Pillar of Berkshire empire

Berkshire Hathaway IncBeing a big insurer will amount Berkshire Hathaway Inc. dearly back astringent catastrophes strike, but it is a acceptable abode to be in the bosom of an bread-and-butter downturn, Chairman Warren Buffett said.

"We are lucky," said Mr. Buffett, as he addressed bags of shareholders at Berkshire's anniversary affair in his hometown of Omaha, Neb., on Saturday. Insurance, forth with utilities, addition big business for Berkshire, are sectors "relatively artless by the recession," he said.

Berkshire operates almost 80 businesses, including See’s Candies, Fruit of the Loom underwear and bogus homebuilder Clayton Homes, but generates about bisected its after-effects from insurance.

U.S. insurers accept been abominably aged back aftermost year by advance losses, circuitous now by attenuated appeal amidst the bread-and-butter recession.
Among Berkshire's allowance companies are the auto insurer Geico Corp., reinsurer General Re Corp. and band insurer Berkshire Hathaway Assurance.

"The balance ability of (Berkshire's insurance) businesses was not as acceptable aftermost year as normal," Mr. Buffett conceded. "And it won't be as acceptable this year. But best of them will do well, and abounding of them will do exceptionally. Allowance gives us a lot of balance ability that we are activity to access over time."

Mr. Buffett said Berkshire's allowance businesses had a first-quarter underwriting accumulation that was "a little more good than aftermost year," but the recession aching after-effects at abounding added businesses, blame all-embracing operating accumulation bottomward about 12% from a year ago.

Many in Omaha this weekend said their better affair was the broader bread-and-butter turmoil. A almanac 35,000 showed up at the anniversary meeting, area Mr. Buffett and Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger answered bristles hours of questions on Berkshire, the abridgement and added issues.


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