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Buffett: “It’s Official,” Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A)’s Moving Into Specialty Insurance

In a press release Thursday, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) announced that “Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, its recently formed commercial property casualty insurance group, has commenced operations, underwriting property, casualty, professional and executive liability insurance and programs for customers in the U.S.”

Meanwhile, Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett offered the following words:

It’s official: We are moving into commercial insurance in a substantial way, and we are here to stay. With our proven underwriting discipline and financial strength, along with a stellar management team, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) Specialty Insurance is a welcome solution for customers seeking large-scale property and casualty capacity for the long term.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.The release goes on to say that the policies are being underwritten on the non-admitted paper of National Fire & Marine Insurance Company, which is one of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A)’s existing excess and surplus insurance companies, and itself a subsidiary of Berkshire’s National Indemnity Group.

Of course, this shouldn’t exactly come as much of a surprise. Remember, the folks at Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) raised some eyebrows in April when they snagged four senior executives from American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG), including Peter Eastwood, the head of AIG’s domestic property-casualty operations. The other three hires included AIG’s Lexington unit president, David Bresnahan, former AIG president of property-casualty operations in Latin America and the Caribbean, Sanjay Godhwani, and American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG)’s president of risk finance, David Fields.

Sure enough, according to the announcement, here’s the current executive line-up for Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) Specialty Insurance:

1). Peter Eastwood, president
2). David Bresnahan, executive vice president — casualty, health, professional and executive liability
3). Sanjay Godhwani, executive vice president — property and programs
4). David Fields, executive vice president — underwriting, actuarial, finance and reinsurance
5). David Crowe, senior vice president — claims

As for the last name on that list, David Crowe, his LinkedIn page unsurprisingly lists his most recent employer as Chartis — an AIG subsidiary — where he served as the global head of commercial property claims.

Foolish final thoughts

In the end, as I noted back in April, Berkshire shareholders should be ecstatic with this move considering Eastwood has already mentioned their first task is to penetrate the $25 billion U.S. excess and surplus market, of which Berkshire currently holds just 1.6%. Compare that to AIG’s enviable 20% market share, and it’s easy to see why Warren Buffett couldn’t help to better position his company to even the playing field.

The article Buffett: “It’s Official,” Berkshire’s Moving Into Specialty Insurance originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Steve Symington.

Fool contributor Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends American International Group and Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool owns shares of American International Group and Berkshire Hathaway and has the following options: Long Jan 2014 $25 Calls on American International Group.

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