The Hidden Float Within Van Tuyl Group

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

There’s nothing Warren Buffet loves more than float! The huge float from Berkshire Hathaway’s insurance businesses has helped the company build an equity portfolio of over $100 billion.

Here Comes More Float!

With the completion of Berkshire Hathaway’s $4.1 billion acquisition of the Van Tuyl Group (the largest privately owned auto dealership group in the U.S.), Berkshire gets an added kicker, more float.

The float comes because Van Tuyl Group (rechristened Berkshire Hathaway Automotive) owns Old United Casualty Company, which provides extended warranty services and other automotive protection plans to 1.6 million customers. And Van Tuyl also has a life insurance company, Old United Life Insurance Company.

Both companies are now owned by Berkshire Hathaway and will be split off from Berkshire Hathaway Automotive to become part of Berkshire’s wholly-owned National Indemnity Company.

While Van Tuyl has been based in Texas, Old United Casualty Company and Old United Life Insurance Company are both based in Shawnee Mission, Kansas.

Financial Strength Anybody?

There’s nothing like being owned by Berkshire to add to your financial strength, and A.M. Best Company, which issues insurance ratings, has just affirmed the financial strength ratings of A (Excellent) and the issuer credit ratings of “a+” for Old United Casualty Company and Old United Life Insurance Company. It notes that “the outlook for all ratings is stable.”

A.M. Best also noted that it “believes OUL is well-positioned at its current rating level, positive rating action could occur if potential synergies or expansion of its business profile are realized through its affiliation with Berkshire.”

How Much Float?

With 1.6 million cars protected under the extended warranty plans, and additional customers having life insurance, it’s not unreasonable to assume that the Berkshire’s $4.1 billion acquisition actually came with around a billion in insurance float.

Not a bad kicker!

© 2015 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.