Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) is a division of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. The company provides commercial and personal insurance offerings. Their mission “in lockstep with you, long term” suggests their commitment to keeping customers and offering quality insurance products for the long haul.
Here we provide an overview of the products offered by BHSI within the United States and essential facts that will help you decide you should choose them for your insurance needs.
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance was founded in 2013 by the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., Warren Buffet. He wanted to move the company into the commercial insurance business. He succeeded, and since then, the company has grown significantly. The company now does business in over 200 countries and offers a wide variety of commercial and personal insurance product offerings.
The parent company, Bershire Hathaway, Inc., holds status as the fourth-largest publicly-traded company globally, and it sits within the top 3 of Fortune 500 companies.
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance maintains its headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. The company holds a variety of high-financial strength ratings and boasts that they are the leader in the personal aspect of handling claims and seek to build “forever” relationships. All customers have direct access to their senior claims handling team.
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Auto/Transportation
BHSI does not offer personal consumer automotive insurance lines and does not make a good option for those customers seeking to insure their vehicles.
Their “transportation” category focuses on commercial vehicles and targets many customers, from for-hire truckers to corporate fleets to tanker and hazmat trucks. Since they focus on commercial and corporate fleets of vehicles, their premiums and coverage limits are very high and tailored towards those industries.
Again, they are a good option for commercial, corporate, and fleet customers seeking transportation insurance but not a viable option for the regular consumer.
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Homeowner’s
BHSI does offer personal homeowner’s insurance policies. Their target market is more expensive homes and, in particular, homes exceeding $250,000 in replacement value.
Currently, they only offer their homeowner’s insurance offerings on the eastern coast of the United States, which limits their customer base. Policyholders can also secure insurance for secondary or seasonal homes with or without rental exposure and tenant-occupied ones.
On their policies, you can choose to be insured by name, corporation, family trust, or LLC, further demonstrating that they seek a high-end customer base. You can expect many included benefits when purchasing a homeowner’s policy through Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance.
They offer high-property limits not available through many other insurance carriers. Customers also have extra coverage to protect valuables in the house that exceed the insurance coverage in their standard policy.
If something extensive happens to the property, you can know that it will be rebuilt to code and meet existing quality standards.
There’s coverage for identity fraud expenses and liability and medical protection if anyone becomes injured on your property, and you can choose to have personal injury coverage as well.
Like many other companies, they have packages that offer optional coverage for mold remediation, sewer and drain backup, earthquake coverage, animal liability, and golf cart coverage, with various options to meet the needs of the individual property and its contents.
Additionally, customers can choose more flexible coverage limits for contents, other structures, and loss of use.
As you can see, the homeowner’s policies are very comprehensive and geared toward higher-end dwellings and a customer base that expects personalized services and attention.
How BHSI Homeowner’s Rates Compare to Other Companies
As you might suspect, based on their homeowner’s insurance offerings, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance rates are generally much higher than many other insurance companies. Most insurance companies do not offer homeowner’s products that cover such expensive properties, so that you won’t find highly-competitive rates on the market. However, they are worth considering if you need to protect a high-value home.
It is an outstanding company to consider for those looking to insure beach homes and other high-risk properties. Most less-expensive insurance companies also do not have the means or resources to handle these specialized properties properly.
What Types of Homeowner’s Insurance Discounts are Available?
BHSI does offer significant credits and discounts on their homeowner’s policies for specific situations.
They provide a claims-free loss history discount if you have not filed any loss claims for a specified period. For homes with particular structural enhancements, like impact-resistant windows and roofs. Therefore you can receive a discount. As with other insurance companies, houses that have installed and monitored home security devices may also receive extra savings because these things lessen the threat of a burglary.
Some customers choose to have higher deductibles on their policies. These customers may qualify for a discount because they will pay more out-of-pocket in the event of a claim on their property, saving the insurance company money on large claims.
Finally, If your house is new construction, BHSI
offers special savings based on the assumption that a new house will have fewer claims filed than an older one. You may also get an additional discount if you build the house with certain types of masonry or choose to use various superior construction materials.
As you can see, the company gears the available discounts toward the customer profile with higher-end homes but does provide a good amount of options for these customers to save money.
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Individual Travel Insurance
Individuals can purchase Travel Insurance for coverage for unexpected issues or cancellations with trips or vacations. This type of insurance offering is one of BHSI’s most-popular consumer products.
You might want to purchase travel insurance if you’ve recently booked a large or expensive trip and want to make sure that you have protected your investment.
For example, BHSI Travel Insurance protects you from various mishaps during your trip, including medical emergencies, travel delays, emergency evacuation, trip interruptions, cancellations, lost/damaged or stolen luggage, and travel assistance.
Most consumers don’t think about protecting their trips and see it as an added expense. It can cost 5 to 10% of your total trip to purchase insurance. However, even under the best of times, airports mishandle millions of bags each year, over 300,000 flights are canceled, and 6,000,000 flights are delayed.
Recognizing that things change and people have different needs, BHSI allows customers to purchase their travel insurance immediately after booking a trip up to the day before departure. Customers can buy it up to 11:59 PM on the day before they leave.
The BHSI website makes it easy to get a quote for travel insurance with the click of a button. You just entered in a few details about your trip and can continue to purchase coverage.
Options for Travel Agencies and Businesses
Travel agents, tour operators, airline & cruise carriers, and corporate travel agents can also take advantage of BHSI’s travel insurance offerings with its E&O plan offered through a company’s subsidiary.
The E&O plan protects these businesses from lawsuits and will provide defense in court, even if the suit is frivolous. For example, customers can hold a travel agency liable for clerical errors such as wrong airport codes, injuries during excursions or tours booked by the agent, and other things such as natural disasters and terrorism threats.
They also offer optional travel insurance coverage for your business, advertising injury, and prior acts. The Booking Protector® benefit provides dedicated agents on duty 24/7 to assist their E&O customers whenever an emergency arises and preserves their right to file a claim.
Businesses looking for this type of coverage can contact Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance to discuss coverage options and get a quote. ®
What Other Products Does Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Offer?
As such a large company, BHSI offers a variety of many other product lines. However, the majority of these lines exist only for commercial customers. Their travel and homeowner’s insurance policies are the two personal consumer products they offer. Both of these products are popular and well-liked by their clients.
If you are a commercial customer, you will find excellent options and coverages to serve your business needs, as we will outline further.
Executive & Professionals
The Executive First® and Professional First® product lines meet the needs of banks, insurance companies, asset managers, private equity management, diversified financial institutions, and life agent/broker-dealers. Providing up to
$50 million in coverage (with the option for additional coverage). These institutions and individuals receive specialized expertise through BHSI in various claims and settlements, including legal defense and attorney fees.
The Executive First® product line provides liability coverage for Directors & Officers. It also provides fiduciary liability and employment practices liability. The Professional First® product line offers liability options for asset management, bankers, life agents, insurance companies, and venture capitalists/private equity firms.
A variety of healthcare professionals and institutions can obtain liability insurance through BHSI, including extensive facilities, senior care institutions, or individual practicing doctors. BHSI offers healthcare solutions worldwide in the US, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
These clients receive a dedicated healthcare claims team and access to a national defense counsel network. In addition, these professionals will find a variety of customized solutions, such as coverage for nurses and class action settlement insurance for products, devices, and wages.
Medical Stop Loss
BHSI offers Medical Stop Loss coverage to various sectors for businesses that self-fund their medical plans for employees. Their coverage options comply with the Affordable Care Act and have many other additional benefits for these types of customers. For example, policyholders can take advantage of advanced funding, gapless renewals, rate caps, early lock options, etc.
An example of the target customer base includes:
- Financial institutions.
- Professional services.
- Public sector groups.
- Self-administered groups.
- Groups embracing reference-based pricing models.
- Colleges & universities.
However, they state that they consider all types of industries for coverage.
BHSI boasts that their claims process for Medical Stop Loss comes in 10 days or less of filing, and customers can choose to receive it by electronic payment.
Surety and Builder’s Risk Options
BHSI’s Surety options offer a variety of bonds for contractors and construction business customers, including performance, payment, advance, maintenance, supply, and warranty bonds.
They partner with professional surety agents and brokers that have a strong knowledge of the construction markets in their specific regions. They also boast extensive technical expertise and offer a solutions-oriented approach to their underwriting.
For builder’s risk options, the company offers coverage for Erection All Risk (EAR), Contractors All Risk (CAR), and Master Builder’s Risk. This coverage includes an all-risk policy, hot testing and commissioning, delay in completion/start-up, soft costs, single peril, and DIC.
Multinational Business Coverage
BHSI protects multinational businesses from general commercial liability, crime, and cyber incidents as a global company. They also protect directors & officers, professional indemnity, umbrella/excess liability, and accidents & health.
Many businesses will find casualty insurance options available through BHSI to protect them against lawsuits and other liabilities.
The company offers general liability coverage for entertainment venues, real estate, retail operations, financial institutions, construction companies, and the energy and trucking industries. They also provide primary policy/completed operations liability insurance for manufacturers and distributors, life sciences, and discontinued products. Construction and Environmental options exist as well.
Coverage is comprehensive and highly customized. Large homebuilders can also take advantage of these offerings to protect their construction projects.
Commercial Property Insurance
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance offers various property insurance options that target an extensive range of commercial properties. These include real estate companies, public entities, financial institutions, hospitals & healthcare facilities, schools, colleges, & universities, manufacturing entities, and retail entities.
Clients receive all-risk coverage for their property and can also choose earthquake, flood, & windstorm, terrorism, inland marine, ocean marine, builder’s risk, and energy & technical risk options.
The FASTCAT™ customized commercial property coverage uses a parametric trigger to expedite loss payment for named windstorms or earthquakes. Clients will know that they will have absolute protection and speedy resolution of claims in a disaster like that.
Energy, Life Sciences, and Marine Industries
Finally, there are many protection options for those who work in the energy, life sciences, and marine industries. Most other companies do not offer these options.
For life sciences, they target medical devices, nutraceuticals, generic pharmaceuticals, clinical trials, biologicals, and compounding medicines and provide product liability insurance for these categories.
The energy sector seeks insurance for oil & gas lease operators and contractors, the mining industry, oil gathering and transmission pipelines, gas stations, power generators, processing, and refining companies.
For these companies, they offer a variety of products and coverages, from general liability and umbrella insurance to builder’s risk and EAR.
Finally, they cover people and businesses in the marine industry. Their inland coverage meets the needs of contractors, equipment dealers, marine construction, logistics, transportation, trucking, and other types of specialty inland marine risks. Their ocean marine cargo coverage protects manufacturers, distributors, retailers, wholesalers, exporters, and freight and logistics companies.
Coverage in this category can reach up to 10,000,000 dollars.
Final Review of Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance
If you are a commercial customer or healthcare professional needing insurance coverage for your business, you should consider contacting Berkshire Hathaway to explore your options.
However, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance will likely not meet your needs if you’re looking for a consumer-product insurance company with competitive rates. For personal consumer products, their offerings are limited.
BHSI does not offer automotive or medical insurance policies to consumers. They primarily focus on commercial insurance offerings.
However, if you have a home with a high-property value or a high-risk property such as a beach house, you may consider them an excellent option to meet your specialized needs.
The company ranks relatively high in customer service, and many customers say that filing a claim is easy and the company provides quick reimbursements. This high rating most likely comes from their approach.
In terms of financial strength, the business ranks exceptionally high and is a very financially-stable institution due to its backing from the Berkshire Hathaway parent company.
The table below shows the significant ratings for Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance.
|BBB||N/A, not BBB accredited|
In addition to those ratings, a summary of the pros and cons of Berkshire Hathaway Insurance includes the following. These are based on research and customer feedback.
- Offers high-end homeowner’s insurance policies to cover properties other insurance companies might not provide.
- It offers popular personal travel insurance products that many customers say are excellent.
- It has a solid financial strength score and is financially backed by the larger, publicly-traded company, Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.
- The company offers a personalized and professional approach to its coverage. All customers have access to senior-level claims handlers.
- It offers an extensive range of products for various types of commercial customers.
- Berkshire Hathaway Offers discounts for its homeowner’s policy subscribers.
- It does not offer personal consumer products (only homeowner’s and travel insurance).
- Homeowners’ insurance premiums are higher than many other companies.
- Homeowner’s insurance coverage is not offered in every state.
- It does not have an app for viewing policy information or submitting claims. Customers must submit all claims via phone or by email.
- Since their primary focus is commercial and liability insurance, personal customers may not always feel that they get the full attention they deserve.
- Some travel insurance customers say that their claims required extensive supplemental information, and it took a long time to receive reimbursement.
Overall, the bottom line is that Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance is a good option for a variety of commercial customers looking for protection, high-end homeowner’s looking for the most extensive coverage, or individual’s looking to purchase comprehensive travel insurance.
For consumers looking to compare rates and bundle auto and homeowner’s insurance or those looking for medical insurance options, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance is not a great choice.