Canadian Underwriter

Berkshire Hathaway reports US$45.9 billion in insurance premiums earned for 2016, up more than US$4 billion from 2015

February 27, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter

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Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has reported insurance premiums earned for 2016 of US$45.88 billion, up from US$41.29 billion in 2015.

Omaha-Neb.-based Berkshire Hathaway has also reported Insurance-underwriting operating earnings of US$548 million for the fourth quarter of 2016 ending Dec. 31, up dramatically from US$306 million in the same quarter in 2015. For the full year of 2016, Insurance-underwriting operating earnings were US$1.37 billion, up from US$1.17 billion in 2015, Berkshire said in a press release on Saturday, when it released its fourth quarter and full-year 2016 financial results.

Total operating earnings for the fourth quarter of 2016 were US$4.38 billion, down from US$4.67 billion in Q4 2015. For the full year, operating earnings totalled US$17.58 billion, up from US$17.36 billion in 2015.

By segment, Berkshire reported Insurance-investment income of US$889 million in the most recent quarter, down from US$1.03 billion in Q4 2015. Full year 2016 Insurance-investment operating earnings were US$3.67 billion compared to US$3.73 billion in 2015.

Railroad, utilities and energy businesses’ operating earnings were down to US$1.43 billion in the most recent quarter, from US$1.51 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015. Full-year operating earnings for the segment were US$5.86 billion last year, compared to US$6.34 billion in 2015.

Other businesses’ operating earnings for Q4 2016 was US$1.55 billion, up from US$1.49 billion in Q4 2015. For the full year of 2016, operating earnings for other businesses were US$7.06 billion  compared to US$6.06 billion in 2015. “Other” operating loss was US$33 million in the most recent quarter compared to US$337 million in operating earnings in Q4 2015. Other operating loss was US$343 million in 2016, compared to a gain of US$30 million in 2015.

Regarding reinsurance, total reinsurance underwriting profit was US$2.13 billion last year, up from US$1.84 billion in 2015, according to Berkshire’s 2016 Annual Report. BH Reinsurance showed an underwriting profit of US$822 million last year compared to US$421 million in 2015; General Re had a US$190 million underwriting profit in 2016 compared to US$132 million in 2015; GEICO’s underwriting profit was essentially flat at US$462 million last year compared to US$460 million in 2015; Other Primary underwriting profit was US$657 million in 2016, down from US$824 million in 2015.

Business activities for Berkshire Hathaway and its subsidiaries include property and casualty insurance and reinsurance, utilities and energy, freight rail transportation, finance, manufacturing, retailing and services.