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Berkshire Hathaway underwriting returns to profit 

Berkshire Hathaway insurance underwriting returned to profit in the third quarter and the first nine-months of the year as it benefitted from relatively low catastrophe losses and an improvement in its direct motor business.

The US-based company reported net underwriting earnings of $US2.4 billion ($3.7 billion) in the quarter and $US4.6 billion ($7.1 billion) in the first nine months, compared to a previous third quarter loss of $US1.1 billion ($1.7 billion) and a nine-month loss of $US190 million ($292 million). 

Insurance investment earnings increased $US1.1 billion ($1.7 billion) in the third quarter and $US2.3 billion ($3.5 billion) in the nine months compared to the previous corresponding periods. 

Berkshire Hathaway Primary Group results were supported by stronger premium earned, while the year-earlier period was affected by Hurricane Ian.  

Motor business GEICO’s increased earnings reflected higher average premiums per policy, lower claims frequencies, reductions in prior accident years’ claims estimates and reduced advertising costs, but average claims severities have continued to rise. 

Berkshire Hathaway, which also has interests in railroads, utilities and energy, manufacturing, service and retailing businesses, reported overall nine-month operating earnings of $US28.87 billion ($44.32 billion) compared to $US24.2 billion ($37.2 billion) a year earlier. 

The company’s overall net earnings for the nine-months increased to $58.65 billion ($90 billion) despite a third quarter loss of $US12.77 billion ($19.60 billion), reflecting unrealised investment swings.