Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said first-quarter profit fell 58 percent as catastrophes led by Japan’s earthquake last month caused an underwriting loss at the company’s insurance units.
Net income dropped to $1.51 billion from $3.63 billion the same period last year, Berkshire said today in a statement. Natural-disaster losses exceeded $1.6 billion. Operating earnings declined 28 percent to $1.59 billion from $2.22 billion. Buffett, 80, is Berkshire’s chairman, chief executive officer and largest shareholder.
Earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand and Cyclone Yasi in Australia lifted claims at reinsurers including Munich Re, the world’s largest. Berkshire is third-biggest by policy sales among reinsurers, companies that provide backup coverage to primary carriers.
Full story: Berkshire profit falls to $1.51 billion on catastrophe costs