Berkley profits fall 22% in Q2, operating profit jumps

WR Berkley Corp. on Thursday announced a 22.4% drop in net profit to $279.3 million in the second quarter.

Operating profit, which excludes net after-tax investment gains or losses and related expenses, increased 43% to $313.4 million

The Greenwich, Connecticut-based insurer reported a 16.9% increase in net written premiums to $2.59 billion.

The combined ratio improved to 88.7% from 89.9%.

For the first half, Berkley posted a 65% increase in net income to $770 million, while operating profit rose 47.3% to $619.8 million. Net premiums increased 17.3% to $5 billion. The combined ratio stood at 88.2% against 90.2% for the comparable period.

The quarter was “obviously very encouraging,” said Chairman and CEO Rob Berkley. “Clearly the momentum continues to be there significantly on the underwriting side” and is strengthening on the investment side.

“The top line continued to be very healthy,” he said. In specialty lines in general, “we’re seeing continued strength in bids,” he said.

“The deal flow coming to us continues to have significant momentum. The opportunity to make sure we get the rate we want and need also continues to be there,” and the company is well positioned for the months and years ahead, Berkley said.