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Berkshire's swoop of AIG quartet not a big deal for CNA Financial, CEO says

Written by Jasir Jawaid

Recent high-profile defections at American International Group Inc. should not impact CNA Financial Corp. because the excess and surplus business is "pretty small for us," Chairman and CEO Thomas Motamed said during a first-quarter earnings conference call.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. recently plucked talent from AIG, including the president of its main E&S writer, Lexington Insurance Co. This has, in turn, led to speculation that Berkshire might be interested in accelerating its E&S business.

Lexington accounted for the vast majority of AIG's E&S premiums in 2012, at about $4.23 billion, according to SNL data.

During the call's question-and-answer session, CNA Financial management was asked if these hires could possibly impact the company's business. In response, Motamed said the company's CNA Select segment is small and has been a weak performer over time. He also pointed to the company's exit from various lines of the CNA Select segment, such as habitational property and transportation.

CNA Financial's direct excess and surplus lines premiums written in the U.S., as of the year ended Dec. 31, 2012, totaled $777.9 million, up 4.19% year over year. It was the eighth-largest E&S writer in the U.S., according to SNL data.

During the first quarter, the company achieved rate increases of 7% and 9% in its specialty and commercial segments, respectively. Within CNA Specialty, professional liability saw rate increases of 9%.

This article was published by S&P Global Market Intelligence on the S&P Capital IQ Pro platform.


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