Tag Archives: Insurance

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

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

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.

GEICO Hiring in Georgia

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One Hundred new jobs are coming to the Peach State, as GEICO continues to grow its operations in Macon, Georgia.

GEICO’s Macon regional office is looking for local Georgians interested in joining its team of claims representatives.

“In the event of an accident, GEICO’s claims representatives are the first to assist our policyholders when they need it the most,” said Shawn Burklin, senior vice president. “That’s why it’s so important for us to have a great team of associates ready and willing to serve our customers. If you are up to the challenge, we want to hear from you.”

Qualified candidates who have excellent customer service, communication and decision making skills, experience with computers, a good work ethic, and are comfortable working in a fast-paced environment are encouraged to apply.

© 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.

AIG Partners with Berkshire Hathaway’s National Indemnity on Reinsurance Agreement

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American International Group, Inc. (AIG) has entered into a binding term sheet for an adverse development reinsurance agreement, effective January 1, 2016, with National Indemnity Company (NICO), a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

The agreement covers 80% of substantially all of AIG’s U.S. Commercial long-tail exposures for accident years 2015 and prior, which includes the largest part of AIG’s U.S. casualty exposures during that period. AIG will retain sole authority to handle and resolve claims, and NICO has various access, association and consultation rights.

“This decisive step enables us to focus firmly on the future and build on the progress we’ve made in transforming AIG,” said Peter D. Hancock, AIG President and Chief Executive Officer. “The agreement supports our stated strategy and gives us additional risk capacity to serve our clients and return capital to shareholders.”

The consideration for this agreement is $9.8 billion payable in full by June 30, 2017, with interest at 4% per annum from January 1, 2016 to date of payment. The consideration paid to NICO will be placed into a collateral trust account as security for NICO’s claim payment obligations to the AIG operating subsidiaries, and Berkshire Hathaway will provide a parental guarantee to secure the obligations of NICO under the agreement.

NICO is assuming 80% of the net losses and net allocated loss adjustment expenses on the subject reserves in excess of the first $25 billion and NICO’s overall limit of liability under the agreement is $20 billion. This provides material protection to policyholders against adverse developments beyond current reserve levels.

AIG’s fourth quarter reserve review is being finalized and the results of this review will be included in the company’s year-end financial results. AIG currently expects a material prior year adverse development charge in the fourth quarter.

The agreement will be accounted for in the first quarter of 2017 as a retroactive reinsurance agreement. AIG will recognize a loss or a deferred gain at inception of the agreement equal to the difference between the consideration paid and the ceded reserves as of December 31, 2016. Had this agreement been entered into on January 1, 2016, AIG would have recognized a loss of approximately $2.9 billion, based on carried reserves of approximately $34 billion, net of discount at that time. This loss would be reduced by AIG’s expected reinsurance recoveries from NICO’s 80% share of any 2016 calendar year adverse prior year development covered by the contract. If that share exceeds $2.9 billion, then a deferred gain is established, which will be amortized into the income statement in line with expected cash reinsurance recoveries from NICO.

The closing of the transaction contemplated by this agreement is subject to receipt of any required regulatory approvals, execution of definitive transaction documentation and satisfaction of other conditions.

© 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 to Offer Reinsurance in Malaysia

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company (BHSI) has received a license from Labuan FSA to provide non-life reinsurance to the Malaysian market.

The company also established a new office in Kuala Lumpur and named Gaithrie Nandrajog as Branch Manager and Koo Kang Wuu as Executive & Professional Lines and Business Development Manager in Malaysia.

After putting down roots in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Macau, we are pleased to further expand our operations in Asia and bring facultative reinsurance capacity and new products with the backing of our strong balance sheet to selected Malaysian insurance partners,” said Marc Breuil, President, Asia, BHSI. “With the opening of our Malaysian office, we continue to deepen our underwriting and claims capabilities in the region.”

Gaithrie, who will oversee BHSI’s new Malaysian reinsurance operation, holds a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of West England, Bristol. Koo holds an MBA from RMIT University plus a B. A. (Hons) from the University of Hertfordshire (UK). Both come to BHSI with more than a decade of experience in the Malaysian insurance industry.

© 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 Creates Virtual Assistant “Kate” to Answer Insurance Questions

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If you have an insurance question just ask Kate, GEICO’s new virtual assistant. Available through the GEICO Mobile app, you can ask Kate a question and she will respond with quick, personalized answers.

“Interactive voice assistant technology has altered the way customers interact with their mobile devices,” said Pete Meoli, GEICO mobile and digital experience director. “Kate is very intuitive and has been programmed to connect with policyholders at a deeper level.”

Kate is available 24/7 to policyholders and makes self-service easier by answering questions and helping with their policy needs. She has been programmed to know about insurance and can provide customers with specific policy information. Customers can also initiate conversations with Kate by typing or speaking to her.

Meoli notes that Kate has a personal side and will reveal details about herself if asked. “We wanted her to be friendly with a natural interaction,” said Meoli. “She is always learning from our customers and will be an integral part of enhancing their experiences with GEICO.”

Kate is currently available within the mobile app for iOS, with plans to introduce her to Android policyholders in early 2017.

© 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.