Category Archives: Insurance

Berkshire’s Gen Re and Suffolk University Launch Strategic New Behavioral Economics Relationship

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Gen Re has looked to Suffolk University professors for their expertise in behavioral economics in a unique business relationship designed to benefit the reinsurer’s clients in the areas of underwriting, marketing, client engagement, customer service and more.

Behavioral economics draws from the fields of psychology and economics to better understand human behavior and decision-making when they deviate from strict rationality.

Over the past several years, Gen Re has conducted and shared results of several in-house behavioral economics studies focusing on key areas of interest to insurers. This research helped Gen Re’s reinsurance clients improve disclosure on insurance applications and personal history interviews, as well as explore other areas of interest such as policyholder communication, financial planning presentations, marketing materials and website design.

Expanding upon the Gen Re Research team’s existing efforts, the relationship with Suffolk University will provide:

• The ability for Gen Re clients to complete professor-developed and led behavioral economics training modules, extending from basic to advanced courses
• Broader outreach on the topic of behavioral economics and related applications in the insurance industry
• Speaking engagements with Suffolk University professors at Gen Re sponsored events

“Traditional economics is all about rational individuals, how they respond to prices, etc.,” explains Jonathan Haughton, professor of Economics at Suffolk University in Boston. “However, there are all sorts of cases where we don’t behave quite so rationally.”

Haughton and Suffolk Assistant Professor Lawrence De Geest both teach in the field of behavioral economics and are sharing their knowledge with Gen Re’s Research team. De Geest’s research examines the emergence of social norms and the effect of information on decision-making.

“All kinds of psychological factors outside of traditional economics play into people’s decision-making,” Haughton says. “For example, when it comes to health and medical disclosure, the way a question is framed in a questionnaire can make a big difference to what people choose to disclose. Loss aversion is another psychological factor that can affect economic decision-making. People are very averse to losing things to which they have become attached, so instead of saying, ‘Save $50 a month,’ you might say ‘Stop losing $50 a month. Don’t lose your ability to support your household.’”

Keith Brown, Senior Vice President and Head of Individual Life at Gen Re, says it’s important for insurers to pay attention to these important behavioral factors: “At a time of rapidly evolving underwriting approaches, uncertainty about future morbidity and mortality improvement, and increased insurer focus on client engagement, the behavioral economics training is being made available to Gen Re clients at an important industry inflection point.”

Suffolk University, located in the heart of downtown Boston, has a long history of partnering with industry to share relevant academic and business knowledge, research, and expertise.

“I am a big believer in faculty doing work with business, government and the non-profit sector outside of the academy,” Haughton says. “I think in the right proportion, it hugely benefits teaching and research.”

© 2022 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 a 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’s Executive Chairman Tony Nicely Retiring

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GEICO’s Executive Chairman Tony Nicely has announced he will retire from his role at the end of the year, concluding an illustrious 60-year career.

Prior to assuming his current position as executive chairman in 2018, Nicely served as chairman and CEO of GEICO for 25 years.

Nicely’s leadership ushered in the most impressive growth era in GEICO history and turned the company into one of the country’s most recognizable brands. The company surged ahead to become the nation’s second largest auto insurer, with nearly 17 million policyholders at the end of his tenure as chairman and CEO. Today, GEICO insures more than 18.6 million policyholders.

Under Nicely’s watch, GEICO’s associate population increased more than eight-fold to a family of some 40,000, working at 18 locations across the country.

During his time as chairman and CEO, GEICO also experienced one of its most critical milestones. In 1996, the company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway after Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett announced the holding company would buy out the remaining 49% of shares it didn’t already own.

Nicely shared his expertise with the entire property/casualty insurance industry, serving on boards for the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Insurance Information Institute. He was also inducted into the Washington Business Hall of Fame for his achievements.

During Nicely’s tenure as GEICO chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett often commended Nicely for his distinguished leadership. Buffett wrote of Tony in his 2018 annual shareholder letter, “He is a model for everything a manager should be.”

In an earlier letter to shareholders, Buffett added, “If you have a new son or grandson in 2006, name him Tony,” after praising GEICO for having an exceptional year of growth and profitability.

Nicely came to GEICO in 1961 as an endorsement clerk in the company’s underwriting department. A teenager at the time, he initially viewed the opportunity as a short-term job so he could save money to attend college and pursue an engineering degree.

Nicely soon discovered a career at GEICO was his passion, and he was quickly promoted through several ranks in management before the Board of Directors elected him assistant vice president of underwriting at age 29.

Nicely went on to serve in executive roles with increasing responsibility before first assuming the role of CEO and later adding the title of chairman. His business expertise and humble leadership is largely responsible for shaping GEICO into the company it is today.

© 2021 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 in Major Hiring Push in Georgia

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Berkshire Hathaway’s auto insurer GEICO hiring in Macon, Georgia. GEICO looks to hire nearly 500 new associates in claims, service, sales, salvage/title processing, emergency roadside help and other vital areas in Macon.

The company is also significantly increasing starting salaries across those positions.

The company’s Total Rewards benefits package includes health, dental and vision coverage, paid vacation and holidays, parental leave, and continuing education and tuition reimbursement.

Founded in 1936, GEICO is the second largest auto insurer in the U.S., covering more than 28 million vehicles in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

GEICO employs more than 43,000 associates countrywide.

© 2021 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 Offers Directors & Officers Liability and Professional Indemnity Policies in Ireland

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance has added to its customized suite of Directors & Officers (D&O) Liability and Professional Indemnity policies, for customers in Ireland.

The company has launched a new suite of Professional First coverages that includes Architects, Engineers & Consultants Professional Indemnity and Project Specific Professional Indemnity, Design & Construct Liability and Miscellaneous Professional Indemnity Insurance.

These new products expand BHSI’s capabilities in Ireland by offering primary solutions to customers in the Commercial Professional Indemnity space. In Ireland, BHSI already provides primary solutions via its Executive First Directors & Officers Liability Insurance for commercial customers and Professional First Asset Management Liability and Financial Institutions Civil Liability for financial institutions.

“Companies in the Irish market face growing and evolving management and professional indemnity exposures at the same time they are navigating challenging and uncertain insurance market conditions,” said Caoimhe Gormley, Executive & Professional Lines, Ireland. “BHSI is pleased to provide companies across Ireland with a wide range of new Executive & Professional Lines options backed by the certainty of stellar financial strength, our long-view underwriting, and the excellent service that comes with our CLAIMS IS OUR PRODUCT® philosophy.”

© 2021 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

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Expands Casualty Capabilities to Energy & Technical Lines in the UK

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance has launched Energy and Technical Lines Casualty products in the UK and established a dedicated London-based Energy & Technical Lines underwriting team.

The company’s UK Casualty Energy & Technical Lines team includes:

• Oliver Brown, Manager, Energy Casualty. He comes to BHSI with 20 years of experience in technical energy risks. He most recently spent 10 years at AXA XL as Class Underwriter, Energy Casualty.

• Penny Wang, Senior Energy Casualty Underwriter. She joins BHSI with 16 years of energy casualty experience, most recently as Senior Casualty Underwriter at Starr Companies.

• James Emson, who has been promoted to Casualty Manager, Technical Casualty, UK. He was previously Senior Casualty Underwriter, UK.

• Jack Erritt, Technical Casualty Underwriter, UK. He was most recently Energy Casualty Underwriter at AIG.

“We are pleased to expand our casualty capabilities with the deep technical risk expertise of our new team,” said Hilary Browne, Head of Casualty, UK & Europe. “Now BHSI can provide both technical Casualty and Property solutions, backed by stellar financial strength and service, to energy operations and other technical risks across the U.K.”

© 2021 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 Enters Marine Market in France

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance has launched a full line of marine insurance products in France and appointed Muriel Birre Julvécourt as Head of Marine.

The new marine offerings include: Inland Marine, Ocean Cargo, Stock & Transit, Project Cargo, Freight Forwarders Liability, Ports & Terminals, and Subsea Insurance.

“We are very excited to further round out our offerings for customers and brokers in France with marine insurance, backed by BHSI’s financial stability, long-view underwriting, and CLAIMS IS OUR PRODUCT® philosophy,” said François-Xavier d’Huart, Country Manager, France. “Muriel is well known in the local marketplace and we are excited to have her deep technical expertise and excellent leadership capabilities leading our entry into this new line.”

Muriel comes to BHSI with more than 25 years of marine underwriting experience. She was most recently Head of Marine at RSA Group. Before that, she held various management roles in Marine at Groupama Transport. She was a member of the Marine Committee of the French Federation for Insurance Companies (FFA) for nearly 10 years, and holds a master’s degree in Insurance Law from the University of Paris Panthéon Assas.

Muriel is based in BHSI’s office in Paris.

© 2021 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 a 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 on Major Hiring Spree

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Berkshire Hathaway’s GEICO is adding to its robust workforce in Indianapolis by hiring as many as 350 new associates as soon as possible in the fields of customer service, claims and sales.

“Just like Indianapolis, GEICO is thriving. We are thankful to be able to hire right now and grow our Indianapolis family. And, as a promote-from-within company, we’re dedicated to ensuring you advance your career,” Assistant Vice President Lona Montgomery said.

GEICO is also adding to its workforce in Macon, Georgia by hiring more than 500 new associates as soon as possible, mostly in Emergency Roadside Service (ERS) Representatives and Customer Service.

© 2021 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 Makes Insurance Acquisitions

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Berkshire Hathaway’s auto insurer, GEICO, has acquired Republic Group No. Two Company, a Missouri corporation formed in 1965.The transaction took place in January 2021.

GEICO acquired 100% of the voting shares of Republic Group No. Two Company and control of Southern County Mutual Insurance Co., a property and casualty insurer based in Dallas, Texas.

GEICO management has indicated its intention to reinsure Southern County 100% to an affiliate; however, the reinsurance agreement has not yet been put into effect.

© 2021 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 n

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Appoints Team to Lead Entrance Into Executive & Professional Lines in France

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance is entering the Executive & Professional Lines market in France and has appointed Olivier Hamon as Head of Financial Institutions and Management Liabilities and Alice Batchili as Professional Indemnity Manager.

Olivier and Alice will spearhead BHSI’s launch of a full range of products in France, including D&O Liability, Financial Institutions D&O Liability, Professional Indemnity, Employment Practices Liability, Crime, and Cyber Insurance, with an initial focus on Corporate and Upper Middle Market risks.

“Unencumbered by legacy liabilities, and committed to disciplined risk underwriting, BHSI is well positioned to provide companies across France with stable and sustainable Executive & Professional Lines solutions,” said François-Xavier d’Huart, Country Manager, France, BHSI. “Olivier and Alice bring to BHSI extensive experience and the excellent capabilities and character that are a hallmark of BHSI’s global team. We are pleased to have them building our Executive & Professional Lines portfolio and our team in France.”

Olivier has more than 12 years of insurance and financial industry experience, with a focus on Financial Lines for commercial and financial institutions in France. Earlier in his career he was a Financial Analyst at Coface Holding. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics, with Honors, from University of Paris, Panthéon-Sorbonne, and a master’s in Finance from University Paris Panthéon Assas.

Alice comes to BHSI with more than 15 years of industry experience, spanning both the insurance and brokerage sides of the business, and extensive expertise in both Professional Indemnity and Cyber Insurance. She holds a master’s degree in International Management of Insurance from Ecole Supérieure d’Assurance.
Both Olivier and Alice will be based in BHSI’s office in Paris.

© 2020 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 GUARD Launches Commercial Package Coverage in Illinois

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Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies recently announced it added Illinois to the list of states where the insurer offers its Commercial Package Policy.

The product includes Commercial Property featuring limits up to $120 million per location (higher limits considered), with an enhanced causes of loss form, including built-in equipment breakdown, crime coverages as well as broad inland marine coverages; General Liability with aggregate limits up to $6 million; and Commercial Umbrella for added protection.

“As we continue to expand our portfolio, our goal is to be the preferred insurance carrier our agents turn to for their insureds. We continue to supply our network of independent agents with quality products that enable them to grow,” said Sy Foguel, Berkshire Hathaway GUARD CEO. “Geared toward larger insureds, our CPP product complements our Businessowner’s Policy offering.”

Illinois is the fourth state where GUARD’s Commercial Package is available, after rollouts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in 2019 and Michigan earlier this year. Availability in more states is expected soon.

“What sets our Commercial Package apart, among other things, is how we enhance our base coverages with a wide range of add-ons, limit options and access to both proprietary and industry specific endorsements,” says Lyle Hitt, Chief Insurance Officer of Property and Casualty Insurance. “We take a customized approach to expanding the limits and scope of traditional property and casualty insurance.”

Berkshire Hathaway GUARD’s Commercial Package product is designed to address the insurance needs of larger, more complex operations with multiple exposures. Initial target markets include light-to-medium manufacturing, wholesalers and distributors, large offices/habitational buildings, truck stops/travel plazas, resort hotels, and country clubs/golf courses.

Discounts are available when seeking quotes for two or more additional applicable lines, like Worker’s Compensation or Commercial Auto.

Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies is a property and casualty insurance specialist writing $2 billion in premium nationwide. GUARD offers a variety of products for both commercial and personal lines of insurance. Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies maintains a total of eight offices throughout the country.

© 2020 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.