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Portfolio spotlight: WR Berkley

W.R. Berkley is Connecticut-based commercial property & casualty insurer, serving a variety of businesses, business executives and owners. It was founded in 1957 by William R. Berkley and is now headed by his son W. Robert Berkley Jr. It is divided in 29 subsidiary companies, each specializing in a specific type of insurance, consumer, or geography. For example, Acadia Insurance offers both broad and specialized insurance products in Northeast states. American Mining Insurance Group specializes in compensation for workers in mining industries. Berkley Aviation offers aviation insurance products throughout the world. Berkley Canada specializes in commercial casualty and professional liability in Canada, and so forth.

W.R. Berkley passed the “high quality” screen for financial companies on August 20, 2012. It traded at $37 per share, about 1.2 times book value, and it scored a of 5 out of 6 on my financials’ companies fundamental score, indicating good fundamental improvements. The company’s fundamental momentum is still strong, it earned a very good 5 again based on the 2016 annual numbers. W.R. Berkley remains profitable for a company in the financial services sector. It averaged 2.5% Return on Assets over the last 7 years, which I believe is a vital indicator for a profitable financial company. W.R. Berkley now trades around $69 per share, and I believe it still has another 20% of upside potential before it reaches full value.

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