Berkshire Hathaway suffers insurance underwriting slump in Q4

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. may have bounced back big-time in the fourth quarter of 2019 – from a US$25.4 billion net loss in the same quarter in 2018 to net earnings attributable to shareholders of US$29.2 billion this time around – but the same can’t be said about the group’s insurance underwriting result. In a release over the weekend, the multinational conglomerate reported an operating loss of US$857 million for insurance underwriting. Berkshire’s insurance investment income; railroad, utilities, and energy; and other businesses all posted operating earnings in the quarter. For the full year, the insurance underwriting operations recorded a US$325 million operating income, which is significantly lower compared to the US$1.6 billion in operating earnings enjoyed in 2018.

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