WR Berkley Corp WRB
Q4 2013 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 07/22/2013

Operator: Good day, and welcome to W. R. Berkley Corporation's Second Quarter 2013 Earnings Conference Call. Today's conference is being recorded. The speakers' remarks may contain forward-looking statements.

Some of the forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking words including without limitation, believes, expects or estimates. We caution you that such forward-looking statements should not be regarded as representation by us that the future plans, estimates or expectations contemplated by us will be in fact be achieved. Please refer to our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012, and our other filings made with the SEC for description of the business environment in which we operate and the important factors that may materially affect our results. W.R. Berkley Corporation is not under any obligation and expressly disclaims any such obligation to update or alter its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. William R. Berkley. Please go ahead, sir.

William R. Berkley - Chairman and CEO: Thank you very much. So, we were pleased with our quarter. We think it demonstrates our lack of volatility and our ability to continue forward in this environment and we would expect our underwriting results to continue to leave the process. I'll make a lot more comments after Rob and Eugene. Why don't we start with Rob talking about our results. Go ahead, Rob.

W. Robert Berkley, Jr. - President and COO: Thank you very much. Good afternoon. The second quarter by-and-large was a continuation of the trends that we saw in Q1. Primary comp rates continue to move up with a healthy pace and we are pleased to see that it would appear as though the excess comp market has touched bottom and is showing early signs of improvement. The GL market both from a primary and excess perspective is getting some rate and it would appear as though the momentum is building and the umbrella market is right there along with it.

On the other hand, the professional market is a bit more of a mixed bag depending on the class, also depending on where you are in the tower. Primary public D&O rates continue to move up with a healthy pace. Having said that, if you are farther up in the tower in the excess space it would seem that those things are more flat to up to plus low-single digits.

Private and not-for-profit D&O are also getting some rate as EPLI, but then again on the other hand the medical space has remained very competitive and perhaps increasingly competitive as is the miscellaneous D&O.

The property market, while rate is still available, best as we can tell it would seem as though the market is losing a bit of momentum. It's a bit surprising quite frankly that this would be the case. On the heals of Sandy, as well as an active Tornado season in the Midwest, and of course, the floods in Europe and Canada, well quite frankly, doesn't seem like it's given the marketplace much reason to pause.

The property market is always been one that's made us scratch our heads from time to time. When the earth shakes or the wind blows, it seems as though people choose to back that out of the results and when the Mother Nature is kind to us, it seems as though people call it brilliance. The (indiscernible) presumably at some point is going to begin to get a little bit old.

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