10-K 1 wrb1231201610k.htm FORM 10-K Document


 
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
Form 10-K

(Mark One)
 
       [x]
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 or 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016
OR
[ ]
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from ______ to ______.

Commission file number 1-15202

W. R. BERKLEY CORPORATION
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware
 
22-1867895
(State or other jurisdiction
of incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification Number)
475 Steamboat Road, Greenwich, CT
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
06830
(Zip Code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (203) 629-3000
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each Class
 
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
 
 
 
Common Stock, par value $.20 per share
 
New York Stock Exchange
5.625% Subordinated Debentures due 2053
 
New York Stock Exchange
5.9% Subordinated Debentures due 2056
 
New York Stock Exchange
5.75% Subordinated Debentures due 2056
 
New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. 
 Yes S No o
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. 
 Yes  o   No S
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.  Yes S   No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).  Yes S     No o
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K or any amendment to this Annual Report on Form 10-K. S
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):




Large accelerated filer S
 
 
Accelerated filer o
 
 
 
 
Non-accelerated filer o
(Do not check if a smaller reporting company)
Smaller reporting company o

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).  Yes o     No S
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates (computed by reference to the price at which the common stock was last sold) as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter was $5,857,187,550.
Number of shares of common stock, $.20 par value, outstanding as of February 22, 2017: 121,213,179
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Company’s definitive proxy statement, which will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after December 31, 2016, are incorporated herein by reference in Part III.
 





 
 
 
Page
 
 
PART I
 
ITEM
1.
ITEM
1A.
ITEM
1B.
ITEM
2.
ITEM
3.
ITEM
4.
 
 
PART II
ITEM
5.
ITEM
6.
ITEM
7.
ITEM
7A.
ITEM
8.
ITEM
9.
ITEM
9A.
ITEM
9B.
 
 
PART III
 
ITEM
10.
ITEM
11.
ITEM
12.
ITEM
13.
ITEM
14.
 
 
PART IV
 
ITEM
15.
ITEM
16.
EX-21
 
LIST OF COMPANIES AND SUBSIDIARIES
 
EX-23
 
CONSENT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
 
EX-31.1
 
CERTIFICATION OF THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER PURSUANT TO RULE 13a-14(a) /15d-14(a)
 
EX-31.2
 
CERTIFICATION OF THE CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER PURSUANT TO RULE 13a-14(a) /15d-14(a)
 
EX-32.1
 
CERTIFICATION OF THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER PURSUANT TO 18 U.S.C. SECTION 1350, AS ADOPTED PURSUANT TO SECTION 906 OF THE SARBANES-OXLEY ACT OF 2002
 
EX-101
 
INSTANCE DOCUMENT
 
EX-101
 
SCHEMA DOCUMENT
 
EX-101
 
CALCULATION LINKBASE DOCUMENT
 
EX-101
 
LABELS LINKBASE DOCUMENT
 
EX-101
 
PRESENTATION LINKBASE DOCUMENT
 
EX-101
 
DEFINITION LINKBASE DOCUMENT
 




SAFE HARBOR STATEMENT
UNDER THE PRIVATE SECURITIES
LITIGATION REFORM ACT OF 1995

This is a “Safe Harbor” Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This document may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Some of the forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking words such as “believes,” “expects,” “potential,” “continued,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “seeks,” “approximately,” “predicts,” “intends,” “plans,” “estimates,” “anticipates” or the negative version of those words or other comparable words. Any forward-looking statements contained in this report including statements related to our outlook for the industry and for our performance for the year 2017 and beyond, are based upon our historical performance and on current plans, estimates and expectations. The inclusion of this forward-looking information should not be regarded as a representation by us that the future plans, estimates or expectations contemplated by us will be achieved. They are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to:

the cyclical nature of the property casualty industry;
the impact of significant competition, including new alternative entrants to the industry;
the long-tail and potentially volatile nature of the insurance and reinsurance business;
product demand and pricing;
claims development and the process of estimating reserves;
investment risks, including those of our portfolio of fixed maturity securities and investments in equity securities, including investments in financial institutions, municipal bonds, mortgage-backed securities, loans receivable, investment funds, including real estate, merger arbitrage, energy related and private equity investments;
the effects of emerging claim and coverage issues;
the uncertain nature of damage theories and loss amounts;
natural and man-made catastrophic losses, including as a result of terrorist activities;
general economic and market activities, including inflation, interest rates and volatility in the credit and capital markets;
the impact of conditions in the financial markets and the global economy, and the potential effect of legislative, regulatory, accounting or other initiatives taken in response to it, on our results and financial condition;
foreign currency and political risks (including those associated with the United Kingdom's expected withdrawal from the European Union, or "Brexit") relating to our international operations;
our ability to attract and retain key personnel and qualified employees;
continued availability of capital and financing;
the success of our new ventures or acquisitions and the availability of other opportunities;
the availability of reinsurance;
our retention under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015 ("TRIPRA");
the ability or willingness of our reinsurers to pay reinsurance recoverables owed to us;
other legislative and regulatory developments, including those related to business practices in the insurance industry;
credit risk relating to our policyholders, independent agents and brokers;
changes in the ratings assigned to us or our insurance company subsidiaries by rating agencies;
the availability of dividends from our insurance company subsidiaries;
potential difficulties with technology and/or data security;
the effectiveness of our controls to ensure compliance with guidelines, policies and legal and regulatory standards; and




other risks detailed in this Form 10-K and from time to time in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).
We describe these risks and uncertainties in greater detail in Item 1A, Risk Factors. These risks and uncertainties could cause our actual results for the year 2017 and beyond to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statement we make. Any projections of growth in our revenues would not necessarily result in commensurate levels of earnings. Our future financial performance is dependent upon factors discussed elsewhere in this Form 10-K and our other SEC filings. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made.




PART I
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
    
W. R. Berkley Corporation is an insurance holding company that is among the largest commercial lines writers in the United States and operates worldwide in two segments of the property casualty insurance business:

Insurance - commercial insurance business, including excess and surplus lines and admitted lines, throughout the United States, as well as insurance business in the United Kingdom, Continental Europe, South America, Canada, Mexico, Scandinavia, Asia and Australia; and

Reinsurance - reinsurance business on a facultative and treaty basis, primarily in the United States, United Kingdom, Continental Europe, Australia, the Asia-Pacific region and South Africa.
Commencing with the first quarter of 2016, the Company changed the aggregation of its reported segments. Operating units in the Insurance-Domestic segment and Insurance-International segment, previously reported separately, were combined into the Insurance segment. The segment disclosures for prior periods have been revised to be consistent with the new reportable business segment presentation.
Our two reporting segments are composed of individual operating units that serve a market defined by geography, products, services or types of customers. Each of our operating units is positioned close to its customer base and participates in a niche market requiring specialized knowledge about a territory or product. This strategy of decentralized operations allows each of our units to identify and respond quickly and effectively to changing market conditions and local customer needs, while capitalizing on the benefits of centralized capital, investment and reinsurance management, and corporate actuarial, financial, enterprise risk management and legal staff support.
Our business approach is focused on meeting the needs of our customers, maintaining a high quality balance sheet, and allocating capital to our best opportunities. New businesses are started when opportunities are identified and when the right talent and expertise are found to lead a business. Of our 54 operating units, 47 have been organized and developed internally and seven have been added through acquisition.
    Net premiums written, as reported based on United States generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”), for each of our operating segments for each of the past five years were as follows:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 (In thousands)
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Net premiums written:
 
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Insurance
$
5,775,913

 
$
5,591,397

 
$
5,345,663

 
$
4,750,572

 
$
4,234,342

Reinsurance
648,000

 
598,118

 
651,284

 
749,601

 
664,197

Total
$
6,423,913

 
$
6,189,515

 
$
5,996,947

 
$
5,500,173

 
$
4,898,539

 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Percentage of net premiums written:
 
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Insurance
89.9
%
 
90.3
%
 
89.1
%
 
86.4
%
 
86.4
%
Reinsurance
10.1

 
9.7

 
10.9

 
13.6

 
13.6

Total
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
    
Twenty-eight of our twenty-nine insurance company subsidiaries rated by A.M. Best Company, Inc. ("A.M. Best") have ratings of A+ (Superior) (the second highest rating out of 15 possible ratings), and one is rated A (Excellent) (the third highest rating). A.M. Best's ratings are based upon factors of concern to policyholders, insurance agents and brokers and are not directed toward the protection of investors. A.M. Best states: “The Financial Strength Rating opinion addresses the relative ability of an insurer to meet its ongoing insurance obligations. The ratings are not assigned to specific insurance policies or contracts and do not address any other risk.” A.M. Best reviews its ratings on a periodic basis, and its ratings of the Company's subsidiaries are therefore subject to change.
Our twenty-four insurance company subsidiaries rated by Standard & Poor's (“S&P”) have financial strength ratings of A+ (the seventh highest rating out of twenty-seven possible ratings).
Our Moody's ratings are A2 for Berkley Insurance Company, Berkley Regional Insurance Company and Admiral Insurance Company (the sixth highest rating out of twenty-one possible ratings).

1



The following sections describe our reporting segments and their operating units in greater detail. These operating units underwrite on behalf of one or more affiliated insurance companies within the group. Certain operating units are identified by us herein for descriptive purposes only and are not legal entities. Unless otherwise indicated, all references in this Form 10-K to “W. R. Berkley,” “we,” “us,” “our,” the “Company” or similar terms refer to W. R. Berkley Corporation together with its subsidiaries and operating units. W. R. Berkley Corporation is a Delaware corporation formed in 1970.
Insurance
Our U.S.-based operating units underwrite commercial insurance business primarily throughout the United States, although many units offer coverage globally, focusing on the following general areas:

Excess & Surplus Lines: A number of our operating units are dedicated to the U.S. excess and surplus lines market. They serve a highly diverse group of customers that often have complex risk or unique exposures that typically fall outside the underwriting guidelines of the standard insurance market. Lines of business underwritten by our excess and surplus lines operating units include premises operations, commercial automobile, property, products liability and professional liability lines. Products are generally distributed through wholesale agents and brokers.

Industry Specialty: Certain other operating units focus on providing specialty coverages to customers within a particular industry that are best served by underwriters and claims professionals with specialized knowledge of that industry. They offer multiple lines of business with policies tailored to address these unique exposures, often with the flexibility of providing coverages on either an admitted or a non-admitted basis in the U.S. Each operating unit delivers its products through one or more distribution channels, including retail and wholesale agents, brokers, and managing general agents (MGAs), depending on the customer and the particular risks insured.

Product Specialty: Other operating units specialize in providing specific lines of insurance coverage, such as workers’ compensation or professional liability, to a wide range of customers. They offer insurance products, analytical tools and risk management services such as loss control and claims management that enable clients to manage their risk appropriately. Business is typically written on an admitted basis, although some units may offer non-admitted products in the U.S. and offer products internationally. Independent agents and brokers are the primary means of distribution.

Regional: Certain operating units offer standard insurance products and services focused on meeting the specific needs of a geographically differentiated customer base. Key clients of these units are small-to-midsized businesses. These regionally focused operating units provide a broad array of commercial insurance products to customers primarily in 45 states and the District of Columbia and have developed expertise in niches that reflect local economies. They are organized geographically in order to provide them with the flexibility to adapt quickly to local market conditions and customer needs.
In addition, through our non-U.S. insurance operating units, we write business in more than 60 countries worldwide, with branches or offices in 20 locations outside the United States, including the United Kingdom, Continental Europe, South America, Canada, Mexico, Scandinavia, Asia and Australia. In each of our operating territories, we have built decentralized structures that allow products and services to be tailored to each regional customer base. Our businesses are managed by teams of professionals with expertise in local markets and knowledge of regional environments.
    
In addition to providing insurance products, certain operating units also provide a wide variety of fee-based services, including claims, administrative and consulting services.
Operating units comprising the Insurance segment are as follows:
Acadia Insurance is a Northeast regional property casualty underwriter offering a broad portfolio of products exclusively through local independent agents in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. In addition to its general offerings, Acadia has specialized expertise in insuring regional industries such as construction, lumber and fishing.
Admiral Insurance provides excess and surplus lines coverage for commercial risks that generally consist of hard-to- place, specialized risks that involve moderate to high degrees of hazard. Its lines of business include general liability, professional liability, property, and excess and umbrella coverage. Admiral's professional liability and program operations include special coverages for technology, ambulatory surgery centers, chiropractors and concierge physicians. Its products are distributed exclusively by wholesale brokers.
American Mining Insurance Group specializes in mono-line workers’ compensation coverage for mining and mining related industries throughout the United States and for high hazard risks in select states. 

2



Berkley Accident and Health underwrites accident and health insurance and reinsurance products in four primary areas: medical stop loss, managed care, special risk and group captive. It has a diversified product and service portfolio serving a range of clients from small employers, health care organizations, and membership groups to Fortune 500 companies.
Berkley Agribusiness Risk Specialists offers insurance for larger commercial risks across the United States involved in the supply, storage, handling, processing and distribution of commodities related to the agriculture and food industries.     
Berkley Alliance Managers specializes in professional liability for the design professional, construction professional and certified public accounting industries. The Berkley Design Professional division specializes in architects, engineers and consultants. In addition to professional liability, the Berkley Construction Professional division provides pollution liability and protective coverages to contractors and owners across all forms of non-environmental construction.
Berkley Aviation offers a wide range of aviation insurance products on a global basis, including coverage for airlines, airplanes, helicopters, miscellaneous general aviation operations, non-owned aircraft, fixed-base operations, control towers, airports and other specialized niche programs. In the U.S., it places its business on an admitted and non-admitted basis nationwide.
Berkley Canada underwrites specialty, casualty and surety lines of business on behalf of the Canadian branch of Berkley Insurance Company. It specializes in commercial casualty and professional liability, and offers a broad portfolio of risk products that include commercial general liability, umbrella, professional liability, directors and officers, commercial property and surety, in addition to niche products for specific industries such as technology, life sciences and travel.
Berkley Custom Insurance focuses on the excess casualty insurance market and offers umbrella liability, pollution liability, excess liability, construction wrap-ups and completed operations coverages to wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers, insurance companies, financial institutions and construction companies.
Berkley Cyber Risk Solutions focuses on insurance and risk management products that respond to the changing cyber security vulnerabilities of organizations around the world. It offers specialty commercial insurance coverages on a worldwide basis to clients of all sizes.
Berkley FinSecure serves the insurance needs of financial institutions, credit unions, mortgage lenders, mortgage servicers and trust managers. It offers a comprehensive range of property, casualty, professional liability, and specialty lines insurance products and loss control services, including financial institution-specific commercial package policies, workers' compensation, umbrella, commercial auto, management liability and crime coverages, and financial institution bonds.
Berkley Fire & Marine offers a broad range of preferred inland marine and related property risks and services to  customers throughout the United States, both regionally and nationwide.  Products are distributed through independent agents and brokers.
Berkley Global Product Recall Management provides worldwide insurance protection and technical assistance to help clients with the prevention, management and indemnification of product recall and contamination events.
Berkley Healthcare Professional provides customized, comprehensive professional liability solutions for the full spectrum of healthcare providers.
Berkley Latinoamérica is a leading provider of property, casualty, automobile, surety, group life and workers' compensation products and services in its operating territories of Argentina, Brazil, the Caribbean, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay.
Berkley Life Sciences offers a comprehensive spectrum of property, casualty, and specialty products such as professional and management liability to the life sciences industry on a global basis, including both primary and excess liability coverages. It serves pharmaceutical and biotech companies, medical device companies, dietary supplement companies, medical and research related software developers, contract research and manufacturing organizations, research institutions and organizations, and other related businesses.
Berkley Medical Excess insures healthcare organizations such as hospitals and clinics that retain a portion of their risk exposure through a self-funded mechanism and seek to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of their excess risk financing program.
Berkley Mid-Atlantic Group provides commercial property casualty coverages to a wide variety of businesses in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Focusing on middle market accounts, it complements its standard writings with specialized products in areas such as construction.
Berkley Net Underwriters focuses on small and medium-sized commercial risks, using a web-based system to allow producers to quote, bind and service workers' compensation insurance products on behalf of W. R. Berkley Corporation member companies. Berkley Net Underwriters also manages W. R. Berkley's assigned risk servicing carrier operations.

3



Berkley North Pacific provides local underwriting, claims and risk management services from its home office in Seattle, Washington and branch offices in Boise, Idaho, Spokane, Washington and Salt Lake City, Utah. It operates with a select group of agents in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah and Washington to sell and service property and casualty policies for larger middle-market standard businesses and specialty lines, such as construction.
Berkley Offshore Underwriting Managers is a specialist global underwriter of energy and marine risks. Its three divisions provide specialty insurance products in the energy upstream, energy liability and marine sectors.    
Berkley Oil & Gas provides property casualty products and risk services to the United States energy sector. Its customer base includes risks of any size that work in the oil patch, including operators, drillers, geophysical contractors, well-servicing contractors, and manufacturers/distributors of oil field products, as well as those in the renewable energy sector.    
Berkley One is expected to launch its products in the latter half of 2017 and will offer specialty personal insurance to sophisticated individuals and families, supported by world class risk and claim management.
Berkley Professional Liability specializes in professional liability insurance for publicly-traded and private entities based on a worldwide basis. Its liability coverages include directors and officers, fiduciary, employment practices, and sponsored insurance agents. Berkley Transactional, a division of Berkley Professional Liability, underwrites a full suite of transactional insurance products, including representations and warranties insurance, tax opinion insurance and contingency liability insurance.
Berkley Program Specialists is a program management company offering both admitted and non-admitted insurance support on a nationwide basis for commercial casualty and inland marine program administrators with specialized insurance expertise. Its book is built around blocks of homogeneous business, or programs, allowing for efficient processes, effective oversight of existing programs and sound implementation of new programs.    
Berkley Public Entity specializes in providing excess coverage and services to individual governmental and scholastic entities and intergovernmental risk sharing groups. Products include general liability, automobile liability, law enforcement liability, public officials and educator's legal liability, employment practices liability, incidental medical, property and crime.
Berkley Regional Specialty provides excess and surplus lines coverage on a national basis to small to medium-sized insureds with low to moderate insurance risk. Its product lines include general liability, liquor liability and some property and inland marine coverage. It serves a limited distribution channel consisting of select W. R. Berkley Corporation member company agents.
Berkley Risk Administrators provides at-risk and alternative risk insurance program management services for a broad range of groups and individuals including public entity pools, professional associations, captives and self-insured clients. As a third party administrator, it manages workers’ compensation, liability and property claims nationwide.
Berkley Select specializes in underwriting professional liability insurance with a particular emphasis on large law firms, accounting firms and medical institution facilities. Its products are distributed nationwide through a limited number of brokers.    
Berkley Southeast offers a wide array of commercial lines products in six southeastern states: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.    
Berkley Specialty Underwriting Managers has two underwriting divisions. Its entertainment and sports division underwrites property casualty insurance products, both on an admitted and non-admitted basis, for the entertainment industry and sports-related organizations. The environmental division underwrites specialty insurance products for environmental customers such as contractors, consultants and owners of sites and facilities.
Berkley Surety provides a broad array of surety products for contract and commercial surety risks in the U.S. and Canada, including specialty niches such as environmental and secured credit for small contractors, through an independent agency and broker platform across a network of 16 field offices.    
Berkley Technology Underwriters provides a broad range of first and third-party insurance programs for technology exposures and technology industries on both a local and global basis.
Carolina Casualty Insurance provides commercial insurance products and services to the transportation industry with an emphasis on intermediate and long-haul trucking and various classes of business and public automobile coverage. It underwrites on an admitted basis in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Clermont Specialty Managers provides package insurance programs for high-end cooperative, condominium, and quality rental apartment buildings and upscale restaurants in the New York, New Jersey, Chicago and Washington, D.C. metropolitan markets, as well as other select markets.    

4



Continental Western Group is a midwest regional property and casualty insurance operation based in Des Moines, Iowa, providing underwriting and risk management services to a broad array of regional businesses in thirteen midwest states. In addition to its generalist portfolio, Continental Western offers specialty underwriting solutions for diversified agriculture, construction, light manufacturing, transportation, volunteer fire departments, rural utilities and public entities.
Gemini Transportation is a national provider of excess liability insurance for various domestic surface transportation businesses. It underwrites liability insurance policies for the railroad industry as well as excess liability policies for the trucking, busing and other industries that use rubber-wheeled vehicles for over-the-road use.
Intrepid Direct offers business coverages to franchise restaurants on a direct basis.
Key Risk is a premier provider of workers' compensation insurance and third party administrative services. It focuses on middle market and national  accounts in several niches that appreciate expertise and exceptional service.  The unit operates three business units; one focused on middle market accounts located primarily in the mid-Atlantic and southeastern United States, one focused on national temporary staffing and United States Longshoreman & Harbor Act (USL&H) specialty programs and one focused on self-insured customers.  Its products are distributed by a select group of independent retail agents and wholesale brokers located through the United States.
Lloyd's Syndicate 2791 Participation represents the Company's minority participation in a Lloyd's syndicate that writes a broad range of mainly short-tail classes of business.
Midwest Employers Casualty provides excess workers' compensation insurance products to individual employers, groups and workers' compensation insurance companies across the United States. Its workers' compensation excess of loss products include self-insured excess of loss coverages, large deductible policies and reinsurance. Through its relationship with Berkley Net Underwriters, Midwest Employers Casualty also offers multi-state coverage for group self-insureds. It has developed sophisticated, proprietary analytical tools and risk management services that help its insureds lower their total cost of risk.
Monitor Liability Managers provides executive and professional liability insurance to small to middle-market risks on a nationwide basis. Its primary professional liability products are management liability, employment practices and fiduciary coverages for private companies and nonprofit organizations, and errors and omissions policies for accounting and law firms.    
Nautilus Insurance Group insures excess and surplus lines risks for small to medium-sized commercial risks with low to moderate susceptibility to loss. It writes commercial excess and surplus lines business nationwide and admitted lines commercial business in a limited number of states. A substantial portion of Nautilus' business is written through its close, long-standing network of general agents, who are chosen on a highly selective basis.
Preferred Employers Insurance focuses exclusively on workers' compensation products and services for businesses in California. It serves over 12,000 customers covering a broad spectrum of industries throughout the state.    
Riverport Insurance Services provides property casualty insurance coverages to human services organizations, including nonprofit and for-profit organizations, public schools and sports and recreational organizations. Riverport also insures special events. Its product offerings include traditional primary coverages and risk purchasing groups, as well as alternative market solutions for clients who wish to retain a larger share of their own risk.
Union Standard offers preferred commercial property and casualty insurance products and services to a wide range of small to medium size commercial entities through independent agents in Arizona, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Union Standard's strategy is built around relationships and service.
Vela Insurance Services specializes in commercial casualty insurance on an excess and surplus lines basis. Its primary focus is on general liability insurance for construction, manufacturing and general casualty clients as well as products liability and miscellaneous professional liability coverages distributed through wholesale insurance brokers.
Verus Underwriting Managers offers general liability, professional liability and property coverages for small to mid-sized commercial risks in the excess and surplus lines insurance market through a select group of appointed wholesale brokers and agents.
W. R. Berkley Europe is comprised of specialist operating units offering a focused range of insurance products to markets in Continental Europe and Nordic countries.
W. R. Berkley Insurance Asia underwrites specialty commercial insurance coverages to clients in North Asia and Southeast Asia through offices in Hong Kong and Singapore.
W. R. Berkley Insurance Australia underwrites general insurance business in Australia, including professional indemnity insurance for companies of all sizes.

5



W / R / B Underwriting provides a broad range of leading insurance products to the European marketplace, with a concentration in specialist classes of business including property, professional indemnity, crisis management, aviation, personal accident and asset protection.
The following table sets forth the percentage of gross premiums written by each Insurance operating unit:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Acadia Insurance
6.7
%
 
6.7
%
 
7.1
%
 
6.9
%
 
7.1
%
Admiral Insurance
5.5

 
4.9

 
5.3

 
4.9

 
5.1

American Mining Insurance Group
0.7

 
0.8

 
0.7

 
0.7

 
0.7

Berkley Accident and Health
4.4

 
3.7

 
2.9

 
2.5

 
3.0

Berkley Agribusiness Risk Specialists
1.1

 
0.9

 
0.9

 
0.9

 
0.9

Berkley Alliance Managers
1.5

 
0.7

 
0.1

 

 

Berkley Aviation
1.0

 
1.2

 
0.8

 
0.8

 
1.2

Berkley Canada
0.8

 
0.6

 
0.5

 
0.7

 
0.7

Berkley Custom Insurance
2.7

 
2.8

 
2.4

 
2.3

 
0.6

Berkley Cyber Risk Solutions

 

 

 

 

Berkley FinSecure
0.9

 
1.0

 
0.7

 
0.7

 
0.7

Berkley Fire & Marine
0.4

 
0.3

 
0.2

 

 

Berkley Global Product Recall Management
0.2

 

 

 

 

Berkley Healthcare Professional
0.2

 

 

 

 

Berkley Latinoamérica
4.1

 
4.7

 
4.6

 
5.1

 
5.4

Berkley Life Sciences
0.8

 
0.8

 
0.9

 
0.9

 
0.7

Berkley Medical Excess
0.8

 
0.9

 
0.8

 
0.7

 
0.7

Berkley Mid-Atlantic Group
1.2

 
1.8

 
2.4

 
3.6

 
4.0

Berkley Net Underwriters
7.9

 
4.0

 
3.7

 
3.4

 
2.9

Berkley North Pacific
1.5

 
1.7

 
1.6

 
1.5

 
1.5

Berkley Offshore Underwriting Managers
1.1

 
1.4

 
1.7

 
1.9

 
1.8

Berkley Oil & Gas
2.7

 
3.2

 
3.5

 
3.2

 
2.7

Berkley One

 

 

 

 

Berkley Professional Liability
1.5

 
1.7

 
1.8

 
1.1

 
1.0

Berkley Program Specialists
1.2

 
1.2

 
1.2

 
1.2

 
1.5

Berkley Public Entity
0.5

 
0.4

 
0.4

 
0.3

 
0.2

Berkley Regional Specialty
0.3

 
0.3

 
0.3

 
0.3

 
0.3

Berkley Risk Administrators
0.2

 
3.9

 
3.9

 
4.1

 
4.0

Berkley Select
1.6

 
1.6

 
1.8

 
2.3

 
2.4

Berkley Southeast
2.0

 
2.3

 
2.5

 

 

Berkley Specialty Underwriting Managers
6.1

 
5.7

 
5.3

 
5.5

 
6.5

Berkley Surety
1.2

 
1.2

 
1.1

 
1.1

 
1.1

Berkley Technology Underwriters
0.6

 
0.5

 
0.4

 
0.3

 
0.1

Carolina Casualty Insurance
0.6

 
1.2

 
1.8

 
2.0

 
1.9

Clermont Specialty Managers
1.3

 
1.3

 
1.3

 
1.3

 
1.3

Continental Western Group
4.0

 
4.0

 
3.8

 
4.0

 
4.4

Gemini Transportation
1.8

 
1.1

 
0.9

 
0.8

 
0.9

Intrepid Direct

 

 

 

 

Key Risk
2.6

 
2.8

 
2.9

 
2.8

 
2.7

Lloyd's Syndicate 2791 Participation
0.5

 
0.5

 
0.6

 
1.0

 
1.5

Midwest Employers Casualty
2.4

 
2.4

 
2.5

 
2.4

 
2.8

Monitor Liability Managers
2.3

 
2.4

 
2.2

 
2.6

 
2.6

Nautilus Insurance Group
4.9

 
4.7

 
4.6

 
4.8

 
5.2

Preferred Employers Insurance
2.6

 
2.4

 
2.1

 
1.8

 
1.6


6



Riverport Insurances Services
0.7

 
0.6

 
0.6

 
0.6

 
1.2

Union Standard
2.6

 
2.6

 
2.6

 
4.3

 
4.4

Vela Insurance Services
3.9

 
3.3

 
3.2

 
2.9

 
1.8

Verus Underwriting Managers
0.9

 
0.8

 
0.8

 
0.8

 
0.6

W. R. Berkley Europe
1.7

 
1.9

 
2.4

 
2.5

 
2.4

W. R. Berkley Insurance Asia

 

 

 

 

W. R. Berkley Insurance Australia
1.0

 
0.8

 
1.3

 
1.3

 
0.8

W/R/B Underwriting
3.9

 
5.4

 
6.1

 
6.0

 
6.2

Other
0.9

 
0.9

 
0.8

 
1.2

 
0.9

Total
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
    
The following table sets forth percentages of gross premiums written, by line, by our Insurance operations:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Other liability
31.3
%
 
31.8
%
 
31.9
%
 
32.4
%
 
30.7
%
Workers' compensation
25.1

 
27.9

 
27.2

 
27.0

 
26.8

Short-tail lines (1)
23.9

 
21.2

 
21.8

 
22.0

 
23.5

Professional liability
10.0

 
9.4

 
8.7

 
7.9

 
7.8

Commercial auto
9.7

 
9.7

 
10.4

 
10.7

 
11.2

  Total
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
___________________
(1) Short-tail lines include commercial multi-peril (non-liability), inland marine, accident and health, fidelity and surety, boiler and machinery and other lines.
Reinsurance
We provide other insurance companies and self-insureds with assistance in managing their net risk through reinsurance on either a portfolio basis, through treaty reinsurance, or on an individual basis, through facultative reinsurance.
Operating units comprising the Reinsurance segment are as follows:
Berkley Re America provides treaty and facultative reinsurance solutions on a variety of product lines through reinsurance brokers to companies whose primary operations are within the United States and Canada.
Berkley Re Asia Pacific provides property and casualty reinsurance to the Asia Pacific marketplace. With offices in Brisbane, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore, each branch focuses on excess of loss reinsurance, targeting both property and casualty treaty and facultative contracts, through multiple distribution channels.
Berkley Re Direct is a direct casualty facultative reinsurance underwriter serving clients through a nationwide network of regional offices. Its facultative reinsurance products include automatic, semi-automatic and individual risk assumed reinsurance. Berkley Re Direct also provides its customers value-added services across its lines, including underwriting, claims and actuarial consultation.
Berkley Re UK writes international property casualty treaty accounts. Its territorial scope includes reinsured clients domiciled in the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean.









7



The following table sets forth the percentages of gross premiums written by each Reinsurance operating unit:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Berkley Re America
67.6
%
 
64.2
%
 
60.4
%
 
52.2
%
 
54.3
%
Berkley Re UK
11.4

 
10.8

 
11.2

 
9.1

 
6.9

Berkley Re Asia Pacific
10.6

 
16.4

 
21.2

 
24.9

 
22.1

Berkley Re Direct
9.7

 
8.6

 
7.2

 
6.5

 
6.2

Other
0.7

 

 

 
7.3

 
10.5

Total
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%

The following table sets forth the percentages of gross premiums written by our Reinsurance operations:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Casualty
59.7
%
 
66.7
%
 
66.9
%
 
65.6
%
 
66.9
%
Property
40.3

 
33.3

 
33.1

 
34.4

 
33.1

   Total
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%

Results by Segment

Summary financial information about our segments is presented on a GAAP basis in the following table:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 (In thousands)
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Insurance
 
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Revenue
$
6,205,921

 
$
5,938,444

 
$
5,665,200

 
$
5,064,403

 
$
4,622,579

Income before income taxes
822,617

 
776,593

 
826,088

 
705,662

 
630,139

Reinsurance
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 
 

Revenue
719,412

 
683,335

 
758,931

 
810,060

 
731,585

Income before income taxes
74,799

 
94,852

 
115,677

 
110,425

 
103,690

Other(1)
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 
 

Revenue
728,851

 
584,678

 
704,797

 
534,071

 
469,390

Income (loss) before income taxes
(978
)
 
(139,415
)
 
10,431

 
(117,199
)
 
(31,901
)
Total
 
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Revenue
$
7,654,184

 
$
7,206,457

 
$
7,128,928

 
$
6,408,534

 
$
5,823,554

Income before income taxes
$
896,438

 
$
732,030

 
$
952,196

 
$
698,888

 
$
701,928

_______________________________________
(1)
Represents corporate revenues, corporate expenses, net investment gains and losses, and revenues and expenses from non-insurance businesses that are consolidated for financial reporting purposes.
    









8



The table below represents summary underwriting ratios on a GAAP basis for our segments. Loss ratio is losses and loss expenses incurred expressed as a percentage of net premiums earned. Expense ratio is underwriting expenses expressed as a percentage of net premiums earned. Underwriting expenses do not include expenses related to insurance services or unallocated corporate expenses. Combined ratio is the sum of the loss ratio and the expense ratio. The combined ratio represents a measure of underwriting profitability, excluding investment income. A number in excess of 100 indicates an underwriting loss; a number below 100 indicates an underwriting profit:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Insurance
 
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Loss ratio
61.0
%
 
60.8
%
 
60.6
%
 
61.0
%
 
62.9
%
Expense ratio
32.6

 
32.6

 
32.9

 
33.7

 
33.7

Combined ratio
93.6
%
 
93.4
%
 
93.5
%
 
94.7
%
 
96.6
%
Reinsurance
 
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Loss ratio
61.8
%
 
58.4
%
 
62.0
%
 
62.2
%
 
64.3
%
Expense ratio
38.8

 
38.2

 
34.0

 
34.8

 
36.3

Combined ratio
100.6
%
 
96.6
%
 
96.0
%
 
97.0
%
 
100.6
%
Total
 
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Loss ratio
61.1
%
 
60.5
%
 
60.8
%
 
61.2
%
 
63.1
%
Expense ratio
33.2

 
33.2

 
33.0

 
33.9

 
34.1

Combined ratio
94.3
%
 
93.7
%
 
93.8
%
 
95.1
%
 
97.2
%

Investments
Investment results, before income taxes, were as follows:
 
Year Ended December 31,
(In thousands) 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Average investments, at cost(1)
$
16,730,964

 
$
15,970,931

 
$
15,560,335

 
$
14,848,386

 
$
14,545,371

Net investment income(1)
$
564,163

 
$
512,645

 
$
600,885

 
$
544,291

 
$
586,763

Percent earned on average investments(1)
3.4
%
 
3.2
%
 
3.9
%
 
3.7
%
 
4.0
%
Net investment gains (2)
$
267,005

 
$
92,324

 
$
254,852

 
$
121,544

 
$
10,465

Change in unrealized investment gains (losses) (3)
$
371,716

 
$
(192,186
)
 
$
72,889

 
$
(399,122
)
 
$
135,282

_______________________________________
(1)
Includes investments, cash and cash equivalents, trading accounts receivable from brokers and clearing organizations, trading account securities sold but not yet purchased and unsettled purchases.
(2)
Represents realized gains on investments not classified as trading account securities.
(3)
Represents the change in unrealized investment gains (losses) for available for sale securities.
For comparison, the following are the coupon returns for the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index and the dividend returns for the S&P 500® Index:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index
3.0
%
 
3.0
%
 
3.2
%
 
3.1
%
 
3.5
%
S&P 500® Index
2.4

 
2.1

 
2.1

 
2.4

 
2.5

    






9



The percentages of the fixed maturity portfolio categorized by contractual maturity, based on fair value, on the dates indicated, are set forth below. Actual maturities may differ from contractual maturities because certain issuers may have the right to call or prepay certain obligations.
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
1 year or less
7.9
%
 
5.8
%
 
7.0
%
 
8.0
%
 
5.8
%
Over 1 year through 5 years
39.6

 
33.6

 
32.4

 
30.5

 
30.7

Over 5 years through 10 years
24.6

 
30.5

 
29.8

 
27.5

 
23.4

Over 10 years
18.8

 
20.3

 
20.4

 
22.3

 
25.5

Mortgage-backed securities
9.1

 
9.8

 
10.4

 
11.7

 
14.6

Total
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%

At December 31, 2016, the fixed maturity portfolio had an effective duration of 3.1 years including cash and cash equivalents.
Loss and Loss Expense Reserves
To recognize liabilities for unpaid losses, either known or unknown, insurers establish reserves, which is a balance sheet account representing estimates of future amounts needed to pay claims and related expenses with respect to insured events which have occurred. Estimates and assumptions relating to reserves for losses and loss expenses are based on complex and subjective judgments, often including the interplay of specific uncertainties with related accounting and actuarial measurements. Such estimates are also susceptible to change as significant periods of time may elapse between the occurrence of an insured loss, the report of the loss to the insurer, the ultimate determination of the cost of the loss and the insurer’s payment of that loss.
In general, when a claim is reported, claims personnel establish a “case reserve” for the estimated amount of the ultimate payment based upon known information about the claim at that time. The estimate represents an informed judgment based on general reserving practices and reflects the experience and knowledge of the claims personnel regarding the nature and value of the specific type of claim. Reserves are also established on an aggregate basis to provide for losses incurred but not reported (“IBNR”) to the insurer, potential inadequacy of case reserves and the estimated expenses of settling claims, including legal and other fees and general expenses of administrating the claims adjustment process. Reserves are established based upon the then current legal interpretation of coverage provided.
In examining reserve adequacy, several factors are considered in estimating the ultimate economic value of losses. These factors include, among others, historical data, legal developments, changes in social attitudes and economic conditions, including the effects of inflation. The actuarial process relies on the basic assumption that past experience, adjusted judgmentally for the effects of current developments and anticipated trends, is an appropriate basis for predicting future outcomes. Reserve amounts are necessarily based on management’s informed estimates and judgments using currently available data. As additional experience and other data become available and are reviewed, these estimates and judgments may be revised. This may result in reserve increases or decreases that would be reflected in our results in periods in which such estimates and assumptions are changed.
The risk and complexity of estimating loss reserves are greater when economic conditions are uncertain. It is especially difficult to estimate the impact of inflation on loss reserves given the current economic environment and related government actions. Whereas a slowing economy would generally lead to lower inflation or even deflation, increased government spending would generally lead to higher inflation. A change in our assumptions regarding inflation would result in reserve increases or decreases that would be reflected in our earnings in periods in which such assumptions are changed.
Reserves do not represent an exact calculation of liability. Rather, reserves represent an estimate of what management expects the ultimate settlement and claim administration will cost. While the methods for establishing the reserves are well tested over time, some of the major assumptions about anticipated loss emergence patterns are subject to unanticipated fluctuation. These estimates, which generally involve actuarial projections, are based on management’s assessment of facts and circumstances then known, as well as estimates of trends in claims severity and frequency, judicial theories of liability and other factors, including the actions of third parties, which are beyond the Company’s control. These variables are affected by external and internal events, such as inflation and economic volatility, judicial and litigation trends, reinsurance coverage, legislative changes and claim handling and reserving practices, which make it more difficult to accurately predict claim costs. The inherent uncertainties of estimating reserves are greater for certain types of liabilities where long periods of time elapse before a definitive determination of liability is made. Although the loss reserves included in the Company’s financial statements

10



represent management’s best estimates, setting reserves is inherently uncertain and the Company cannot provide assurance that its current reserves will prove adequate in light of subsequent events.
The Company discounts its liabilities for certain workers’ compensation reserves. The amount of workers’ compensation reserves that were discounted was $1,907 million and $2,308 million at December 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively. The aggregate net discount for those reserves, after reflecting the effects of ceded reinsurance, was $640 million and $699 million at December 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively. At December 31, 2016, discount rates by year ranged from 2.0% to 6.5%, with a weighted average discount rate of 3.9%.
Substantially all of discounted workers’ compensation reserves (97% of total discounted reserves at December 31, 2016) are excess workers’ compensation reserves. In order to properly match loss expenses with income earned on investment securities supporting the liabilities, reserves for excess workers’ compensation business are discounted using risk-free discount rates determined by reference to the U.S. Treasury yield curve. These rates are determined annually based on the weighted average rate for the period. Once established, no adjustments are made to the discount rate for that period, and any increases or decreases in loss reserves in subsequent years are discounted at the same rate, without regard to when any such adjustments are recognized. The expected loss and loss expense payout patterns subject to discounting are derived from the Company’s loss payout experience.  
The Company also discounts reserves for certain other long-duration workers’ compensation reserves (representing approximately 3% of total discounted reserves at December 31, 2016), including reserves for quota share reinsurance and reserves related to losses regarding occupational lung disease. These reserves are discounted at statutory rates permitted by the Department of Insurance of the State of Delaware.
To date, known environmental and asbestos claims have not had a material impact on the Company’s operations, because its subsidiaries generally did not insure large industrial companies that are subject to significant environmental or asbestos exposures prior to 1986 when an absolute exclusion was incorporated into standard policy language.
The Company’s net reserves for losses and loss expenses relating to asbestos and environmental claims on policies written before adoption of the absolute exclusion was $31 million at December 31, 2016 and $33 million at December 31, 2015. The estimation of these liabilities is subject to significantly greater than normal variation and uncertainty because it is difficult to make an actuarial estimate of these liabilities due to the absence of a generally accepted actuarial methodology for these exposures and the potential effect of significant unresolved legal matters, including coverage issues, as well as the cost of litigating the legal issues. Additionally, the determination of ultimate damages and the final allocation of such damages to financially responsible parties are highly uncertain.
    

















11



The table below provides a reconciliation of the beginning of year and end of year property casualty reserves for the indicated years:
(In thousands)
2016
 
2015
 
2014
Net reserves at beginning of year
$
9,244,872

 
$
8,970,641

 
$
8,683,797

Net provision for losses and loss expenses:
 
 
 

 
 

Claims occurring during the current year (1)
3,826,620

 
3,653,561

 
3,495,825

Decrease in estimates for claims occurring in prior years (2)
(29,904
)
 
(46,713
)
 
(75,764
)
Loss reserve discount amortization (3)
49,084

 
49,422

 
70,506

Total
3,845,800

 
3,656,270

 
3,490,567

  Net payments for claims:
 
 
 

 
 

Current year
1,052,452

 
914,637

 
898,944

Prior years
2,401,722

 
2,342,378

 
2,216,283

Total
3,454,174

 
3,257,015

 
3,115,227

Foreign currency translation
(46,233
)
 
(125,024
)
 
(88,496
)
Net reserves at end of year
9,590,265

 
9,244,872

 
8,970,641

Ceded reserves at end of year
1,606,930

 
1,424,278

 
1,399,060

Gross reserves at end of year
$
11,197,195

 
$
10,669,150

 
$
10,369,701

 
 
 
 
 
 
Net change in premiums and losses occurring in prior years:
 
 
 
 
 
Decrease in estimates for claims occurring in prior years (2)
$
29,904

 
$
46,713

 
$
75,764

Retrospective premium adjustments for claims occurring in prior years (4)
29,000

 
16,730

 
9,088

Net favorable premium and reserve development on prior years
$
58,904

 
$
63,443

 
$
84,852


____________________________________
(1)
Claims occurring during the current year are net of discounts of $18,929,000, $20,357,000 and $21,306,000 in 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively.
(2)
The decrease in estimates for claims occurring in prior years is net of discounts. On an undiscounted basis, the estimates for claims occurring in prior years decreased by $59,175,000 in 2016, $64,971,000 in 2015 and $116,866,000 in 2014.
(3)
In 2014, the Company entered into a commutation agreement that resulted in a reduction in prior year workers' compensation reserves of $30 million on an undiscounted basis and $12 million on a discounted basis.
(4)
For certain retrospectively rated insurance polices and reinsurance agreements, changes in loss and loss expenses for prior years are offset by additional or return premiums.
    
Also, see Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and note 14, Reserves for Losses and Loss Expenses included in our audited consolidated financial statements for further information regarding the decrease in estimates for claims occurring in prior years.
A reconciliation between the reserves as of December 31, 2016 as reported in the accompanying consolidated GAAP financial statements and those reported on the basis of statutory accounting principles (“SAP”) in the Company’s U.S. regulatory filings is as follows:
(In thousands)
 
Net reserves reported in U.S. regulatory filings on a SAP basis
$
9,235,211

Reserves for non-U.S. companies
570,556

Loss reserve discounting(1)
(215,502
)
Ceded reserves
1,606,930

Gross reserves reported in the consolidated GAAP financial statements
$
11,197,195

_________________________
(1) For statutory purposes, the Company discounts its workers’ compensation reinsurance reserves at 2.2% as permitted by the Department of Insurance of the State of Delaware. In its GAAP financial statements, the Company discounts excess workers’ compensation reserves at the risk-free rate and assumed workers’ compensation reserves at the statutory rate.

12




Reinsurance
We follow a common industry practice of reinsuring a portion of our exposures and paying to reinsurers a portion of the premiums received on the policies that we write. Reinsurance is purchased principally to reduce net liability on individual risks and to protect against catastrophic losses. Although reinsurance does not legally discharge an insurer from its primary liability for the full amount of the policies, it does make the assuming reinsurer contractually liable to the insurer to the extent of the reinsurance coverage. We monitor the financial condition of our reinsurers and attempt to place our coverages only with substantial, financially sound carriers. As a result, generally the reinsurers who reinsure our casualty insurance must have an A.M. Best rating of “A (Excellent)” or better with at least $1 billion in policyholder surplus and the reinsurers who cover our property insurance must have an A.M. Best rating of “A- (Excellent)” or better with at least $1 billion in policyholder surplus.

Regulation

U.S. Regulation 
Our U.S. insurance subsidiaries are subject to varying degrees of regulation and supervision in the jurisdictions in which they do business.
Overview. Our domestic insurance subsidiaries are subject to statutes which delegate regulatory, supervisory and administrative powers to state insurance commissioners. This regulation relates to such matters as the standards of solvency which must be met and maintained; the licensing of insurers and their agents; the nature of and limitations on investments; deposits of securities for the benefit of policyholders; approval of certain policy forms and premium rates; periodic examination of the affairs of insurance companies; annual and other reports required to be filed on the financial condition of insurers or for other purposes; establishment and maintenance of reserves for unearned premiums, loss expenses and losses; and requirements regarding numerous other matters. Our property casualty subsidiaries, other than excess and surplus and reinsurance subsidiaries, must generally file all rates with the insurance department of each state in which they operate. Our excess and surplus and reinsurance subsidiaries generally operate free of rate and form regulation. 
Holding Company Statutes. In addition to regulatory supervision of our insurance subsidiaries, we are subject to state statutes governing insurance holding company systems. Under the terms of applicable state statutes, any person or entity desiring to purchase more than a specified percentage (commonly 10%) of our outstanding voting securities would be required to obtain prior regulatory approval of the purchase. Typically, such statutes require that we periodically file information with the appropriate state insurance commissioner, including information concerning our capital structure, ownership, financial condition and general business operations.
In addition, we must annually submit to our lead state regulator an “enterprise risk management report” which identifies the activities and circumstances of any affiliated company that might have a material adverse effect on the financial condition of our group or our U.S. licensed insurers.
Several states have also adopted changes to the holding company act that authorize U.S. insurance regulators to lead or participate in the group-wide supervision of certain international insurance groups. International standard setters, such as the International Association of Insurance Supervisors, are developing capital standards for international groups, and U.S. insurance regulators are currently working on U.S. group capital standards for insurance groups. The U.S. group capital calculation is expected to incorporate existing risk-based capital standards. It is unclear how the development of group capital measures will interact with existing capital requirements for insurance companies in the United States and with international capital standards. It is possible that we may be required to hold additional capital as a result of these developments.
Most states have adopted the National Association of Insurance Commissioners's (“NAIC”) Risk Management and Own Risk Solvency Assessment Model Act (the “ORSA Model Act”), which requires an insurance holding company system’s chief risk officer to submit annually to its lead state insurance regulator an Own Risk and Solvency Assessment Summary Report (“ORSA”). The ORSA is a confidential internal assessment of the material and relevant risks associated with an insurer’s current business plan and the sufficiency of capital resources to support those risks. Under ORSA, we are required to:
regularly, no less than annually, conduct an ORSA to assess the adequacy of our risk management framework, and current and estimated projected future solvency position;
internally document the process and results of the assessment; and

provide a confidential high-level ORSA Summary Report annually to the Commissioner of Insurance of the State of Delaware (our lead state commissioner).


13



The NAIC is working on an Insurance Data Security Model Law, which would require insurers, insurance producers and other entities required to be licensed under state insurance laws to develop and maintain a written information security program, conduct risk assessments, and oversee the data security practices of third-party vendors. In addition, the New York Department of Financial Services has adopted a cybersecurity regulation that would impose significant new regulatory burdens on companies they supervise, including entities doing business in New York and operating or required to operate under a license, registration, certificate, accreditation or similar authorization. The regulation, which will become effective on March 1, 2017, would require any such company to maintain a cybersecurity program meeting certain core functions, adopt a cybersecurity policy and oversee the cybersecurity practices of third-party service providers, among other requirements.
We cannot predict the impact, if any, that these holding company statutes and compliance with the ORSA Model Act or any proposed or future cybersecurity regulations will have on our business, financial condition or results of operations. 
Risk Based Capital Requirements. The NAIC utilizes a Risk Based Capital (“RBC”) formula that is designed to measure the adequacy of an insurer's statutory surplus in relation to the risks inherent in its business. The RBC formula develops a risk adjusted target level of adjusted statutory capital by applying certain factors to various asset, premium and reserve items. The NAIC RBC Model Law provides for four incremental levels of regulatory attention for insurers whose surplus is below the calculated RBC target. These levels of attention range in severity from requiring the insurer to submit a plan for corrective action to actually placing the insurer under regulatory control. The RBC of each of our domestic insurance subsidiaries was above any RBC action level as of December 31, 2016. 
Insurance Regulatory Information System. The NAIC also has developed a set of 13 financial ratios referred to as the Insurance Regulatory Information System (“IRIS”). On the basis of statutory financial statements filed with state insurance regulators, the NAIC annually calculates these IRIS ratios to assist state insurance regulators in monitoring the financial condition of insurance companies. The NAIC has established an acceptable range for each of the IRIS financial ratios. 
Guaranty Funds. Our U.S. insurance subsidiaries are also subject to assessment by state guaranty funds when an insurer in a particular jurisdiction has been judicially declared insolvent and the insolvent company's available funds are insufficient to pay policyholders and claimants the amounts to which they are entitled. The protection afforded under a state's guaranty fund to policyholders of the insolvent insurer varies from state to state. Generally, all licensed property casualty insurers are considered to be members of the fund, and assessments are based upon their pro rata share of direct written premiums in that state. The NAIC Model Post-Assessment Guaranty Fund Act, which many states have adopted, limits assessments to an insurer to 2% of its subject premium and permits recoupment of assessments through rate setting. Likewise, several states (or underwriting organizations of which our insurance subsidiaries are required to be members) have limited assessment authority with regard to deficits in certain lines of business.
Additionally, state insurance laws and regulations require us to participate in mandatory property-liability “shared market,” “pooling” or similar arrangements that provide certain types of insurance coverage to individuals or others who otherwise are unable to purchase coverage voluntarily provided by private insurers. Shared market mechanisms include assigned risk plans and fair access to insurance requirement or “FAIR” plans. In addition, some states require insurers to participate in reinsurance pools for claims that exceed specified amounts. Our participation in these mandatory shared market or pooling mechanisms generally is related to the amount of our direct writings for the type of coverage written by the specific arrangement in the applicable state. 
Dividends. We receive funds from our insurance company subsidiaries in the form of dividends and management fees for certain management services. Annual dividends in excess of maximum amounts prescribed by state statutes may not be paid without the approval of the insurance commissioner of the state in which an insurance subsidiary is domiciled. See “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations-Liquidity and Capital Resources.” 
Trade Practices. State insurance laws and regulations include numerous provisions governing trade practices and the marketplace activities of insurers, including provisions governing marketing and sales practices, policyholder services, claims management and complaint handling. State regulatory authorities generally enforce these provisions through periodic market conduct examinations.
 Investment Regulation. Investments by our domestic insurance companies must comply with applicable laws and regulations which prescribe the kind, quality and concentration of investments. In general, these laws and regulations permit investments in federal, state and municipal obligations, corporate bonds, preferred and common equity securities, mortgage loans, real estate and certain other investments, subject to specified limits and certain other qualifications. Investments that do not comply with these limits and qualifications are deducted in our insurance subsidiaries' calculation of their statutory capital and surplus.
Terrorism Risk Insurance. The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 established a Federal program that provides for a system of shared public and private compensation for insured losses resulting from acts of terrorism. Pursuant to the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015 (“TRIPRA”), the program has been extended for a six year period ending

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on December 31, 2020. TRIPRA provides a federal backstop to all U.S. based property and casualty insurers for insurance related losses resulting from any act of terrorism on U.S. soil or against certain U.S. air carriers, vessels or foreign missions. TRIPRA is applicable to almost all commercial lines of property and casualty insurance but excludes commercial auto, burglary and theft, surety, professional liability and farm owners' multi-peril insurance. Insurers with direct commercial property and casualty insurance exposure in the United States are required to participate in the program and make available coverage for certified acts of terrorism. TRIPRA's definition of certified acts includes domestic terrorism. Federal participation will be triggered under TRIPRA when the Secretary of Treasury certifies an act of terrorism. Under the program, the federal government will currently pay 84% of an insurer's covered losses in excess of the insurer's applicable deductible. This amount will decrease to 80% on a pro-rata basis over five years, beginning in 2017. The insurer's deductible is based on 20% of earned premium for the prior year for covered lines of commercial property and casualty insurance. Based on our 2016 earned premiums, our aggregate deductible under TRIPRA during 2017 will be approximately $915 million. The federal program will not pay losses for certified acts unless such losses exceed $140 million industry-wide for calendar year 2017. This threshold will increase to $200 million on a pro-rata basis over five years beginning in 2016. TRIPRA limits the federal government's share of losses at $100 billion for a program year. In addition, an insurer that has satisfied its deductible is not liable for the payment of losses in excess of the $100 billion cap.
Excess and Surplus Lines. The regulation of our U.S. subsidiaries' excess and surplus lines insurance business differs significantly from the regulation of our admitted business. Our surplus lines subsidiaries are subject to the surplus lines regulation and reporting requirements of the jurisdictions in which they are eligible to write surplus lines insurance. Although the surplus lines business is generally less regulated than admitted business, principally with respect to rates and policy forms, strict regulations apply to surplus lines placements in the laws of every state and the regulation of surplus lines insurance may undergo changes in the future. Federal or state measures may be introduced to increase the oversight of surplus lines insurance in the future. 
Federal Regulation. Although the federal government and its regulatory agencies generally do not directly regulate the business of insurance, federal initiatives could have an impact on our business in a variety of ways. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) effected sweeping changes to financial services regulation in the United States. The Dodd-Frank Act created two new federal government bodies, the Federal Insurance Office (the “FIO”) and the Financial Stability Oversight Council (the “FSOC”), which may impact the regulation of insurance. Although the FIO has preemption authority over state insurance laws that conflict with certain international agreements, it does not have general supervisory or regulatory authority over the business of insurance. The FIO has authority to represent the United States in international insurance matters and is authorized to monitor the U.S. insurance industry and identify potential regulatory gaps that could contribute to systemic risk.
The FIO has a particular role in connection with international insurance matters. The FIO represents the U.S. at the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (“IAIS”); in 2016, the FIO participated in IAIS’s Financial Stability Committee and joined IAIS’s Executive Committee. The Dodd-Frank Act authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury and U.S. Trade Representative to enter into international agreements of mutual recognition regarding the prudential regulation of insurance or reinsurance (a “Covered Agreement”). On January 13, 2017, the U.S. Department of Treasury and the U.S. Trade Representative notified the U.S. Congress, as required under the Dodd-Frank Act, that they had successfully negotiated a Covered Agreement with the European Union (“EU”). The Covered Agreement addresses three areas of insurance regulation: reinsurance, group supervision, and the exchange of information between insurance supervisors. The Covered Agreement, if it comes into force, would eliminate reinsurance collateral requirements in the U.S. for a reinsurer domiciled in the EU (and likewise in the EU for a reinsurer domiciled in the U.S.) if such reinsurer meets certain specified minimum criteria. The Covered Agreement would also prevent U.S. states and EU countries from maintaining or adopting any new requirements with substantially the same impact on a reinsurer as the collateral requirements eliminated under the Covered Agreement. "Local presence" requirements for reinsurers from the U.S. or EU operating in the other party's territory would also be eliminated. With respect to group supervision, a U.S. or EU insurance or reinsurance group would be subject to worldwide group supervision (including governance, solvency and capital, and reporting) in the jurisdiction where the ultimate/worldwide parent has its head office or is domiciled. However, if the insurance group also operates in the territory of the other party to the Covered Agreement, then a regulator in a jurisdiction in the other party could exercise authority over an insurance or reinsurance group, but only at the level of the parent holding company located in its jurisdiction and not on a worldwide level, subject to certain exceptions. With respect to the exchange of information between insurance supervisors, the Covered Agreement includes a provision that encourages insurance supervisory authorities in the U.S. and the EU to cooperate in exchanging supervisory information.
Under the Dodd-Frank Act, ninety days following the date it is submitted to the U.S. Congress, the Covered Agreement may enter into force. On the EU side, the European Council and the European Parliament must each adopt decisions approving the Covered Agreement before it can come into force. The Covered Agreement sets out, on a provision-by-provision basis, time frames for implementation. However, there is no guarantee that the Covered Agreement will come into force or that cedants will be willing to accept reduced collateral requirements.

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The FIO is required to report to Congress annually on the insurance industry and any preemption actions regarding any Covered Agreement.
On December 12, 2013, the FIO delivered a report to Congress on how to modernize and improve the system of insurance regulation in the U.S. The report recommended that, in the short term, the U.S. system of insurance regulation can be modernized through state-based improvements combined with certain federal actions. The report identified areas for direct federal involvement in international standard setting, the FIO participation in supervisory colleges which monitor the regulation of large national and internationally active insurance groups and federal pursuit of international covered agreements to afford nationally uniform treatment of reinsurance collateral requirements. The report also made several recommendations for state reform of insurance regulation including changes to the state regulation of insurance company solvency, group supervision and corporate governance. The FIO report stated that the system of U.S. insurance regulation can be modernized and improved in the short-term, while warning that if the states do not act in the near term to effectively regulate matters on a consistent and cooperative basis, in the FIO’s view there will be a greater role for federal regulation of insurance.
The FIO also can recommend to the FSOC that it designate an insurer as an entity posing risks to the United States' financial stability in the event of the insurer's material financial distress or failure, i.e., a "systemically important financial institution." An insurer so designated by FSOC will be subject to Federal Reserve supervision and heightened prudential standards. As of December 31, 2016, two insurance groups are subject to this supervision and heightened standards. Based upon our current business model and balance sheet, we do not believe that we will be designated by the FSOC as such an institution. Although the potential impacts of the Dodd-Frank Act on the U. S. insurance industry are not clear, our business could be affected by changes to the U.S. system of insurance regulation or our designation or the designation of insurers or reinsurers with which we do business as systemically important non-bank financial companies.
International Regulation
Our insurance subsidiaries based in the United Kingdom are regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority ("PRA") and the Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA"). The PRA's primary objectives with regard to insurers are to promote the safety and soundness of insurers and to contribute to the securing of an appropriate degree of protection for current and future policyholders, while the FCA has three operational objectives: (i) to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers, (ii) to protect and enhance the integrity of the United Kingdom financial system, and (iii) to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers in the financial services markets. The PRA and FCA employ a variety of regulatory tools to achieve their objectives, including periodic auditing and reporting requirements, risk assessment reviews, minimum solvency margins and individual capital assessment requirements, dividend restrictions, in certain cases, approval requirements governing the appointment of key officers, approval requirements governing controlling ownership interests and various other requirements. Our Lloyd's managing agency is also regulated by the PRA, FCA and Lloyd's, and the Lloyd's syndicate business is subject to Lloyd's supervision. Through Lloyd's, we are licensed to write business in various countries throughout the world by virtue of Lloyd's international licenses. In each such country, we are subject to the laws and insurance regulation of that country. Additionally, PRA and FCA regulations also impact us as “controller” (a PRA/FCA defined term) of our U.K.-regulated subsidiaries, whereby we are required to notify the PRA/FCA about significant events relating to the U.K.-regulated subsidiaries' controllers (i.e. persons or entities which have certain levels of direct or indirect voting power or economic interests in the regulated entities) as well as changes of control, and to submit an annual report regarding their controllers. As well, the PRA/FCA's Senior Insurance Managers Regime provides a regulatory framework for standards of fitness and propriety, conduct and accountability to be applied to individuals in positions of responsibility at insurers. In addition, certain employees are individually registered at Lloyd's.
In the European Union, a new insurance regulatory regime governing, among other things, capital adequacy and risk management called “Solvency II” became effective on January 1, 2016. Lloyd’s applies a  capital adequacy test to all Lloyd’s syndicates, including our syndicate, that is based on Solvency II principles. Solvency II provides for the supervision of group solvency. Under Solvency II, it is possible that the U.S. parent of a European Union subsidiary could be subject to certain Solvency II requirements if the U.S. company is not already subject to regulations deemed “equivalent” to Solvency II. Currently, the U.S. system of insurance regulation relating to group supervision is not deemed "equivalent" to Solvency II by European Union authorities. However, we have received a waiver from the PRA, subject to conditions, with respect to the PRA's supervision of our group, which waives the requirement on us to maintain a group solvency capital requirement as calculated under Solvency II rules. The Covered Agreement also prohibits any EU supervisor from exercising group-wide supervision at any level above the highest company organized in the country of that supervisor.
Our international underwriting subsidiaries are also subject to varying degrees of regulation in certain countries in Mexico, Scandinavia, Continental Europe, South America, Australia, Southeast Asia and Canada. Generally, our subsidiaries must satisfy local regulatory requirements. While each country imposes licensing, solvency, auditing and financial reporting requirements, the type and extent of the requirements differ substantially. Key areas where country regulations may differ include: (i) the type of financial reports to be filed; (ii) a requirement to use local intermediaries; (iii) the amount of reinsurance

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permissible; (iv) the scope of any regulation of policy forms and rates; and (v) the type and frequency of regulatory examinations.
Competition 
The property casualty insurance and reinsurance businesses are highly competitive, with many insurance companies of various sizes, as well as other entities offering risk alternatives such as self-insured retentions or captive programs, transacting business in the United States and internationally. We compete directly with a large number of these companies. Competition in our industry is largely measured by the ability to provide insurance and services at a price and on terms that are reasonable and acceptable to the customer. Our strategy in this highly fragmented industry is to seek specialized areas or geographic regions where our insurance subsidiaries can gain a competitive advantage by responding quickly to changing market conditions. Our subsidiaries establish their own pricing practices based upon a Company-wide philosophy to price products with the intent of making an underwriting profit. Although insurance prices have generally increased for most lines of business since 2011, the rate of increase has declined in more recent years. That decline accelerated in 2016. Loss costs have also increased over that period of time. With the low level of interest rates available, current price levels for certain lines of business remain below the prices required for the Company to achieve its long-term return objectives.
Competition for the Insurance business within the United States comes from other specialty insurers, regional carriers, large national multi-line companies and reinsurers. Our specialty operating units compete with excess and surplus insurers as well as standard carriers. Other regional units compete with mutual and other regional stock companies as well as national carriers. Additionally, direct writers of property casualty insurance compete with our regional units by writing insurance through their salaried employees, generally at a lower acquisition cost than through independent agents such as those used by the Company. Our Insurance operations compete internationally with native insurance operations both large and small, which in some cases are related to government entities, as well as with branches or local subsidiaries of multinational companies.
Competition for the Reinsurance business, which is especially strong, comes from domestic and foreign reinsurers, which produce their business either on a direct basis or through the broker market. These competitors include Swiss Re, Munich Re, Berkshire Hathaway, Transatlantic Reinsurance, Partner Re and others.
In recent years, various institutional investors have increasingly sought to participate in the property and casualty insurance and reinsurance industries. Well-capitalized new entrants to the property and casualty insurance and reinsurance industries, or existing competitors that receive substantial infusions of capital, provide increasing competition, which may adversely impact our business and profitability. Further, an expanded supply of reinsurance capital may lower costs for insurers that rely on reinsurance and, as a consequence, those insurers may be able to price their products more competitively.
Additionally, competition from insurers and reinsurers based in tax-advantaged jurisdictions continues to increase, including from domestic-based subsidiaries of foreign-based entities in the excess and surplus lines businesses.
Employees 
As of January 31, 2017, we employed 7,683 individuals. Of this number, our subsidiaries employed 7,536 persons and the remaining persons were employed at the parent company.
Other Information about the Company's Business
We maintain an interest in the acquisition and startup of complementary businesses and continue to evaluate possible acquisitions and new ventures on an ongoing basis. In addition, our insurance subsidiaries develop new coverages or lines of business to meet the needs of insureds.
Seasonal weather variations and other events affect the severity and frequency of losses sustained by the insurance and reinsurance subsidiaries. Although the effect on our business of catastrophes such as tornadoes, hurricanes, hailstorms, earthquakes and terrorist acts may be mitigated by reinsurance, they nevertheless can have a significant impact on the results of any one or more reporting periods. 
We have no customer that accounts for 10 percent or more of our consolidated revenues.
Compliance by W. R. Berkley and its subsidiaries with federal, state and local provisions that have been enacted or adopted regulating the discharge of materials into the environment, or otherwise relating to protection of the environment, has not had a material effect upon our capital expenditures, earnings or competitive position.
The Company's internet address is www.wrberkley.com. The information on our website is not incorporated by reference in this annual report on Form 10-K. The Company's annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act and other reports filed by us or with respect to our securities by others are accessible free of charge through this website as soon as reasonably practicable after they have been electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC.

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ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
 Our businesses face significant risks. If any of the events or circumstances described as risks below occur, our businesses, results of operations and/or financial condition could be materially and adversely affected. In addition to those described below, our businesses may also be adversely affected by risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently consider immaterial.
Risks Relating to Our Industry 
Our results may fluctuate as a result of many factors, including cyclical changes in the insurance and reinsurance industry.
The results of companies in the property casualty insurance industry historically have been subject to significant fluctuations and uncertainties in demand and pricing, causing cyclical changes in the insurance and reinsurance industry. The demand for insurance is influenced primarily by general economic conditions, while the supply of insurance is often directly related to available capacity or the perceived profitability of the business. In recent years, we have faced increased competition in our business, as a result of new entrants and existing insurers seeking to gain market share, resulting in decreased premium rates and less favorable contract terms and conditions for certain lines of business. The adequacy of premium rates is affected mainly by the severity and frequency of claims, which are influenced by many factors, including natural disasters, regulatory measures and court decisions that define and expand the extent of coverage and the effects of economic inflation on the amount of compensation due for injuries or losses. In addition, investment rates of return have impacted rate adequacy, with interest rates remaining at historic lows. These factors can have a significant impact on ultimate profitability because a property casualty insurance policy is priced before its costs are known as premiums usually are determined long before claims are reported. These factors could produce results that would have a negative impact on our results of operations and financial condition.
We face significant competitive pressures in our businesses, which have reduced premium rates in certain areas and could harm our ability to maintain or increase our profitability and premium volume. 
We compete with a large number of other companies in our selected lines of business. We compete, and will continue to compete, with major U.S. and non-U.S. insurers and reinsurers, other regional companies, as well as mutual companies, specialty insurance companies, underwriting agencies and diversified financial services companies. Competitiveness in our businesses is based on many factors, including premium charges, ratings assigned by independent rating agencies, commissions paid to producers, the perceived financial strength of the company, other terms and conditions offered, services provided (including ease of doing business over the internet), speed of claims payment and reputation and experience in the lines to be written. In recent years, the insurance industry has undergone increasing consolidation, which may further increase competition.
Some of our competitors, particularly in the Reinsurance business, have greater financial and/or marketing resources than we do. These competitors within the reinsurance segment include Swiss Re, Munich Re, Berkshire Hathaway, Transatlantic Reinsurance, and Partner Re. We expect that perceived financial strength, in particular, will become more important as customers seek high quality reinsurers. Certain of our competitors operate from Bermuda or other tax advantaged or less regulated jurisdictions that may provide them with additional competitive and pricing advantages.
Over the past several years, we have faced increased competition in our business, as increased supply has led to reduced prices and, at times, less favorable terms and conditions. Our specialty operating units have also encountered competition from admitted companies seeking to increase market share. Although insurance prices have generally increased for most lines of business since 2011, the rate of increase has declined in more recent years. That decline accelerated in 2016. Loss costs have also increased over that period of time. With the low level of interest rates available, current price levels for certain lines of business remain below the prices required for us to achieve our long-term return objectives. We expect to continue to face strong competition in these and our other lines of business and as a result pressure on pricing and policy terms and conditions.
In recent years, various institutional investors have increasingly sought to participate in the property and casualty insurance and reinsurance industries. Well-capitalized new entrants to the property and casualty insurance and reinsurance industries, or existing competitors that receive substantial infusions of capital, provide increasing competition, which may adversely impact our business and profitability. Further, an expanded supply of reinsurance capital may lower costs for insurers that rely on reinsurance and, as a consequence, those insurers may be able to price their products more competitively.  
This intense competition could cause the supply and/or demand for insurance or reinsurance to change, which affect our ability to price our products at attractive rates and retain existing business or write new products at adequate rates or on terms and conditions acceptable to us. If we are unable to retain existing business or write new business at adequate rates or on terms and conditions acceptable to us, our results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

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Our actual claims losses may exceed our reserves for claims, which may require us to establish additional reserves. 
Our gross reserves for losses and loss expenses were approximately $11.2 billion as of December 31, 2016. Our loss reserves reflect our best estimates of the cost of settling claims and related expenses with respect to insured events that have occurred. 
Reserves do not represent an exact calculation of liability. Rather, reserves represent an estimate of what management expects the ultimate settlement and claims administration will cost for claims that have occurred, whether known or unknown. The major assumptions about anticipated loss emergence patterns are subject to unanticipated fluctuation. These estimates, which generally involve actuarial projections, are based on management's assessment of facts and circumstances then known, as well as estimates of future trends in claims severity and frequency, inflation, judicial theories of liability, reinsurance coverage, legislative changes and other factors, including the actions of third parties, which are beyond our control. 
The inherent uncertainties of estimating reserves are greater for certain types of liabilities, where long periods of time elapse before a definitive determination of liability is made and settlement is reached. In periods with increased economic volatility, it becomes more difficult to accurately predict claim costs. It is especially difficult to estimate the impact of inflation on loss reserves given the current economic environment and related government actions. Both inflation overall and medical cost inflation, which has historically been greater than inflation overall, can have an adverse impact.
Reserve estimates are continually refined in an ongoing process as experience develops and further claims are reported and settled. Adjustments to reserves are reflected in the results of the periods in which such estimates are changed. Because setting reserves is inherently uncertain, we cannot assure that our current reserves will prove adequate in light of subsequent events. Should we need to increase our reserves, our pre-tax income for the reporting period would decrease by a corresponding amount. 
We discount our reserves for excess and assumed workers' compensation business because of the long period of time over which losses are paid. Discounting is intended to appropriately match losses and loss expenses to income earned on investment securities supporting liabilities. The expected loss and loss expense payout pattern subject to discounting is derived from our loss payout experience. Changes in the loss and loss expense payout pattern are recorded in the period they are determined. If the actual loss payout pattern is shorter than anticipated, the discount will be reduced and pre-tax income will decrease by a corresponding amount.
The effects of emerging claim and coverage issues on our business are uncertain.    
As industry practices and economic, legal, judicial, social and other environmental conditions change, unexpected and unintended issues related to claim and coverage may emerge. These issues may adversely affect our business by either extending coverage beyond our underwriting intent or by increasing the number or size of claims. Examples of emerging claims and coverage issues include, but are not limited to:
judicial expansion of policy coverage and the impact of new theories of liability;
plaintiffs targeting property and casualty insurers, including us, in purported class action litigation relating to claims-
handling and other practices;
medical developments that link health issues to particular causes, resulting in liability claims;
claims relating to unanticipated consequences of current or new technologies, including cyber security related risks;
and
claims relating to potentially changing climate conditions.
In some instances, these emerging issues may not become apparent for some time after we have issued the affected insurance policies. As a result, the full extent of liability under our insurance policies may not be known until many years after the policies are issued.
In addition, the potential passage of new legislation designed to expand the right to sue, to remove limitations on recovery, to extend the statutes of limitations or otherwise to repeal or weaken tort reforms could have an adverse impact on our business.
The effects of these and other unforeseen emerging claim and coverage issues are difficult to predict and could harm our business and materially and adversely affect our results of operations.
As a property casualty insurer, we face losses from natural and man-made catastrophes. 
Property casualty insurers are subject to claims arising out of catastrophes that may have a significant effect on their results of operations, liquidity and financial condition. Catastrophe losses have had a significant impact on our results. For

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example, catastrophe losses net of reinsurance recoveries were $105 million in 2016, $58 million in 2015, $87 million in 2014, $65 million in 2013 and $80 million in 2012. Similarly, man-made catastrophes can also have a material impact on our financial results.
 Catastrophes can be caused by various events, including hurricanes, windstorms, earthquakes, tsunamis, hailstorms, explosions, severe winter weather and fires, as well as terrorist and other man-made activities, including drilling, mining and other industrial accidents or terrorist activities. The incidence and severity of catastrophes are inherently unpredictable. The extent of losses from a catastrophe is a function of both the total amount of insured exposure in the area affected by the event and the severity of the event. Some catastrophes are restricted to small geographic areas; however, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and other disasters may produce significant damage in large, heavily populated areas. Catastrophes can cause losses in a variety of our property and casualty lines, and most of our past catastrophe-related claims have resulted from severe storms. Seasonal weather variations or the impact of climate change may affect the severity and frequency of our losses. Insurance companies are not permitted to reserve for a catastrophe until it has occurred. It is therefore possible that a catastrophic event or multiple catastrophic events could produce significant losses and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
Changing climate conditions may adversely affect our financial condition or profitability.    
There is an emerging scientific view that the earth is getting warmer. Climate change, to the extent it produces rising temperatures and changes in weather patterns, may affect the frequency and severity of storms and other weather events as well as the affordability, availability and underwriting results of various types of commercial insurance, and, if frequency and severity patterns increase, could negatively affect our financial results.
Conditions in the financial markets and the global economy have had and may continue to have a negative impact on our results of operations and financial condition.
The significant volatility and uncertainty experienced in financial markets around the world during the past several years and the effect of the economic downturn have continued. Although the U.S. and various foreign governments have taken various actions to try to stabilize the financial markets, the ultimate effectiveness of such actions remains unclear. Therefore, volatility and uncertainty in the financial markets and the resulting negative economic impact may continue for some time. For example, financial markets have been affected by concerns over U.S. fiscal policy as well as the related concern regarding the need to reduce the federal deficit. These issues, together with the slowing of the global economy generally, could send the U.S. into a new recession, further exacerbate concerns over sovereign debt of other countries and disrupt economic activity in the U.S. and elsewhere. Similarly, concerns about the solvency of certain European Union member states, and of financial institutions that have significant direct or indirect exposure to debt issued by them, has created market volatility that continues to affect the performance of various asset classes, and likely will continue until there is an ultimate resolution of these sovereign debt related concerns.  
While we monitor conditions in the financial markets, we cannot predict future conditions or their impact on our results of operations and financial condition. Depending on conditions in the financial markets, we could incur additional realized and unrealized losses in our investment portfolio in future periods, and financial market volatility and uncertainty and an economic downturn could have a significant negative impact on third parties that we do business with, including insureds and reinsurers. 
We, as a primary insurer, may have significant exposure for terrorist acts. 
To the extent an act of terrorism, whether a domestic or foreign act, is certified by the Secretary of Treasury, we may be covered under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015 (“TRIPRA”), for up to 84% of our losses for certain property/casualty lines of insurance. However, any such coverage would be subject to a mandatory deductible based on 20% of earned premium for the prior year for the covered lines of commercial property and casualty insurance. Based on our 2016 earned premiums, our aggregate deductible under TRIPRA during 2017 is approximately $915 million. TRIPRA is currently in effect through December 31, 2020. In addition, the coverage provided under TRIPRA does not apply to reinsurance that we write.  
We are subject to extensive governmental regulation, which increases our costs and could restrict the conduct of our business. 
We are subject to extensive governmental regulation and supervision in both the United States and foreign jurisdictions. Most insurance regulations are designed to protect the interests of policyholders rather than stockholders and other investors. This system of regulation, generally administered in the United States by a department of insurance in each state in which we do business, relates to, among other things:
standards of solvency, including risk-based capital measurements;
restrictions on the nature, quality and concentration of investments;

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requirements pertaining to certain methods of accounting;
evaluating enterprise risk to an insurer;
rate and form regulation pertaining to certain of our insurance businesses; 
potential assessments for the provision of funds necessary for the settlement of covered claims under certain policies provided by impaired, insolvent or failed insurance companies; and
involvement in the payment or adjudication of catastrophe or other claims beyond the terms of the policies.
State insurance departments conduct periodic examinations of the affairs of insurance companies and require the filing of annual and other reports relating to the financial condition of insurance companies, holding company issues and other matters. Our Insurance business internationally is also generally subject to a similar regulatory scheme in each of the jurisdictions where we conduct operations outside the United States.
Federal financial services modernization legislation and legislative and regulatory initiatives taken or which may be taken in response to the current conditions in the financial markets and the recent economic downturn may lead to additional federal regulation of the insurance industry in the coming years.
The Dodd-Frank Act effected sweeping changes to financial services regulation in the United States. The Dodd-Frank Act established the Financial Stability Oversight Council (“FSOC”), which is authorized to recommend that certain systemically significant non-bank financial companies, including insurance companies, be regulated by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. The Dodd-Frank Act also established a Federal Insurance Office (“FIO”) which is authorized to study, monitor and report to Congress on the U.S. insurance industry and the significance of global reinsurance to the U.S. insurance market. The FIO also can recommend to the FSOC that it designate an insurer as an entity posing risks to the United States financial stability in the event of the insurer's material financial distress or failure. The potential impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on the U.S. insurance business is not clear. Our business could be affected by changes, whether as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act or otherwise, to the U.S. system of insurance regulation or our designation or the designation of insurers or reinsurers with which we do business as systemically significant non-bank financial companies.
Three non-bank financial companies, including two insurance groups, are subject to Federal Reserve supervision and heightened prudential standards, as systematically significant financial institutions.
The new U.S. administration and the majority party have expressed the desire to dismantle or roll back the Dodd-Frank Act, which may present risks to our business. For example, in 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Financial CHOICE Act of 2016, which proposed to roll back provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act affecting insurance. While the Financial CHOICE Act was not passed by the Senate, it is likely that the Act or another Dodd-Frank “roll back” bill affecting the insurance business will be introduced. We are not able to predict whether any such proposal to roll back the Dodd-Frank Act would have a material effect on our business operations and cannot identify the risks, if any, that may be posed to our businesses as a result of changes to, or legislative replacements for, the Dodd-Frank Act.
Although state regulation is the primary form of regulation of insurance and reinsurance in the United States, in addition to the changes brought about by the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress has considered various proposals relating to the creation of an optional federal charter, repeal of the insurance company antitrust exemption from the McCarran-Ferguson Act, and tax law changes. We may be subject to potentially increased federal oversight as a financial institution.  In addition, the results of the recent U.S. presidential and congressional elections may increase the chance of other federal legislative and regulatory changes that could affect us in ways we cannot predict.
With respect to international measures, Solvency II, the EU directive concerning the capital adequacy, risk management and regulatory reporting for insurers and reinsurers may affect our insurance businesses. Implementation of Solvency II in EU member states occurred on January 1, 2016, and may require us to utilize a significant amount of resources to ensure compliance. In addition, despite the waiver of the Solvency II group capital requirements we received, Solvency II may have the effect of increasing the capital requirements of our EU domiciled insurers. Additionally, our capital requirements and compliance requirements may be adversely affected if the EU commission finds that the insurance regulatory regimes of the jurisdictions outside the EU in which we have insurance or reinsurance companies domiciled are not "equivalent" to the requirements of Solvency II.
We may be unable to maintain all required licenses and approvals and our business may not fully comply with the wide variety of applicable laws and regulations or the relevant authority's interpretation of the laws and regulations. Also, some regulatory authorities have relatively broad discretion to grant, renew or revoke licenses and approvals. If we do not have the requisite licenses and approvals or do not comply with applicable regulatory requirements, the insurance regulatory authorities could preclude or temporarily suspend us from carrying on some or all of our activities or monetarily penalize us. Also, changes in the level of regulation of the insurance industry, whether federal, state or foreign, or changes in laws or regulations themselves or interpretations by regulatory authorities, may further restrict the conduct of our business. 

21



Risks Relating to Our Business
 Our international operations expose us to investment, political and economic risks, including foreign currency and credit risk.
Our expanding international operations in the United Kingdom, Continental Europe, South America, Canada, Mexico, Scandinavia, the Asia-Pacific region, Africa and Australia expose us to increased investment, political and economic risks, including foreign currency and credit risk. Changes in the value of the U.S. dollar relative to other currencies could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. 
Our investments in non-U.S.-denominated assets are subject to fluctuations in non-U.S. securities and currency markets, and those markets can be volatile. Non-U.S. currency fluctuations also affect the value of any dividends paid by our non-U.S. subsidiaries to their parent companies in the U.S.
The vote by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union ("EU") could adversely affect our business.
The 2016 U.K. referendum on its membership in the EU resulted in a majority of U.K. voters voting in favor of the U.K. exiting the EU (“Brexit”). As a result of this vote, negotiations are commencing to determine the terms of the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU and its future relationship with the EU. As a result, we face risks associated with the potential uncertainty and consequences related to the vote and Brexit, including with respect to volatility in financial markets, exchange rates and interest rates. These uncertainties could increase the volatility of, or reduce, our investment results in particular periods or over time. Brexit could adversely affect European or worldwide political, regulatory, economic or market conditions and could contribute to instability in political institutions and regulatory agencies. Brexit could also lead to legal uncertainty and differing laws and regulations between the U.K. and the EU. Any of these potential effects, and others we cannot anticipate, could adversely affect our results of operations or financial condition.
We may be unable to attract and retain key personnel and qualified employees.
We depend on our ability to attract and retain key personnel, including our Executive Chairman, our President and CEO, senior executive officers, presidents of our operating units, experienced underwriters and other skilled employees who are knowledgeable about our business. If the quality of our underwriting team and other personnel decreases, we may be unable to maintain our current competitive position in the specialized markets in which we operate, and be unable to expand our operations into new markets.
We cannot guarantee that our reinsurers will pay in a timely fashion, if at all, and, as a result, we could experience losses. 
We purchase reinsurance by transferring part of the risk that we have assumed, known as ceding, to a reinsurance company in exchange for part of the premium we receive in connection with the risk. Although reinsurance makes the reinsurer contractually liable to us to the extent the risk is transferred or ceded to the reinsurer, it does not relieve us, the reinsured, of our liability to our policyholders. Our reinsurers may not pay the reinsurance recoverables that they owe to us or they may not pay such recoverables on a timely basis. Accordingly, we bear credit risk with respect to our reinsurers, and if our reinsurers fail to pay us, our financial results would be adversely affected. Underwriting results and investment returns of some of our reinsurers may affect their future ability to pay claims. As of December 31, 2016, the amount due from our reinsurers was approximately $1,744 million, including amounts due from state funds and industry pools where it was intended that we would bear no risk. Certain of these amounts due from reinsurers are secured by letters of credit or by funds held in trust on our behalf.
We are subject to credit risk relating to our policyholders, independent agents and brokers.   
In addition to exposure to credit risk related to our reinsurance recoverables and investment portfolio, we are exposed to credit risk in several other areas of our business, including credit risk relating to policyholders, independent agents and brokers. For example our policyholders, independent agents or brokers may not pay a part of or the full amount of premiums owed to us or our brokers or other third party claim administrators may not deliver amounts owed on claims under our insurance and reinsurance contracts for which we have provided funds.
As credit risk is generally a function of the economy, we face a greater credit risk in an economic downturn. While we attempt to manage credit risks through underwriting guidelines, collateral requirements and other oversight mechanisms, our efforts may not be successful. For example, to reduce such credit risk, we require certain third parties to post collateral for some or all of their obligations to us. In cases where we receive pledged securities and the applicable counterparty is unable to honor its obligations, we may be exposed to credit risk on the securities pledged and/or the risk that our access to that collateral may be stayed as a result of bankruptcy. In cases where we receive letters of credit from banks as collateral and one of our counterparties is unable to honor its obligations, we are exposed to the credit risk of the banks that issued the letters of credit.


22



We are rated by A.M. Best, Standard & Poor's, and Moody's, and a decline in these ratings could affect our standing in the insurance industry and cause our sales and earnings to decrease.
Ratings have become an increasingly important factor in establishing the competitive position of insurance companies. Certain of our insurance company subsidiaries are rated by A.M. Best, Standard & Poor's and Moody's. Our ratings are subject to periodic review, and we cannot assure you that we will be able to retain our current or any future ratings.
If our ratings are reduced from their current levels by A.M. Best, Standard & Poor's or Moody's, our competitive position in the insurance industry could suffer and it would be more difficult for us to market our products. A ratings downgrade could also adversely limit our access to capital markets, which may increase the cost of debt. A significant downgrade could result in a substantial loss of business as policyholders move to other companies with higher claims-paying and financial strength ratings.
If market conditions cause reinsurance to be more costly or unavailable, we may be required to bear increased risks or reduce the level of our underwriting commitments.
As part of our overall risk and capacity management strategy, we purchase reinsurance for certain amounts of risk underwritten by our insurance company subsidiaries, especially catastrophe risks and those risks with relatively high policy limits. We also purchase reinsurance on risks underwritten by others which we reinsure. Market conditions beyond our control determine the availability and cost of the reinsurance protection we seek to purchase, which may affect the level of our business and profitability. Our reinsurance contracts are generally subject to annual renewal, and we may be unable to maintain our current reinsurance contracts or to obtain other reinsurance contracts in adequate amounts and at favorable rates. In addition, we may be unable to obtain reinsurance on terms acceptable to us relating to certain lines of business that we intend to begin writing. If we are unable to renew our expiring contracts or to obtain new reinsurance contracts, either our net exposures would increase or, if we are unwilling to bear an increase in net exposures, we would have to reduce the level of our underwriting commitments, especially catastrophe exposed risks.
Depending on conditions in the financial markets and the general economy, we may be unable to raise debt or equity capital if needed.
If conditions in the financial markets and the general economy are unfavorable, which may result from disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in the capital and credit markets, we may be unable to access debt or equity capital on acceptable terms if needed, which could have a negative impact on our ability to invest in our insurance company subsidiaries and/or to take advantage of opportunities to expand our business, such as possible acquisitions and the creation of new ventures, and inhibit our ability to refinance our existing indebtedness if we desire to do so, on terms acceptable to us.
We may not find suitable acquisition candidates or new insurance ventures and even if we do, we may not successfully integrate any such acquired companies or successfully invest in such ventures.
As part of our present strategy, we continue to evaluate possible acquisition transactions and the start-up of complementary businesses on an ongoing basis, and at any given time we may be engaged in discussions with respect to possible acquisitions and new ventures. We cannot assure you that we will be able to identify suitable acquisition targets or insurance ventures, that such transactions will be financed and completed on acceptable terms or that our future acquisitions or start-up ventures will be successful. The process of integrating any companies we do acquire or investing in new ventures may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
If we experience difficulties with our information technology, telecommunications or other computer systems, our ability to conduct our business could be negatively or severely impacted.    
Our business is highly dependent upon our employees' ability to perform necessary business functions in an efficient and uninterrupted fashion. A shut-down of, or inability to access, one or more of our facilities, a power outage or a failure of one or more of our information technology, telecommunications or other computer systems could significantly impair our employees' ability to perform such functions on a timely basis. In the event of a disaster such as a natural catastrophe, terrorist attack or industrial accident, or the infection of our systems by a malicious computer virus, our systems could be inaccessible for an extended period of time. In addition, because our information technology and telecommunications systems interface with and depend on third-party systems, we could experience service denials or failures of controls if demand for our service exceeds capacity or a third-party system fails or experiences an interruption. If our business continuity plans or system security does not sufficiently address such a business interruption, system failure or service denial, our ability to write and process new and renewal business, provide customer service, pay claims in a timely manner or perform other necessary business functions could be significantly impaired and our business could be harmed.



23



Failure to maintain the security of our networks and confidential data may expose us to liability.
Our operations rely on the secure processing, storage and transmission of confidential and other information in our computer systems and networks. Computer viruses, hackers, employee misconduct and other external hazards could expose our data systems to security breaches. In addition, we routinely transmit and receive personal, confidential and proprietary information by email and other electronic means. Our outsourcing of certain technology and business process functions to third parties may expose us to enhanced risk related to data security. While we attempt to develop secure data transmission capabilities with these third-party vendors and others with whom we do business, we may be unable to put in place such secure capabilities with all of such vendors and third parties and, in addition, these third parties may not have appropriate controls in place to protect the confidentiality of the sensitive information being transferred. Our failure to protect sensitive personal and our proprietary information, whether owing to breaches of our own systems or those of our vendors, could result in significant monetary and reputational damages. These increased risks, and expanding regulatory requirements regarding data security, could expose us to data loss, monetary and reputational damages and significant increases in compliance costs. As a result, our ability to conduct our business could be materially and adversely affected.
We could be adversely affected if our controls to ensure compliance with guidelines, policies and legal and regulatory standards are not effective.    
Our business is highly dependent on our ability to engage on a daily basis in a large number of insurance underwriting, claim processing and investment activities, many of which are highly complex. These activities often are subject to internal guidelines and policies, as well as legal and regulatory standards, including those related to privacy, anti-corruption, anti-bribery and global finance and insurance matters. Our continued expansion into new international markets has brought about additional requirements. A control system, no matter how well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable assurance that the control system's objectives will be met. If our controls are not effective, it could lead to financial loss, unanticipated risk exposure (including underwriting, credit and investment risk) or damage to our reputation.
Risks Relating to Our Investments 
A significant amount of our assets is invested in fixed maturity securities and is subject to market fluctuations. 
Our investment portfolio consists substantially of fixed maturity securities. As of December 31, 2016, our investment in fixed maturity securities was approximately $13.2 billion, or 75.6% of our total investment portfolio, including cash and cash equivalents. As of that date, our portfolio of fixed maturity securities consisted of the following types of securities: U.S. Government securities (3.9%); state and municipal securities (34.8%); corporate securities (30.8%); asset-backed securities (14.5%); mortgage-backed securities (9.1%) and foreign government (6.9%). 
The fair value of these assets and the investment income from these assets fluctuate depending on general economic and market conditions. The fair value of fixed maturity securities generally decreases as interest rates rise. If significant inflation or an increase in interest rates were to occur, the fair value of our fixed maturity securities would be negatively impacted. Conversely, if interest rates decline, investment income earned from future investments in fixed maturity securities will be lower. Some fixed maturity securities, such as mortgage-backed and other asset-backed securities, also carry prepayment risk as a result of interest rate fluctuations. Additionally, given the historically low interest rate environment, we may not be able to successfully reinvest the proceeds from maturing securities at yields commensurate with our target performance goals. 
The value of investments in fixed maturity securities is subject to impairment as a result of deterioration in the credit worthiness of the issuer, default by the issuer (including states and municipalities) in the performance of its obligations in respect of the securities and/or increases in market interest rates. To a large degree, the credit risk we face is a function of the economy; accordingly, we face a greater risk in an economic downturn or recession. During periods of market disruption, it may be difficult to value certain of our securities, particularly if trading becomes less frequent and/or market data becomes less observable. There may be certain asset classes that were in active markets with significant observable data that become illiquid due to the current financial environment. In such cases, more securities may require additional subjectivity and management judgment.
Although the historical rates of default on state and municipal securities have been relatively low, our state and municipal fixed maturity securities could be subject to a higher risk of default or impairment due to declining municipal tax bases and revenue. The economic downturn has resulted in many states and municipalities operating under deficits or projected deficits, the severity and duration of which could have an adverse impact on both the valuation of our state and municipal fixed maturity securities and the issuer's ability to perform its obligations thereunder. Additionally, our investments are subject to losses as a result of a general decrease in commercial and economic activity for an industry sector in which we invest, as well as risks inherent in particular securities. 

24



Although we attempt to manage these risks through the use of investment guidelines and other oversight mechanisms and by diversifying our portfolio and emphasizing preservation of principal, our efforts may not be successful. Impairments, defaults and/or rate increases could reduce our net investment income and net realized investment gains or result in investment losses. Investment returns are currently, and will likely continue to remain, under pressure due to the significant volatility experienced in the financial markets, economic uncertainty, more generally, and the shape of the yield curve. As a result, our exposure to the risks described above could materially and adversely affect our results of operations.
We have invested a portion of our assets in equity securities, merger arbitrage securities, investment funds, private equity, loans and real estate related assets, which are subject to significant volatility and may decline in value. 
We invest a portion of our investment portfolio in equity securities, merger arbitrage securities, investment funds, private equity, loans and real estate related assets. At December 31, 2016, our investment in these assets was approximately $3.5 billion, or 19.8%, of our investment portfolio, including cash and cash equivalents. 
Merger and arbitrage trading securities were $300 million, or 1.7% of our investment portfolio, including cash and cash equivalents at December 31, 2016. Merger arbitrage involves investing in the securities of publicly held companies that are the targets in announced tender offers and mergers. Merger arbitrage differs from other types of investments in its focus on transactions and events believed likely to bring about a change in value over a relatively short time period, usually four months or less. Our merger arbitrage positions are exposed to the risk associated with the completion of announced deals, which are subject to regulatory as well as political and other risks. 
Real estate related investments, including directly owned, investment funds and loans receivable, were $1.9 billion, or 11.1% of our investment portfolio, including cash and cash equivalents, at December 31, 2016. We also invest in aviation and rail equipment funds, hedged equity and energy and other investment funds. The values of these investments are subject to fluctuations based on changes in the economy and interest rates in general and the related asset valuations in particular. In addition, our investments in real estate related assets and other alternative investments are less liquid than our other investments. 
These investments are subject to significant volatility as a result of the conditions in the financial and commodity markets and the global economy.
Risks Relating to Purchasing Our Securities
We are an insurance holding company and, therefore, may not be able to receive dividends in needed amounts. 
As an insurance holding company, our principal assets are the shares of capital stock of our insurance company subsidiaries. We have to rely on dividends from our insurance company subsidiaries to meet our obligations for paying principal and interest on outstanding debt obligations, paying dividends to stockholders and repurchasing our shares and paying corporate expenses. The payment of dividends by our insurance company subsidiaries is subject to regulatory restrictions and will depend on the surplus and future earnings of these subsidiaries. During 2017, the maximum amount of dividends that can be paid without regulatory approval is approximately $580 million. As a result, in the future we may not be able to receive dividends from these subsidiaries at times and in amounts necessary to meet our obligations, pay dividends or repurchase shares.
Laws and regulations of the jurisdictions in which we conduct business could delay, deter or prevent an attempt to acquire control of us that stockholders might consider to be desirable, and may restrict a stockholder's ability to purchase our common stock.
Generally, United States insurance holding company laws require that, before a person can acquire control of an insurance company, prior written approval must be obtained from the insurance regulatory authorities in the state in which that insurance company is domiciled. Pursuant to applicable laws and regulations, “control” over an insurer is generally presumed to exist if any person, directly or indirectly, owns, controls, holds the power to vote, or holds proxies representing 10% or more of the voting securities of that insurer. Indirect ownership includes ownership of the shares of our common stock. Thus, the insurance regulatory authorities of the states in which our insurance subsidiaries are domiciled are likely to apply these restrictions on acquisition of control to any proposed acquisition of our common stock. Some states require a person seeking to acquire control of an insurer licensed but not domiciled in that state to make a filing prior to completing an acquisition if the acquirer and its affiliates, on the one hand, and the target insurer and its affiliates, on the other hand, have specified market shares in the same lines of insurance in that state. Additionally, many foreign jurisdictions where we conduct business impose similar restrictions and requirements.
While these provisions may not require acquisition approval, they can lead to the imposition of conditions on an acquisition that could delay or prevent its consummation. These laws may discourage potential acquisition proposals and may delay, deter or prevent a change in control of us through transactions, and in particular unsolicited transactions, that some or all of our stockholders might consider to be desirable. 

25



Certain provisions in our organizational documents may have the effect of hindering, delaying or preventing third party takeovers and thus may prevent our stockholders from receiving premium prices for their shares in an unsolicited takeover or make it more difficult for third parties to replace our current management.
Provisions of our Restated Certificate of Incorporation and By-Laws, as well as state insurance statutes, may hinder, delay or prevent unsolicited acquisitions or changes of our control. These provisions may also have the effect of making it more difficult for third parties to cause the replacement of our current management without the concurrence of our board of directors. 
These provisions include:
our classified board of directors and the ability of our board to increase its size and to appoint directors to fill newly created directorships;
the requirement that 80% of our stockholders must approve mergers and other transactions between us and the holder of 5% or more of our shares, unless the transaction was approved by our board of directors prior to such holder's acquisition of 5% of our shares; and
the need for advance notice in order to raise business or make nominations at stockholders' meetings.
These provisions may discourage potential acquisition proposals and may delay, deter or prevent a change in control of us through transactions, and in particular unsolicited transactions, that some or all of our stockholders might consider to be desirable.


ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

There are no unresolved written comments that were received from the SEC staff 180 days or more before the end of our fiscal year relating to our periodic or current reports under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.


ITEM 2. PROPERTIES

W. R. Berkley and its subsidiaries own or lease office buildings or office space suitable to conduct their operations. At December 31, 2016, the Company had aggregate office space of 3,840,380 square feet, of which 1,096,329 were owned and 2,744,051 were leased.

Rental expense for the Company's operations was approximately $47,453,000 $46,271,000 and $45,189,000 for 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively. Future minimum lease payments, without provision for sublease income, are $45,305,000 in 2017, $40,634,000 in 2018 and $199,459,000 thereafter.

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

The Company's subsidiaries are subject to disputes, including litigation and arbitration, arising in the ordinary course of their insurance and reinsurance businesses. The Company's estimates of the costs of settling such matters are reflected in its aggregate reserves for losses and loss expenses, and the Company does not believe that the ultimate outcome of such matters will have a material adverse effect on its financial condition or results of operations.

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.

26



PART II

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR THE REGISTRANT'S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
    
The common stock of the Company is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “WRB”.

 
Price Range
 
 
 
 
High
 
Low
 
Dividends Declared Per Share
 
2016:
 

 
 

 
 

 
Fourth Quarter
$
66.91

 
$
55.55

 
$
0.63

(1)
Third Quarter
60.08

 
56.12

 
0.63

(2)
Second Quarter
59.93

 
54.56

 
0.13

 
First Quarter
56.53

 
47.57

 
0.12

 
2015:
 

 
 

 
 

 
Fourth Quarter
$
57.27

 
$
52.36

 
$
0.12

 
Third Quarter
58.46

 
51.91

 
0.12

 
Second Quarter
53.40

 
48.72

 
0.12

 
First Quarter
51.78

 
47.45

 
0.11

 
_______________________
(1) Includes a special dividend of $0.50 per share paid in November 2016.
(2) Includes a special dividend of $0.50 per share paid in October 2016.
        
The closing price of the common stock on February 22, 2017 as reported on the New York Stock Exchange was $71.15 per share. The approximate number of record holders of the common stock on February 22, 2017 was 355.

Set forth below is a summary of the shares repurchased by the Company during the fourth quarter of 2016 and the remaining number of shares authorized for purchase by the Company during such period.
 
Total Number of
Shares Purchased

 
Average Price
Paid per Share

 
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs

 
Maximum Number of Shares that may yet be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs

October 2016
204,326

 
57.30

 
204,326

 
7,221,312

November 2016
370,226

 
56.22

 
370,226

 
6,851,086

December 2016

 

 

 
6,851,086


For equity compensation plan information, see Item 12 of this annual report on Form 10-K.

27



ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
 
Year Ended December 31,
(In thousands, except per share data)
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Net premiums written
$
6,423,913

 
$
6,189,515

 
$
5,996,947

 
$
5,500,173

 
$
4,898,539

Net premiums earned
6,293,348

 
6,040,609

 
5,744,418

 
5,226,537

 
4,673,516

Net investment income
564,163

 
512,645

 
600,885

 
544,291

 
586,763

Insurance service fees
138,944

 
139,440

 
117,443

 
107,513

 
103,133

Net investment gains
267,005

 
92,324

 
254,852

 
121,544

 
210,465

Revenues from non-insurance businesses
390,348

 
421,102

 
410,022

 
407,623

 
247,113

Total revenues
7,654,184

 
7,206,457

 
7,128,928

 
6,408,534

 
5,823,554

Interest expense
140,896

 
130,946

 
128,174

 
123,177

 
126,302

Income before income taxes
896,438

 
732,030

 
952,196

 
698,888

 
701,928

Income tax expense
(292,953
)
 
(227,923
)
 
(302,593
)
 
(193,587
)
 
(191,285
)
Noncontrolling interests
(1,569
)
 
(413
)
 
(719
)
 
(5,376
)
 
(51
)
Net income to common stockholders
601,916

 
503,694

 
648,884

 
499,925

 
510,592

Data per common share:
 
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

  Net income per basic share
4.91

 
4.06

 
5.07

 
3.69

 
3.72

  Net income per diluted share
4.68

 
3.87

 
4.86

 
3.55

 
3.56

  Common stockholders’ equity
41.65

 
37.31

 
36.21

 
32.79

 
31.66

  Cash dividends declared
1.51

 
0.47

 
1.43

 
0.39

 
1.35

Weighted average shares outstanding:
 
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Basic
122,651

 
124,040

 
127,874

 
135,305

 
137,097

Diluted
128,553

 
130,189

 
133,652

 
140,743

 
143,315

Investments
$
16,649,792

 
$
15,351,467

 
$
15,591,824

 
$
14,548,630

 
$
14,467,440

Total assets
23,364,844

 
21,730,967

 
21,716,691

 
20,155,896

 
20,155,896

Reserves for losses and loss expenses
11,197,195

 
10,669,150

 
10,369,701

 
10,080,941

 
9,751,086

Senior notes and other debt
1,760,595

 
1,844,621

 
2,115,527

 
1,692,442

 
1,871,535

Subordinated debentures
727,630

 
340,320

 
340,060

 
339,800

 
243,206

Common stockholders’ equity
5,047,208

 
4,600,246

 
4,589,945

 
4,336,035

 
4,306,217



28




ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

Overview
W. R. Berkley Corporation is an insurance holding company that is among the largest commercial lines writers in the United States and operates worldwide in two business segments of the property and casualty business: Insurance and Reinsurance. Our decentralized structure provides us with the flexibility to respond quickly and efficiently to local or specific market conditions and to pursue specialty business niches. It also allows us to be closer to our customers in order to better understand their individual needs and risk characteristics. While providing our business units with certain operating autonomy, our structure allows us to capitalize on the benefits of economies of scale through centralized capital, investment, reinsurance and enterprise risk management, and actuarial, financial and corporate legal staff support. Our primary sources of revenues and earnings are its insurance operations and its investments.
An important part of our strategy is to form new operating units to capitalize on various business opportunities. Over the years, the Company has formed numerous new operating units that are focused on important parts of the economy in the U.S., including healthcare, cyber security, energy and agriculture, and on growing international markets, including Scandinavia, Australia, the Asia-Pacific region, South America and Mexico.
The profitability of the Company’s insurance business is affected primarily by the adequacy of premium rates. The ultimate adequacy of premium rates is not known with certainty at the time an insurance policy is issued because premiums are determined before claims are reported. The ultimate adequacy of premium rates is affected mainly by the severity and frequency of claims, which are influenced by many factors, including natural and other disasters, regulatory measures and court decisions that define and change the extent of coverage and the effects of economic inflation on the amount of compensation for injuries or losses. General insurance prices are also influenced by available insurance capacity, i.e., the level of statutory capital and surplus employed in the industry, and the industry’s willingness to deploy that capital.
Although insurance prices have generally increased for most lines of business since 2011, the rate of increase has declined in more recent years. That decline accelerated in 2016. Loss costs have also increased over that period of time. With the low level of interest rates available, current price levels for certain lines of business remain below the prices required for the Company to achieve its long-term return objectives. Part of the Company's strategy is to selectively reduce its business in areas where it believes returns are not adequate. Price changes are reflected in the Company’s results over time as premiums are earned.
The Company’s profitability is also affected by its investment income and investment gains. The Company’s invested assets are invested principally in fixed maturity securities. The return on fixed maturity securities is affected primarily by general interest rates, as well as the credit quality and duration of the securities. Returns available on fixed maturity investments are at historically low levels. The Company's investment income has been negatively impacted by the low fixed maturity investment returns, and will be further impacted if investment returns remain at this level.
The Company also invests in equity securities, merger arbitrage securities, investment funds (including energy related funds), private equity, loans and real estate related assets. The Company's investments in investment funds and its other alternative investments have experienced, and the Company expects to continue to experience, greater fluctuations in investment income.

29



Critical Accounting Estimates
The following presents a discussion of accounting policies and estimates relating to reserves for losses and loss expenses, assumed premiums and other-than-temporary impairments of investments. Management believes these policies and estimates are the most critical to its operations and require the most difficult, subjective and complex judgments.
Reserves for Losses and Loss Expenses. To recognize liabilities for unpaid losses, either known or unknown, insurers establish reserves, which is a balance sheet account representing estimates of future amounts needed to pay claims and related expenses with respect to insured events which have occurred. Estimates and assumptions relating to reserves for losses and loss expenses are based on complex and subjective judgments, often including the interplay of specific uncertainties with related accounting and actuarial measurements. Such estimates are also susceptible to change as significant periods of time may elapse between the occurrence of an insured loss, the report of the loss to the insurer, the ultimate determination of the cost of the loss and the insurer’s payment of that loss.
In general, when a claim is reported, claims personnel establish a “case reserve” for the estimated amount of the ultimate payment based upon known information about the claim at that time. The estimate represents an informed judgment based on general reserving practices and reflects the experience and knowledge of the claims personnel regarding the nature and value of the specific type of claim. Reserves are also established on an aggregate basis to provide for losses incurred but not reported (“IBNR”) to the insurer, potential inadequacy of case reserves and the estimated expenses of settling claims, including legal and other fees and general expenses of administrating the claims adjustment process. Reserves are established based upon the then current legal interpretation of coverage provided.
In examining reserve adequacy, several factors are considered in estimating the ultimate economic value of losses. These factors include, among other things, historical data, legal developments, changes in social attitudes and economic conditions, including the effects of inflation. The actuarial process relies on the basic assumption that past experience, adjusted judgmentally for the effects of current developments and anticipated trends, is an appropriate basis for predicting future outcomes. Reserve amounts are based on management’s informed estimates and judgments using currently available data. As additional experience and other data become available and are reviewed, these estimates and judgments may be revised. This may result in reserve increases or decreases that would be reflected in our results in periods in which such estimates and assumptions are changed.
Reserves do not represent a certain calculation of liability. Rather, reserves represent an estimate of what management expects the ultimate settlement and claim administration will cost. While the methods for establishing reserves are well tested over time, the major assumptions about anticipated loss emergence patterns are subject to uncertainty. These estimates, which generally involve actuarial projections, are based on management’s assessment of facts and circumstances then known, as well as estimates of trends in claims severity and frequency, judicial theories of liability and other factors, including the actions of third parties which are beyond the Company’s control. These variables are affected by external and internal events, such as inflation and economic volatility, judicial and litigation trends, reinsurance coverage, legislative changes and claim handling and reserving practices, which make it more difficult to accurately predict claim costs. The inherent uncertainties of estimating reserves are greater for certain types of liabilities where long periods of time elapse before a definitive determination of liability is made. Because setting reserves is inherently uncertain, the Company cannot provide assurance that its current reserves will prove adequate in light of subsequent events.
Loss reserves included in the Company’s financial statements represent management’s best estimates based upon an actuarially derived point estimate and other considerations. The Company uses a variety of actuarial techniques and methods to derive an actuarial point estimate for each operating unit. These methods include paid loss development, incurred loss development, paid and incurred Bornhuetter-Ferguson methods and frequency and severity methods. In circumstances where one actuarial method is considered more credible than the others, that method is used to set the point estimate. For example, the paid loss and incurred loss development methods rely on historical paid and incurred loss data. For new lines of business, where there is insufficient history of paid and incurred claims data, or in circumstances where there have been significant changes in claim practices, the paid and incurred loss development methods would be less credible than other actuarial methods. The actuarial point estimate may also be based on a judgmental weighting of estimates produced from each of the methods considered. Industry loss experience is used to supplement the Company’s own data in selecting “tail factors” and in areas where the Company’s own data is limited. The actuarial data is analyzed by line of business, coverage and accident or policy year, as appropriate, for each operating unit.
The establishment of the actuarially derived loss reserve point estimate also includes consideration of qualitative factors that may affect the ultimate losses. These qualitative considerations include, among others, the impact of re-underwriting initiatives, changes in the mix of business, changes in distribution sources and changes in policy terms and conditions. Examples of changes in terms and conditions that can have a significant impact on reserve levels are the use of aggregate policy limits, the expansion of coverage exclusions, whether or not defense costs are within policy limits, and changes in deductibles and attachment points.

30



The key assumptions used to arrive at the best estimate of loss reserves are the expected loss ratios, rate of loss cost inflation, and reported and paid loss emergence patterns. Expected loss ratios represent management’s expectation of losses at the time the business is priced and written, before any actual claims experience has emerged. This expectation is a significant determinant of the estimate of loss reserves for recently written business where there is little paid or incurred loss data to consider. Expected loss ratios are generally derived from historical loss ratios adjusted for the impact of rate changes, loss cost trends and known changes in the type of risks underwritten. Expected loss ratios are estimated for each key line of business within each operating unit. Expected loss cost inflation is particularly important for the long-tail lines, such as excess casualty, and claims with a high medical component, such as workers’ compensation. Reported and paid loss emergence patterns are used to project current reported or paid loss amounts to their ultimate settlement value. Loss development factors are based on the historical emergence patterns of paid and incurred losses, and are derived from the Company’s own experience and industry data. The paid loss emergence pattern is also significant to excess and assumed workers’ compensation reserves because those reserves are discounted to their estimated present value based upon such estimated payout patterns. Management believes the estimates and assumptions it makes in the reserving process provide the best estimate of the ultimate cost of settling claims and related expenses with respect to insured events which have occurred; however, different assumptions and variables could lead to significantly different reserve estimates.
Loss frequency and severity are measures of loss activity that are considered in determining the key assumptions described in our discussion of loss and loss expense reserves, including expected loss ratios, rate of loss cost inflation and reported and paid loss emergence patterns. Loss frequency is a measure of the number of claims per unit of insured exposure, and loss severity is a measure of the average size of claims. Factors affecting loss frequency include the effectiveness of loss controls and safety programs and changes in economic activity or weather patterns. Factors affecting loss severity include changes in policy limits, retentions, rate of inflation and judicial interpretations.
Another factor affecting estimates of loss frequency and severity is the loss reporting lag, which is the period of time between the occurrence of a loss and the date the loss is reported to the Company. The length of the loss reporting lag affects our ability to accurately predict loss frequency (loss frequencies are more predictable for lines with short reporting lags) as well as the amount of reserves needed for incurred but not reported losses (less IBNR is required for lines with short reporting lags). As a result, loss reserves for lines with short reporting lags are likely to have less variation from initial loss estimates. For lines with short reporting lags, which include commercial automobile, primary workers’ compensation, other liability (claims-made) and property business, the key assumption is the loss emergence pattern used to project ultimate loss estimates from known losses paid or reported to date. For lines of business with long reporting lags, which include other liability (occurrence), products liability, excess workers’ compensation and liability reinsurance, the key assumption is the expected loss ratio since there is often little paid or incurred loss data to consider. Historically, the Company has experienced less variation from its initial loss estimates for lines of businesses with short reporting lags than for lines of business with long reporting lags.
The key assumptions used in calculating the most recent estimate of the loss reserves are reviewed each quarter and adjusted, to the extent necessary, to reflect the latest reported loss data, current trends and other factors observed. If the actual level of loss frequency and severity are higher or lower than expected, the ultimate losses will be different than management’s estimate. The following table reflects the impact of changes (which could be favorable or unfavorable) in frequency and severity, relative to our assumptions, on our loss estimate for claims occurring in 2016:
(In thousands)
Frequency (+/-)
Severity (+/-)
1%
 
5%
 
10%
1%
$
76,915

 
$
231,511

 
$
424,755

5%
231,511

 
392,229

 
593,126

10%
424,755

 
593,126

 
803,590


Our net reserves for losses and loss expenses of approximately $9.6 billion as of December 31, 2016 relate to multiple accident years. Therefore, the impact of changes in frequency or severity for more than one accident year could be higher or lower than the amounts reflected above. The impact of such changes would likely be manifested gradually over the course of many years, as the magnitude of the changes became evident.
Approximately $1.4 billion, or 14%, of the Company’s net loss reserves as of December 31, 2016 relate to the Reinsurance segment. There is a higher degree of uncertainty and greater variability regarding estimates of assumed loss reserves because those estimates are based, in part, upon information received from ceding companies. If information received from ceding companies is not timely or correct, the Company’s estimate of ultimate losses may not be accurate. Furthermore, due to delayed reporting of claim information by ceding companies, the claim settlement tail for assumed reinsurance is extended. Management considers the impact of delayed reporting in its selection of assumed loss development factors.

31



Information received from ceding companies is used to set initial expected loss ratios, to establish case reserves and to estimate reserves for incurred but not reported losses on assumed reinsurance business. This information, which is generally provided through reinsurance intermediaries, is gathered through the underwriting process and from periodic claim reports and other correspondence with ceding companies. The Company performs underwriting and claim audits of selected ceding companies to determine the accuracy and completeness of information provided to the Company. The information received from the ceding companies is supplemented by the Company’s own loss development experience with similar lines of business as well as industry loss trends and loss development benchmarks.
Following is a summary of the Company’s reserves for losses and loss expenses by business segment as of December 31, 2016 and 2015:
 
(In thousands)
2016
 
2015
Insurance
$
8,215,798

 
$
7,876,193

Reinsurance
1,374,467

 
1,368,679

Net reserves for losses and loss expenses
9,590,265

 
9,244,872

Ceded reserves for losses and loss expenses
1,606,930

 
1,424,278

Gross reserves for losses and loss expenses
$
11,197,195

 
$
10,669,150

Following is a summary of the Company’s net reserves for losses and loss expenses by major line of business as of December 31, 2016 and 2015:
 
(In thousands)
Reported Case
Reserves
 
Incurred But
Not Reported
 
Total
December 31, 2016
 
 
 
 
 
Other liability
$
1,186,425

 
$
2,136,189

 
$
3,322,614

Workers’ compensation (1)
1,596,079

 
1,326,469

 
2,922,548

Professional liability
255,971

 
492,985

 
748,956

Commercial automobile
344,143

 
252,978

 
597,121

Short-tail lines (2)
330,887

 
293,672

 
624,559

Total primary
3,713,505

 
4,502,293

 
8,215,798

Reinsurance (1)
653,615

 
720,852

 
1,374,467

Total
$
4,367,120

 
$
5,223,145

 
$
9,590,265

December 31, 2015
 
 
 
 
 
Other liability
$
1,079,641

 
$
1,947,637

 
$
3,027,278

Workers’ compensation (1)
1,655,726

 
1,263,508

 
2,919,234

Professional liability
256,783

 
478,796

 
735,579

Commercial automobile
352,208

 
242,071

 
594,279

Short-tail lines (2)
317,375

 
282,448

 
599,823

Total primary
3,661,733

 
4,214,460

 
7,876,193

Reinsurance (1)
631,666

 
737,013

 
1,368,679

Total
$
4,293,399

 
$
4,951,473

 
$
9,244,872

____________________
(1) Reserves for excess and assumed workers’ compensation business are net of an aggregate net discount of $640 million and $699 million as of December 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively.
 
(2) Short-tail lines include commercial multi-peril (non-liability), inland marine, accident and health, fidelity and surety, boiler     and machinery and other lines.


    




32



The Company evaluates reserves for losses and loss expenses on a quarterly basis. Changes in estimates of prior year losses are reported when such changes are made. The changes in prior year loss reserve estimates are generally the result of ongoing analysis of recent loss development trends. Original estimates are increased or decreased as additional information becomes known regarding individual claims and aggregate claim trends.
Certain of the Company's insurance and reinsurance contracts are retrospectively rated, whereby the Company collects more or less premiums based on the level of loss activity. For those contracts, changes in loss and loss expenses for prior years may be fully or partially offset by additional or return premiums.
Net prior year development (i.e, the sum of prior year reserve changes and prior year earned premiums changes) for each of the last three years ended December 31, are as follows:
(In thousands)
2016
 
2015
 
2014
Decrease in prior year loss reserves
$
29,904

 
$
46,713

 
$
75,764

Increase in prior year earned premiums
29,000

 
16,730

 
9,088

Net favorable prior year development
$
58,904

 
$
63,443

 
$
84,852

     
Favorable prior year development (net of additional and return premiums) was $59 million in 2016.
Insurance - Reserves for the Insurance segment developed favorably by $53 million in 2016. The favorable development was primarily related to workers' compensation business, and was partially offset by unfavorable development for medical professional liability business.

For workers' compensation, the favorable development was related to both primary and excess business and to many accident years, including those prior to 2007. During 2016, reported workers' compensation losses continued to be below our expectations at most of our operating units. Loss frequency and severity trends continued to be better than the assumptions underlying our previous reserve estimates. Loss severity trends also benefited from our continued investment in medical case management services and from our preferred provider networks. The long term trend of declining workers' compensation frequency can be attributed to improved workplace safety.

For medical professional liability business, unfavorable development was primarily related to a class of business that has been discontinued. The adverse development for that business stemmed mainly from accident years 2010 through 2015.
Reinsurance - Reserves for the Reinsurance segment developed favorably by $6 million in 2016. The favorable development was primarily related to direct facultative reinsurance business and to accident years 2008 through 2014.
Favorable prior year development (net of additional and return premiums) was $63 million in 2015.
Insurance - Reserves for the Insurance segment developed favorably by $52 million in 2015. The favorable development was primarily related to workers' compensation, other liability business and commercial property, and was partially offset by unfavorable development for commercial automobile liability business and professional indemnity business.
For workers' compensation, the favorable development was related to both primary and excess business and to many accident years, including those prior to 2006. In 2015, reported workers' compensation losses were below our expectations for many of our operating units. In addition, overall loss frequency and severity trends emerged better than the assumptions underlying our previous reserve estimates. The long term trend of declining workers' compensation claim frequency continued in 2015. The improvement is attributable to better workplace safety and to benign medical severity trends as we continue to invest in medical case management services and higher usage of preferred provider networks.
For other liability business, favorable development was concentrated in accident years 2007 through 2013. The favorable development was primarily related to our excess and surplus lines casualty business that has benefited from a persistent improvement in claim frequency trends over the past several years.
For commercial property business, favorable development was attributable to accident years 2012 through 2014 and was driven by favorable frequency and severity trends on property business written in Lloyd's.
For commercial automobile business, adverse development was primarily related to large losses for long-haul trucking business and to accident years 2011 through 2014. The higher loss cost trends for the commercial automobile industry are attributable, in part, to the increase in miles driven as the economy improved and fuel prices declined over the past several years.

33



For professional indemnity business in the U.K., adverse development was primarily for accident years 2006 through 2013.
Reinsurance - Reserves for the Reinsurance segment developed favorably by $11 million in 2015. The favorable development was primarily related to direct facultative reinsurance business and to accident years 2005 through 2013. Loss reserves developed favorably for umbrella business and for other liability coverage for contractors.
Favorable prior year development (net of additional and return premiums) was $85 million in 2014.
Insurance - For the Insurance segment, favorable development in 2014 of $69 million was driven principally by other liability business for accident years 2006 through 2010, primarily related to our excess and surplus lines casualty business. Reported losses during these years continued to be below our initial expectations at the time the business was written, largely as a result of persistent improvement in claim frequency trends (i.e., number of reported claims per unit of exposure). As these accident years have matured, the weighting of actuarial methods has shifted from methods based on initial expected losses to methods based on actual reported losses. We believe the favorable claim frequency trends we have seen during this time period are due to changes in the mix of business written and to the general slowdown in the economy. Commercial automobile reported unfavorable development primarily as a result of large losses for long-haul trucking business in 2012 and 2013. The favorable development was also offset by adverse reserve development driven primarily by unexpected large losses from accident years 2009-2012 in the professional indemnity line of business in the United Kingdom.
Reinsurance - For the Reinsurance segment, favorable reserve development in 2014 of $16 million was driven primarily by assumed professional liability excess of loss and umbrella treaty business, as well as direct facultative business. This was partially offset by adverse development on brokerage facultative business caused by completed operations losses associated with construction projects in accident years prior to 2009.
Reserve Discount. The Company discounts its liabilities for certain workers’ compensation reserves. The amount of workers’ compensation reserves that were discounted was $1,907 million and $2,308 million at December 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively. The aggregate net discount for those reserves, after reflecting the effects of ceded reinsurance, was $640 million and $699 million at December 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively. At December 31, 2016, discount rates by year ranged from 2.0% to 6.5%, with a weighted average discount rate of 3.9%.

Substantially all of discounted workers’ compensation reserves (97% of total discounted reserves at December 31, 2016) are excess workers’ compensation reserves. In order to properly match loss expenses with income earned on investment securities supporting the liabilities, reserves for excess workers’ compensation business are discounted using risk-free discount rates determined by reference to the U.S. Treasury yield curve. These rates are determined annually based on the weighted average rate for the period. Once established, no adjustments are made to the discount rate for that period, and any increases or decreases in loss reserves in subsequent years are discounted at the same rate, without regard to when any such adjustments are recognized. The expected loss and loss expense payout patterns subject to discounting are derived from the Company’s loss payout experience.  

The Company also discounts reserves for certain other long-duration workers’ compensation reserves (representing approximately 3% of total discounted reserves at December 31, 2016), including reserves for quota share reinsurance and reserves related to losses regarding occupational lung disease. These reserves are discounted at statutory rates permitted by the Department of Insurance of the State of Delaware.
Assumed Reinsurance Premiums. The Company estimates the amount of assumed reinsurance premiums that it will receive under treaty reinsurance agreements at the inception of the contracts. These premium estimates are revised as the actual amount of assumed premiums is reported to the Company by the ceding companies. As estimates of assumed premiums are made or revised, the related amount of earned premiums, commissions and incurred losses associated with those premiums are recorded. Estimated assumed premiums receivable were approximately $68 million and $62 million at December 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively. The assumed premium estimates are based upon terms set forth in reinsurance agreements, information received from ceding companies during the underwriting and negotiation of agreements, reports received from ceding companies and discussions and correspondence with reinsurance intermediaries. The Company also considers its own view of market conditions, economic trends and experience with similar lines of business. These premium estimates represent management’s best estimate of the ultimate amount of premiums to be received under its assumed reinsurance agreements.


34



Other-Than-Temporary Impairments (OTTI) of Investments. The cost of securities is adjusted where appropriate to include a provision for decline in value which is considered to be other-than-temporary. An other-than-temporary decline is considered to occur in investments where there has been a sustained reduction in fair value and where the Company does not expect the fair value to recover prior to the time of sale or maturity. Since equity securities do not have a contractual cash flow or maturity, the Company considers whether the price of an equity security is expected to recover within a reasonable period of time.
The Company classifies its fixed maturity securities and preferred stocks by credit rating, primarily based on ratings assigned by credit rating agencies. For purposes of classifying securities with different ratings, the Company uses the lower rating if two ratings were assigned and the middle rating if three ratings were assigned, unless the Company’s own analysis indicates that the lower rating is more appropriate. Securities that are not rated by a rating agency are evaluated and classified by the Company on a case-by-case basis.
Fixed Maturity Securities – For securities that we intend to sell or, more likely than not, would be required to sell, a decline in value below amortized cost is considered to be OTTI. The amount of OTTI is equal to the difference between amortized cost and fair value at the balance sheet date. For securities that we do not intend to sell or expect to be required to sell, a decline in value below amortized cost is considered to be an OTTI if we do not expect to recover the entire amortized cost basis of a security (i.e., the present value of cash flows expected to be collected is less than the amortized cost basis of the security).
The portion of the decline in value considered to be a credit loss (i.e., the difference between the present value of cash flows expected to be collected and the amortized cost basis of the security) is recognized in earnings. The portion of the decline in value not considered to be a credit loss (i.e., the difference in the present value of cash flows expected to be collected and the fair value of the security) is recognized in other comprehensive income.
Impairment assessments for structured securities, including mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations and corporate debt, are generally evaluated based on the performance of the underlying collateral under various economic and default scenarios that may involve subjective judgments and estimates by management. Modeling these securities involves various factors, such as projected default rates, the nature and realizable value of the collateral, if any, the ability of the issuer to make scheduled payments, historical performance and other relevant economic and performance factors. If an OTTI determination is made, a discounted cash flow analysis is used to ascertain the amount of the credit impairment.

The following table provides a summary of fixed maturity securities in an unrealized loss position as of December 31, 2016:
($ in thousands)
Number of
Securities
 
Aggregate
Fair Value
 
Unrealized
Loss
Unrealized loss less than 20% of amortized cost
739

 
$
5,123,665

 
$
90,505

Unrealized loss of 20% or greater of amortized cost:
 
 
 
 
 
Less than twelve months
2

 
5,324

 
3,776

Twelve months and longer
3

 
774

 
302

Total
744

 
$
5,129,763

 
$
94,583

A summary of the Company’s non-investment grade fixed maturity securities that were in an unrealized loss position at December 31, 2016 is presented in the table below.
 
($ in thousands)
Number of
Securities
 
Aggregate
Fair Value
 
Unrealized
Loss
State and municipal
1

 
$
5,136

 
$
3,725

Corporate
10

 
78,462

 
1,370

Mortgage-backed securities
11

 
22,987

 
1,106

Asset-backed securities
4

 
1,256

 
362

Foreign government
15

 
112,985

 
341

Total
41

 
$
220,826

 
$
6,904

    

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The Company has evaluated its fixed maturity securities in an unrealized loss position and believes the unrealized loss is due primarily to temporary market and sector-related factors rather than to issuer-specific factors. None of these securities are delinquent or in default under financial covenants. Based on its assessment of these issuers, the Company expects them to continue to meet their contractual payment obligations as they become due and does not consider any of these securities to be OTTI. For the year ended December 31, 2016, there were no OTTI for fixed maturity securities recognized in earnings. OTTI for fixed maturity securities for the year ended December 31, 2015 were $9.0 million.
Preferred Stocks – At December 31, 2016, there was one preferred stock in an unrealized loss position, with an aggregate fair value of $22.0 million and a gross unrealized loss of $3.6 million. The preferred stock is rated investment grade. Management believes the unrealized loss is due primarily to market and sector related factors and does not consider it to be OTTI. For the year ended December 31, 2016, there were no OTTI for preferred stocks. OTTI for preferred stocks for the year ended December 31, 2015 were $13.4 million.
Common Stocks – At December 31, 2016, there were two common stocks in an unrealized loss position with an aggregate fair value of $9.1 million and a gross unrealized loss of $1.1 million. Based on management's view of these securities, the Company does not consider the common stocks to be OTTI. For the year ended December 31, 2016, OTTI for common stocks were $18.1 million. OTTI for common stocks for the year ended December 31, 2015 were $10.9 million.
Loans Receivable – The Company monitors the performance of its loans receivable, including current market conditions for each loan and the ability to collect principal and interest. For loans where the Company determines it is probable that the contractual terms will not be met, an analysis is performed and a valuation reserve is established, if necessary, with a charge to earnings. Loans receivable are reported net of a valuation reserve of $3 million and $2 million at December 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively.
The Company monitors the performance of its loans receivable and assesses the ability of each borrower to pay principal and interest based upon loan structure, underlying property values, cash flow and related financial and operating performance of the property and market conditions. Loans receivable with a potential for default are further assessed using discounted cash flow analysis and comparable cost and sales methodologies, if appropriate.
Fair Value Measurements. The Company’s fixed maturity and equity securities available for sale and its trading account securities are carried at fair value. Fair value is defined as "the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date". The Company utilizes a fair value hierarchy that prioritizes the inputs to valuation techniques used to measure fair value into three broad levels. Level 1 inputs are quoted prices (unadjusted) in active markets for identical assets or liabilities that the reporting entity has the ability to access at the measurement date. Level 2 inputs are inputs other than quoted prices included within Level 1 that are observable for similar assets in active markets. Level 3 inputs are unobservable inputs for the asset or liability. Unobservable inputs may only be used to measure fair value to the extent that observable inputs are not available. The fair value of the vast majority of the Company’s portfolio is based on observable data (other than quoted prices) and, accordingly, is classified as Level 2.

In classifying particular financial securities in the fair value hierarchy, the Company uses its judgment to determine whether the market for a security is active and whether significant pricing inputs are observable. The Company determines the existence of an active market by assessing whether transactions occur with sufficient frequency and volume to provide reliable pricing information. The Company determines whether inputs are observable based on the use of such information by pricing services and external investment managers, the uninterrupted availability of such inputs, the need to make significant adjustments to such inputs and the volatility of such inputs over time. If the market for a security is determined to be inactive or if significant inputs used to price a security are determined to be unobservable, the security is categorized in Level 3 of the fair value hierarchy.
Because many fixed maturity securities do not trade on a daily basis, the Company utilizes pricing models and processes which may include benchmark curves, benchmarking of like securities, sector groupings and matrix pricing. Market inputs used to evaluate securities include benchmark yields, reported trades, broker/dealer quotes, issuer spreads, two-sided markets, benchmark securities, bids, offers and reference data. Quoted prices are often unavailable for recently issued securities that are infrequently traded or securities that are only traded in private transactions. For publicly traded securities for which quoted prices are unavailable, the Company determines fair value based on independent broker quotations and other observable market data. For securities traded only in private negotiations, the Company determines fair value based primarily on the cost of such securities, which is adjusted to reflect prices of recent placements of securities of the same issuer, financial data, projections and business developments of the issuer and other relevant information.



36



The following is a summary of pricing sources for the Company's fixed maturity securities available for sale as of December 31, 2016:
 
(In thousands)
Carrying
Value
 
Percent
of Total