Berkley: Everything you need to know
- Headquarters: Greenwich, Connecticut
- Annual revenue: $8.1 billion (according to 2020 annual report)
- Total assets (2020): $28.6 billion
- Employees: 7,500+
- Global locations: US, UK, Asia, Australia, Continental Europe, and Asia-Pacific
- Underwriting expertise: property and casualty insurance
- Key people: President and CEO W. Robert Berkley, Jr.
W. R. Berkley Corporation is an international commercial lines property and casualty insurance provider operating in two segments: insurance and reinsurance. Each of its operating units participates in a niche market requiring specialized knowledge about a product or territory.
Berkley’s insurance segment underwrites commercial insurance business, with some operating units in this segment writing excess and surplus lines to cover complex risks with unique exposures. Meanwhile, other units offer admitted insurance products and services to support a distinct regional group or the specialty risks of a particular type of customer.
The company’s reinsurance & monocline excess segment helps insurance companies and self-insured businesses in managing their net risk through reinsurance of excess insurance. The products may be provided through either treaty reinsurance on a portfolio basis, or facultative reinsurance. The segment operates worldwide – primarily in the US, UK, Asia, Australia, Continental Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
History of Berkley
W. R. Berkley Corporation was founded in 1967 as a small investment firm. Throughout the years, the company has grown through acquisitions and the formation of new companies. It has also been listed on the New York Stock Exchange, achieving more than $7 billion revenue, and has become a trusted Fortune 500 company.
In 2017, Berkley celebrated its 50th anniversary with a total of $7.7 billion revenue, more than $23 billion in total assets, and $5 billion in stockholders’ equity. It also established Berkley Environmental and Berkley Entertainment & Sports as independent operating units.
In 2018, the company formed Berkley Healthcare and combined Berkley Select and Monitor Liability Managers to create a single entity for professional liability.
In 2020, Berkley delivered satisfactory economic returns amid the COVID-19 crisis. According to Berkley management, the firm prioritized modifying its operating systems to allow colleagues to work remotely and seamlessly deliver high quality services.
Leadership at Berkley
W. Robert Berkley, Jr. – President and CEO
Berkley Jr. joined W. R. Berkley Corporation in 1997 before serving as vice president for strategic acquisitions in 2000 and executive vice president in 2005 until he finally stepped up to the president and CEO roles in 2009. Before joining the company, he worked as an investment banker with Merrill Lynch and Company.
Berkley Jr. serves on the board of advisors of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown and the board of Greenwich Hospital Board of Directors; American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters Board of Trustees; and Brunswick School, St. John’s University School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science. He is also a member of the Yale New Haven Health Systems Investment Committee.
Culture at Berkley
Berkley strives to do what is right to secure the trust of its customers, employees, shareholders, and distribution partners while meeting the needs of all its constituents. For more than 50 years, the company has focused on charitable works and giving, diversity and inclusion, and environmental stewardship.
Berkley launched the Gingerbread House Auction to help its people raise money for the charities or organizations closest to their hearts. During the annual holiday party, each employee created edible art to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. The W. R. Berkley Corporation Charitable Foundation would then match the funds of the winning bidder.
As a supporter of a diverse workforce, Berkley provides management and leadership programs as well as seminars and training opportunities to ensure that diverse candidates are eligible and qualified for promotions. It is also involved in organizations that promote young people in the industry, with others offering coaching, mentoring, and internship programs.
Berkley also participates in programs that encourage recycling and the conversion to paperless operations. Some of its offices consolidate their space, reuse materials, use more energy-efficient systems, and have changed their practices to reduce their carbon footprint.