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W. R. Berkley's CEO Hosts UBS Global Financial Services Conference Call (Transcript)

Stocks in this article: WRB

You have to understand what levers you want to pull and how you move the specific pieces. You want to be sure you keep the best people. Low turnover is a certain sign of what may well be a very successful company. And you have to put it all together with a culture that leads to value creation, customer service, meeting the demands of the marketplace, all at the same time being able to compete effectively.

We think we can do that. We’ve grown at the right time in the cycle. A cyclical business is particularly interesting. You can’t just grow all the time. Growing in a down cycle is like the reverse of dollar cost averaging. It’s growing when the business is getting worse as opposed to when the business is getting better. And when you are interested in keeping the money and keeping the profits, you want to write the most business you can at the highest price and let it leave you as the prices dissipate.

We’ve been successful in doing that and we think we’re in the process of getting do that again. We’re growing now mainly through our new operating units that we’ve added since 2006. Although our older units, who in the aggregate shrank by more than 25% in the soft cycle are beginning to show some traction and growing on their own. Here you can see both contribution of our new businesses and the various pieces that contribute to our quarterly growth.

If you go back and take a look at that chart, in the center of the chart, it shows you what our growth has been. And growth is in even in every quarter. But as you can see, business continues to grow, pricing is better and better, and we’re enthusiastic about improved profitability.

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