Record Quarterly Underwriting Income of $274 Million, Net Income Increased 157% to $591 Million and Return on Equity of 35.5%

W. R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE: WRB) today reported its first quarter 2022 results.

 

Summary Financial Data

(Amounts in thousands, except per share data)

 

First Quarter

 

2022

 

2021

 

 

 

 

Gross premiums written

$ 2,859,837

 

$ 2,484,712

Net premiums written

2,413,254

 

2,050,038

 

 

 

 

Net income to common stockholders

590,638

 

229,525

Net income per diluted share (1)

2.12

 

0.82

 

 

 

 

Operating income (2)

306,921

 

201,780

Operating income per diluted share (1)

1.10

 

0.72

 

 

 

 

Return on equity (3)

35.5 %

 

14.5 %

(1) The 2021 per share amounts were restated for comparative purposes to reflect the 3-for-2 common stock split effected on March 23, 2022.

(2) Operating income is a non-GAAP financial measure defined by the Company as net income excluding after-tax net investment gains (losses) and related expenses.

(3) Return on equity represents net income expressed on an annualized basis as a percentage of beginning of year common stockholders’ equity.

First quarter highlights included:

  • Return on equity of 35.5%.
  • Record quarterly underwriting income and net income of $274.4 million and $590.6 million, respectively.
  • Net premiums written increased nearly 18% to a quarterly record of $2.4 billion.
  • The current accident year combined ratio before catastrophe losses of 1.3 loss ratio points was 86.5%.
  • The reported combined ratio was 87.8%, including catastrophe losses of $28.8 million.
  • Record quarterly net investment gain of $366.3 million, mainly due to real estate investment sales.
  • Book value per share grew 3.5% before dividends, benefitting from our decision to maintain a short investment duration.

The Company commented:

The Company reported exceptional results for the first quarter of 2022, due to another quarter of record underwriting results and continued strong investment income, including significant realized gains from the sale of investments. We reported a 35.5% return on beginning stockholders’ equity. Book value per share before dividends grew 3.5%, benefitting from our decision to maintain a short investment duration, notwithstanding the impact of rising interest rates.

Net premiums written grew by nearly 18% as the majority of our businesses expanded, particularly in the E&S and specialty markets. Rate increases remained above expected loss cost trends for the majority of our lines of business. Rate and exposure growth improved our loss and expense ratios.

As we previously announced, the Company realized a pretax gain on the sale of a real estate investment in London of more than $300 million before transaction expenses and the impact of foreign currency. Net investment income grew more than 9% as investment funds continued to outperform and fixed-maturity income benefited from higher yields. We expect the latter trend to accelerate as interest rates move higher.

We remain focused on our total risk-adjusted return strategy and expect relative market stability in most parts of our business. Our underwriting and investment portfolios remain well-positioned for the inflationary environment. The Company is performing exceptionally well and we continue to be optimistic about our opportunities going forward.

Webcast Conference Call

The Company will hold its quarterly conference call with analysts and investors to discuss its earnings and other information on April 25, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. eastern time. The conference call will be webcast live on the Company's website at https://ir.berkley.com/news-and-events/events-andpresentations/default.aspx. Please log on at least ten minutes early to register and download and install any necessary software. A replay of the webcast will be available on the Company's website approximately two hours after the end of the conference call. Additional financial information can be found on the Company's website at https://ir.berkley.com/investor-relations/financial-information/quarterly-results/default.aspx.

About W. R. Berkley Corporation

Founded in 1967, W. R. Berkley Corporation is an insurance holding company that is among the largest commercial lines writers in the United States and operates worldwide in two segments of the property casualty business: Insurance and Reinsurance & Monoline Excess.

Forward Looking Information

This is a “Safe Harbor” Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any forward-looking statements contained herein, including statements related to our outlook for the industry and for our performance for the year 2022 and beyond, are based upon the Company’s historical performance and on current plans, estimates and expectations. The inclusion of this forward-looking information should not be regarded as a representation by us or any other person that the future plans, estimates or expectations contemplated by us will be achieved. They are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to: the cyclical nature of the property casualty industry; the impact of significant competition, including new entrants to the industry; the long-tail and potentially volatile nature of the insurance and reinsurance business; product demand and pricing; claims development and the process of estimating reserves; investment risks, including those of our portfolio of fixed maturity securities and investments in equity securities, including investments in financial institutions, municipal bonds, mortgage-backed securities, loans receivable, investment funds, including real estate, merger arbitrage, energy related and private equity investments; the effects of emerging claim and coverage issues; the uncertain nature of damage theories and loss amounts, including claims for cybersecurity-related risks; natural and man-made catastrophic losses, including as a result of terrorist activities; the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; the impact of climate change, which may alter the frequency and increase the severity of catastrophe events; general economic and market activities, including inflation, interest rates, and volatility in the credit and capital markets; the impact of the conditions in the financial markets and the global economy, and the potential effect of legislative, regulatory, accounting or other initiatives taken in response, on our results and financial condition; foreign currency and political risks (including those associated with the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union, or "Brexit") relating to our international operations; our ability to attract and retain key personnel and qualified employees; continued availability of capital and financing; the success of our new ventures or acquisitions and the availability of other opportunities; the availability of reinsurance; our retention under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2019; the ability or willingness of our reinsurers to pay reinsurance recoverables owed to us; other legislative and regulatory developments, including those related to business practices in the insurance industry; credit risk related to our policyholders, independent agents and brokers; changes in the ratings assigned to us or our insurance company subsidiaries by rating agencies; the availability of dividends from our insurance company subsidiaries; potential difficulties with technology and/or cyber security issues; the effectiveness of our controls to ensure compliance with guidelines, policies and legal and regulatory standards; and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These risks and uncertainties could cause our actual results for the year 2022 and beyond to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statement we make. Any projections of growth in our revenues would not necessarily result in commensurate levels of earnings. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.

Consolidated Financial Summary

(Amounts in thousands, except per share data)

 

First Quarter

 

2022

 

2021

Revenues:

 

 

 

Net premiums written

$ 2,413,254

 

$ 2,050,038

Change in unearned premiums

(164,167)

 

(200,082)

Net premium earned

2,249,087

 

1,849,956

Net investment income

173,512

 

158,577

Net investment gains:

 

 

 

Net realized and unrealized gains on investments

369,882

 

51,759

Change in allowance for credit losses on investments

(3,617)

 

(16,920)

Net investment gains

366,265

 

34,839

Revenues from non-insurance businesses

97,776

 

87,430

Insurance service fees

27,951

 

25,808

Other Income

818

 

259

Total Revenues

2,915,409

 

2,156,869

Expenses:

 

 

 

Loss and loss expenses

1,339,252

 

1,121,592

Other operating costs and expenses

713,899

 

616,268

Expenses from non-insurance businesses

94,855

 

86,290

Interest expense

34,970

 

36,651

Total expenses

2,182,976

 

1,860,801

Income before income tax

732,433

 

296,068

Income tax expense

(139,403)

 

(64,352)

Net Income before noncontrolling interests

593,030

 

231,716

Noncontrolling interest

(2,392)

 

(2,191)

Net income to common stockholders

$ 590,638

 

$ 229,525

 

 

 

 

Net income per share (1):

 

 

 

Basic

$ 2.13

 

$ 0.83

Diluted

$ 2.12

 

$ 0.82

 

 

 

 

Average shares outstanding (1) (2):

 

 

 

Basic

276,772

 

277,793

Diluted

279,157

 

280,245

(1) The 2021 per share amounts were restated for comparative purposes to reflect the 3-for-2 common stock split effected on March 23, 2022.

(2) Basic shares outstanding consist of the weighted average number of common shares outstanding during the period (including shares held in a grantor trust). Diluted shares outstanding consist of the weighted average number of basic and common equivalent shares outstanding during the period.

Business Segment Operating Results

(Amounts in thousands, except ratios) (1)

 

First Quarter

 

2022

 

2021

Insurance:

 

 

 

Gross premiums written

$ 2,484,799

 

$ 2,140,013

Net premiums written

2,073,291

 

1,739,824

Net premiums earned

1,962,835

 

1,604,979

Pre-tax income

382,412

 

257,109

Loss ratio

59.5 %

 

61.3 %

Expense ratio

28.1 %

 

29.3 %

GAAP Combined ratio

87.6 %

 

90.6 %

 

 

 

 

Reinsurance & Monoline Excess:

 

 

 

Gross premiums written

$ 375,038

 

$ 344,699

Net premiums written

339,963

 

310,214

Net premiums earned

286,252

 

244,977

Pre-tax income

57,628

 

68,649

Loss ratio

59.9 %

 

56.5 %

Expense ratio

29.5 %

 

30.9 %

GAAP Combined ratio

89.4 %

 

87.4 %

 

 

 

 

Corporate and Eliminations:

 

 

 

Net investment gains

$ 366,265

 

$ 34,839

Interest expense

(34,970)

 

(36,651)

Other revenues and expenses

(38,902)

 

(27,878)

Pre-tax gain (loss)

292,393

 

(29,690)

 

 

 

 

Consolidated:

 

 

 

Gross premiums written

$ 2,859,837

 

$ 2,484,712

Net premiums written

2,413,254

 

2,050,038

Net premiums earned

2,249,087

 

1,849,956

Pre-tax income

732,433

 

296,068

Loss ratio

59.5 %

 

60.6 %

Expense ratio

28.3 %

 

29.5 %

GAAP Combined ratio

87.8 %

 

90.1 %

(1) Loss ratio is losses and loss expenses incurred expressed as a percentage of premiums earned. Expense ratio is underwriting expenses expressed as a percentage of premiums earned. GAAP combined ratio is the sum of the loss ratio and the expense ratio.

Supplemental Information

(Amounts in thousands)

 

First Quarter

 

2022

 

2021

Net premiums written:

 

 

 

Other liability

$ 836,040

 

$ 676,796

Short-tail lines (1)

393,918

 

325,051

Workers' compensation

303,420

 

286,724

Commercial automobile

279,528

 

248,567

Professional liability

260,385

 

202,686

Total Insurance

2,073,291

 

1,739,824

Casualty reinsurance

198,155

 

174,864

Monoline excess

92,536

 

85,509

Property reinsurance

49,272

 

49,841

Total Reinsurance & Monoline Excess

339,963

 

310,214

Total

$ 2,413,254

 

$ 2,050,038

 

 

 

 

Current accident year losses from catastrophes (including COVID-19 related losses):

Insurance

$ 10,767

 

$ 32,829

Reinsurance & Monoline Excess

18,064

 

3,000

Total

$ 28,831

 

$ 35,829

 

 

 

 

Net Investment income:

 

 

 

Core portfolio (2)

$ 112,312

 

$ 100,568

Investment funds

52,013

 

38,935

Arbitrage trading account

9,187

 

19,074

Total

$ 173,512

 

$ 158,577

 

 

 

 

Net realized and unrealized gains on investments:

 

 

 

Net realized gains on investments

$ 276,669

 

$ 76,094

Change in unrealized gains (losses) on equity securities

93,213

 

(24,335)

Total

$ 369,882

 

$ 51,759

 

 

 

 

Other operating costs and expenses:

 

 

 

Policy acquisition and insurance operating expenses

$ 635,453

 

$ 545,750

Insurance service expenses

22,466

 

20,786

Net foreign currency gains

(4,168)

 

(5,594)

Debt extinguishment costs

 

3,617

Other costs and expenses

60,148

 

51,709

Total

$ 713,899

 

$ 616,268

 

 

 

 

Cash flow from operations

$ 477,682

 

$ 310,990

 

 

 

 

Reconciliation of net income to operating income:

 

 

 

Net income

$ 590,638

 

$ 229,525

Pre-tax investment gains, net of related expenses

(361,034)

 

(33,302)

Income tax expense

77,317

 

5,557

Operating income after-tax (3)

$ 306,921

 

$ 201,780

(1) Short-tail lines include commercial multi-peril (non-liability), inland marine, accident and health, fidelity and surety, boiler and machinery and other lines.

(2) Core portfolio includes fixed maturity securities, equity securities, cash and cash equivalents, real estate and loans receivable.

(3) Operating income is a non-GAAP financial measure defined by the Company as net income excluding after-tax net investment gains (losses). Net investment gains (losses) are computed net of related expenses, including performance-based compensatory costs associated with realized investment gains. Management believes this measurement provides a useful indicator of trends in the Company’s underlying operations.

 

Selected Balance Sheet Information

(Amounts in thousands, except per share data)

 

March 31, 2022

 

December 31, 2021

 

 

 

 

Net invested assets (1)

$ 23,658,053

 

$ 23,705,508

Total assets

32,250,954

 

32,047,876

Reserves for losses and loss expenses

15,722,889

 

15,390,888

Senior notes and other debt

1,834,155

 

2,259,416

Subordinated debentures

1,007,832

 

1,007,652

Common stockholders' equity (2)

6,864,503

 

6,653,011

Common stock outstanding (3) (4)

265,186

 

265,171

Book value per share (4) (5)

25.89

 

25.09

Tangible book value per share (4) (5)

24.92

 

24.27

(1) Net invested assets include investments, cash and cash equivalents, trading accounts receivable from brokers and clearing organizations, trading account securities sold but not yet purchased and unsettled purchases, net of related liabilities.

(2) As of March 31, 2022, reflected in common stockholders' equity are after-tax unrealized investment losses of $333 million and unrealized currency translation losses of $316 million. As of December 31, 2021, after-tax unrealized investment gains were $91 million and unrealized currency translation losses were $373 million.

(3) During the three months ended March 31, 2022, the Company did not repurchase any shares of its common stock. The number of shares of common stock outstanding excludes shares held in a grantor trust.

(4) The 2021 per share amounts were restated for comparative purposes to reflect the 3-for-2 common stock split effected on March 23, 2022.

(5) Book value per share is total common stockholders’ equity divided by the number of common shares outstanding. Tangible book value per share is total common stockholders’ equity excluding the after-tax value of goodwill and other intangible assets divided by the number of common shares outstanding.

Investment Portfolio

March 31, 2022

(Amounts in thousands, except percentages)

 

Carrying Value

 

Percent of Total

Fixed maturity securities:

 

 

 

United States government and government agencies

$ 818,848

 

3.5 %

State and municipal:

 

 

 

Special revenue

1,935,528

 

8.2 %

State general obligation

424,590

 

1.8 %

Local general obligation

416,167

 

1.8 %

Pre-refunded

177,371

 

0.8 %

Corporate backed

172,005

 

0.7 %

Total state and municipal

3,125,661

 

13.3 %

Mortgage-backed securities:

 

 

 

Agency

874,067

 

3.7 %

Commercial

263,501

 

1.1 %

Residential - Prime

246,852

 

1.0 %

Residential - Alt A

4,771

 

0.0 %

Total mortgage-backed securities

1,389,191

 

5.8 %

Asset-backed securities

4,257,421

 

18.0 %

Corporate:

 

 

 

Industrial

3,270,804

 

13.8 %

Financial

1,706,732

 

7.2 %

Utilities

409,726

 

1.7 %

Other

201,245

 

0.9 %

Total corporate

5,588,507

 

23.6 %

Foreign government

1,246,568

 

5.3 %

Total fixed maturity securities (1)

16,426,196

 

69.5 %

Equity securities available for sale:

 

 

 

Common stocks

883,317

 

3.7 %

Preferred stocks

243,174

 

1.0 %

Total equity securities available for sale

1,126,491

 

4.7 %

Cash and cash equivalents (2)

1,980,346

 

8.4 %

Investment funds (3)

1,544,856

 

6.5 %

Real estate

1,276,157

 

5.4 %

Arbitrage trading account

1,188,910

 

5.0 %

Loans receivable

115,097

 

0.5 %

Net invested assets

$ 23,658,053

 

100.0 %

(1) Total fixed maturity securities had an average rating of AA- and an average duration of 2.4 years, including cash and cash equivalents.

(2) Cash and cash equivalents includes trading accounts receivable from brokers and clearing organizations, trading account securities sold but not yet purchased and unsettled purchases.

(3) Investment funds are net of related liabilities of $0.8 million.

Karen A. Horvath Vice President - External Financial Communications (203) 629-3000

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