason why consumers intend to buy more travel insurance

71% of travelers bought more travel insurance in 2016 because of flight issues like cancellations and delays. Innovative travel insurers seeking to provide benefits related to flight interruptions may succeed by meeting the needs of this segment with flight-protection coverage such as AirCare.

4. Increased knowledge of how travel insurance works

40% of consumers said they were buying more travel insurance because they had better knowledge of how travel insurance products works.1

5. Increased use of travel agents leads to increased travel insurance sales

More than 18% of travelers use a travel agent to book travel and 94% of travel agents said they offer travel insurance with every travel sale.

6. Family health ranks among the top reason to buy more travel insurance

32% of respondents said they bought more travel insurance in 2016 due to family health reasons. Consumers’ concerns over the health of family members appears to make “cancel for any reason” coverage more appealing.

7. Rising interest in cruise travel for 2017 will be a key driver of travel insurance sales

Nearly 38% of agencies said river cruises have been the top type of trip in 2016, and 67% expect river cruises to be the top driver of improved business performance in 2017. European river cruises ranked third on travel agent’s list of top destinations for 2017.

For consumers, 39% expect to take more river cruises, and 36% expect to take more ocean cruises in 2017. When these facts are viewed with an increase in cruise-ship capacity of more than 17,000 in 2017, travel insurance sales may see an increase, since most cruise vacations are insured.

8. Bucket-list and adventure travel hot travel types in 2017

76% of agents listed bucket-list travel as a hot trend for 2017, and 53% of travelers said they traveled to cross something off of their bucket list. 36% of travelers said they are planning more adventure trips in 2017, and 41% of agents said adventure travel will be a top driver of improved business.

9. International terrorism is a threat to travel and a reason to buy more travel insurance 60% of travel agencies and 25% of travelers told BHTP that international terrorism was a threat to traveling, and 12% of travelers stated that fear of terrorism is a reason for buying more travel insurance.

10. Zika no longer a top-of-mind threat, leading to an increase in travel to the Caribbean

A possible 12% increase in travel to the Caribbean could be realized in 2017, as Zika has been declared by the World Health Organization to no longer be a “global health emergency.” Caribbean and Central America travel may also see a 10% increase in travel insurance sales, the largest increase of any region given the current data. Only 4% of respondents, however, said fears of disease epidemics are leading them to buy more travel insurance.

Travel insurance sales by destination

BHTP’s Report also looked at travel demand and travel insurance sales on a region-by-region basis. The highlights are:

Insurance sales for travel to the Caribbean and Central America are expected to increase by almost 10%, driven by a strong rebound in travel to the region;

Europe remains a polarizing destination for travelers and travel agents, though river cruises and low airfares will help contribute to increased European travel and a 4% increase in travel insurance sales; and
A post-Olympics decline in South American travel will lead to a 7% decline in travel insurance sales for the region.

About the State of Travel Insurance

The State of Travel Insurance includes responses from 573 travelers and 96 travel agencies about their travel habits, their travel business, their experiences in 2016 and/or their expectations for 2017. The confidence levels in both surveys are sufficient to draw large-scale conclusions from the results. Sources consulted in preparing this report included travel-trend reports from the Global Business Travel Association, Sojern, IATA, Cruise Lines International Association, and cruisemarketwatch.com. MMGY Global’s Portrait of American Travelers was particularly helpful. Data from these sources were used to create detailed models of trip costs to various regions, to extrapolate out the Commerce Department statistics, and to make projections on percentage of covered trips, traveler ages, and travel-insurance cost as a percentage of trip cost. These projections were used to calculate total 2017 travel-insurance sales, and then those figures were compared against last year’s figures to chart percentage change.

About Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection

Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection is the trade name for the travel protection services of Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Concierge, LLC, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, part of the National Indemnity group of insurance companies. Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection created AirCare flight and other travel related protections. The AirCare product is provided by Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company or National Liability & Fire Insurance Company.

© 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.