W. R. Berkley History

"Our Company provides a state of predictability which allows brokers and agents to act with confidence."

Founded in 1967, W. R. Berkley Corporation has grown from a small investment management firm into one of the largest commercial lines property and casualty insurers in the United States.

Along the way, we’ve been listed on the New York Stock Exchange, seen our revenue soar well past $7 billion, and become a well-respected Fortune 500 Company.

Today, the Berkley brand comprises 53 Berkley companies worldwide. Still managed by our Executive Chairman, founder and largest shareholder, W. R. Berkley Corporation is well-positioned to respond to opportunities for future growth.

In April 2017, W. R. Berkley Corporation celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding.

Jump To


Lifson Re Ltd. was formed as a special purpose insurer registered in Bermuda and licensed by the Bermuda Monetary Authority to participate alongside traditional reinsurers in a broad portfolio of property and casualty reinsurance treaties ceded by W. R. Berkley Corporation’s subsidiaries on a fully collateralized basis.


In December, W. R. Berkley Corporation was added to the S&P500 with $7.9 billion in revenue and $6.1 billion in stockholders’ equity at year-end 2019.

+ See More
Berkley Healthcare Logo

The Company formed Berkley Healthcare.

+ See More
W. Robert Berkley and William R. Berkley

On April 17, 2017 the Company marked its 50th anniversary, having ended 2016 with $7.7 billion in total revenue, more than $23 billion in total assets and $5 billion in stockholders' equity.

+ See More

In 2016, the Company announced its entry into the high net worth personal lines market with Berkley One. It also formed Berkley Insurance Asia, Berkley Transactional, Berkley Cyber Risk Solutions and Intrepid Direct.


In 2015, the Company announced that William R. Berkley would become executive chairman on October 31, 2015 and W. Robert Berkley, Jr. would assume the role of chief executive officer, continuing the transition plan implemented by the Board of Directors when Rob Berkley was named president and chief operating officer in 2009.

+ See More

In recent years, the Company has continued to expand at an impressive pace, primarily through the creation of new businesses. In 2008, Berkley Asset Protection Underwriters, FinSecure, Berkley Canada, Berkley Professional Liability and Berkley Offshore Underwriting Managers were all formed.

+ See More
Forbes Logo

In 2007, W. R. Berkley Corporation was named Best Managed Insurance Company by Forbes Magazine and set a new record during our 40th Anniversary year by earning $744 million. Total assets surpassed $16.8 billion, total revenues exceeded $5.5 billion and net worth reached $3.7 billion.

+ See More
Fortune Logo

In April 2004, W. R. Berkley Corporation joined the ranks of the Fortune 500 with $3.6 billion in revenue and $1.7 billion in stockholders’ equity at year-end 2003.

+ See More

The Company reached a major milestone in 2001 when it moved the listing of W. R. Berkley Corporation common stock to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

+ See More

At the turn of the century, the Company refined its strategy. The regional companies were consolidated to reduce costs, enhance size and scale, and to provide better competitive positions, while maintaining operations close to the customer. This segment was also repositioned to emphasize commercial lines of business and targeted niches, while withdrawing from personal lines.

+ See More

Revenues passed the $1 billion mark in 1995 as the Company continued to expand. Presque Isle, Berkley Surety Group, and Berkley Insurance Company of the Carolinas were all established, as was Vela Insurance Services, which writes contractor and liability coverage on an excess and surplus lines basis.

+ See More
Key Risk Logo

The year 1994 marked additional milestones for W. R. Berkley Corporation. To bolster the services segment capabilities and add critical care capabilities, Key Risk Management Services was acquired.

+ See More
Acadia Insurance Logo

In the early 1990s, the Company continued to grow through both acquisition and the formation of new companies.

+ See More

By 1987, the Company’s total assets surpassed the $1 billion mark, total revenues exceeded the half-billion dollar level, and net worth rose above the one-quarter billion-dollar mark.


Through the early 1980s, the Company continued to grow its regional, specialty and reinsurance businesses, and added an insurance service provider to its portfolio of companies.

+ See More

From the mid to late 1970s, the Company marked three important milestones. In 1975, W. R. Berkley Corporation instituted a policy of paying a regular cash dividend.

+ See More

In the early 1970s, the Company entered various aspects of the insurance business and debuted as a public company.

+ See More

While attending Harvard Business School, Bill Berkley and his partner formed Berkley Dean & Company – an investment management company that was the precursor to W. R. Berkley Corporation – with a $2,500 investment.