Berkshire Hathaway shares Q3 2021 performance

Did conglomerate's underwriting business bolster or negatively impact the group?

Berkshire Hathaway shares Q3 2021 performance

Insurance News

By Terry Gangcuangco

Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the Omaha-headquartered conglomerate led by chief executive Warren Buffett, has published its third quarter results.

Here’s how the organisation performed in Q3:


Q3 2021 net earnings/(loss) attributable to shareholders

Q3 2020 net earnings/(loss) attributable to shareholders

Insurance – underwriting

US$(784 million)

US$(213 million)

Insurance – investment income

US$1.16 billion

US$1.02 billion


US$1.54 billion  

US$1.35 billion

Utilities and energy

US$1.5 billion

US$1.4 billion

Manufacturing, service, and retailing

US$2.71 billion

US$2.35 billion

Investment and derivative contract gains/losses

US$3.88 billion

US$24.74 billion


US$349 million

US$(490 million)


US$10.34 billion

US$30.14 billion


As indicated above, only the underwriting business posted negative results in the three months ended September 30.

“Insurance underwriting produced after-tax losses of US$784 million in the third quarter and earnings of US$356 million in the first nine months of 2021,” reported the group, companies of which include Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance.

In its 52-page Form 10-Q filing, the parent firm noted: “After-tax incurred losses from significant catastrophe events were approximately US$1.7 billion in the third quarter and US$2.2 billion in the first nine months of 2021, which were partly offset by reductions in incurred losses for prior accident years’ loss events.

“Underwriting results in 2021 also reflected earned premium reductions from the GEICO Giveback programme, higher private passenger auto claims frequencies, and higher losses in the life reinsurance business.”

According to the document seen by Insurance Business, the US$784 million net underwriting loss mostly came from Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group. The unit posted a pre-tax underwriting loss worth US$708 million; Berkshire Hathaway Primary Group, a loss of US$23 million; and GEICO, a further US$289 million. The combined pre-tax underwriting loss stood at US$1.02 billion.

Berkshire Hathaway’s operating earnings, or the attributable net earnings excluding investment and derivative contract gains, amounted to US$6.47 billion in the third quarter.


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