Berkshire Hathaway : Everything you need to know

Berkshire Hathaway: Everything you need to know

Headquarters address

3555 Farnam Street, Omaha, NE 68131, USA
Key operations: Insurance; railroad, utilities, and energy; manufacturing; service and retailing
Number of employees 383,000
Underwriting expertise Property and casualty, life, and health insurance
Direct premiums written P&C (2022) US$56.7 billion
Direct premiums earned P&C (2022) US$55.9 billion
Direct premiums written life & health (2022) US$582 million
Direct premiums earned life & health (2022) US$582 million
Key people Warren E. Buffett (chairman & CEO), Charles T. Munger (vice-chairman), Marc D. Hamburg (vice-president, treasurer), Daniel J. Jaksich, (controller), Forrest N. Krutter (secretary), Rebecca K. Amick (director of internal auditing), Jerry W. Hufton (director of taxes), Mark D. Millard (director of financial assets)

About Berkshire Hathaway

General background

Berkshire Hathaway is a conglomerate consisting of several insurance and reinsurance, utilities and energy, freight rail transportation, manufacturing, and retailing businesses. The company’s insurance business is considered one of its “four giants,” which account for a significant chunk of the firm’s value. Berkshire Hathaway owns 100% of its insurance operations, with a massive float value of US$147 billion.

“The insurance business is made to order for Berkshire,” the company said in its 2021 annual report. “The product will never be obsolete, and sales volume will generally increase along with both economic growth and inflation. Also, integrity and capital will forever be important. Our company can and will behave well. There are, of course, other insurers with excellent business models and prospects. Replication of Berkshire’s operation, however, would be almost impossible.”

Berkshire Hathaway’s insurance and reinsurance business activities are conducted through numerous domestic and foreign-based subsidiaries, which provide insurance cover for property and casualty risks and reinsurance of life and health risks worldwide. These subsidiaries employed approximately 50,500 people at the end of 2021.

Among the insurance companies Berkshire Hathaway owns are Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, Gateway Underwriters Agency, GEICO, General RE, MedPro Group, National Indemnity Company, and United States Liability Insurance Group.

The company’s chairman and CEO, Warren Buffett, is considered the wealthiest insurance tycoon in the US. The man is known as the “Oracle of Omaha” sits among the leaders of Forbes’ billionaires list with a net worth of US$117.5 billion as of March 2022.

Insurance and reinsurance businesses

Berkshire Hathaway offers insurance and reinsurance products covering property and casualty risks, as well as life and health risks. Its insurance and reinsurance businesses include GEICO, Berkshire Hathaway Primary Group, and Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group.

GEICO writes private passenger automobile insurance, offering coverages to insureds in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Maryland-headquartered subsidiary markets its policies mainly by direct response methods where most customers apply for coverage directly to the company via the Internet or over the telephone. Premiums written amounted to almost US$38.4 billion in 2021.

Berkshire Hathaway Primary Group (BH Primary), meanwhile, provides a variety of commercial insurance solutions, including healthcare professional liability, workers’ compensation, automobile, general liability, property and specialty coverages for small, medium and large businesses. BH Primary’s larger insurers include Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSO), Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies (BHHC), MedPro Group, Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies, National Indemnity Company (NICO) and US Liability Insurance Company (USLI).  Premiums written almost reached US$12.6 billion last year.

Lastly, Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group (BHRG) offers excess-of-loss and quota-share reinsurance coverages on property and casualty risks to insurers and reinsurers worldwide through several subsidiaries, including NICO, General Reinsurance Corporation, and General Reinsurance AG. The group also writes life and health reinsurance coverages through General Re Life Corporation, General Reinsurance AG, and Berkshire Hathaway Life Insurance Company of Nebraska (BHLN). BHRG also periodically assumes P&C risks under retroactive reinsurance contracts written through NICO and writes periodic payment annuity contracts through BHLN. Premiums written amounted to about US$20.6 billion in 2021.

Here’s the complete list of Berkshire Hathaway’s operating insurance and reinsurance companies.

  • Alleghany Corporation (TransRe, RSUI, and CapSpecialty)
  • Berkshire Hathaway Direct Insurance Company (THREE)
  • Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies
  • Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies
  • Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance
  • biBERK Business Insurance
  • Central States Indemnity Co. of Omaha
  • Gateway Underwriters Agency
  • GEICO Auto Insurance
  • General Re
  • MedPro Group
  • MLMIC Insurance Company
  • National Indemnity Company
  • United States Liability Insurance Group

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