W.R. Berkley Corporation’s ( WRB Quick Quote WRB - Free Report) first-quarter 2021 operating income of $1.08 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 21.3%. The bottom line also increased 56.5% year over year. The company benefited from high premiums, lower catastrophe loss and improving combined ratio, partially offset by lower investment income. W.R. Berkley Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise Behind the Headlines
Operating revenues of nearly $2.1 billion were up 6.7% year over year due to higher net premiums earned.
W.R. Berkley’s net premiums written were $2 billion, up nearly 11.1% year over year. Higher premiums written at both the Insurance and Reinsurance & Monoline Excess segments contributed to this upside. Net investment income declined 9.3% year over year to $158.6 million. Total expenses moved up 2.4% to $1.9 billion, primarily on higher losses and loss expenses and other operating costs and expenses. Catastrophe loss totaled $35.8 million in the quarter, which reflects a decline of 54.5% year over year. Consolidated combined ratio (a measure of underwriting profitability) was 90.1%, improving 680 basis points (bps) year over year. Segmental Details
Net premiums written at the Insurance segment grew 9.9% year over year to $1.7 billion in the quarter. Combined ratio improved 580 bps year over year to 90.6%.
Net premiums written in the Reinsurance & Monoline Excess segment increased 18.2% year over year to $310.2 million. Combined ratio improved 1320 bps year over year to 87.4%. Financial Update
W.R. Berkley exited the first quarter with total assets worth $29.8 billion, up 4.3% from the 2020-end figure.
Book value per share increased 1.9% from the level at 2020 end to $36.16 as of Mar 31, 2021. Cash flow from operations totaled $310.9 million in the quarter, which surged 103.8% year over year. In the quarter under review, the company’s return on equity (ROE) of 14.5% compared favorably with the prior-year quarter’s negative ROE of 0.3%. Share Repurchase and Dividend Update
In the first quarter, W.R. Berkley bought back shares worth $30 million and paid $21 million in dividends to its shareholders.
W.R. Berkley carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see
the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Performance of Some Other Insurers The Progressive Corporation’s ( PGR Quick Quote PGR - Free Report) first-quarter 2021 earnings per share of $1.72 missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.78. The Travelers Companies’ ( TRV Quick Quote TRV - Free Report) first-quarter 2021 earnings per share of $2.73 beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.44. Upcoming Release RLI Corporation ( RLI Quick Quote RLI - Free Report) is set to report first-quarter 2021 results on Apr 21. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter is pegged at 74 cents, suggesting growth of 12.1% year over year. Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2021
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