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W. R. BERKLEY CORPORATION ANNOUNCES RESULTS OF OPERATIONS FOR THE QUARTER AND YEAR ENDED DEC. 31, 1992

 GREENWICH, Conn., March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- W. R. Berkley Corporation (NASDAQ: BKLY), an insurance holding company, today announced that net income for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 1992 was $10,202,000 ($.57 per share) in comparison with $11,099,000 ($.62 per share) for the comparable prior year period. For the full year 1992, net income was $52,382,000 ($2.92 per share) compared with $46,584,000 ($2.61 per share) earned during 1991.
 The comparison of results for the quarterly and annual periods was affected by a higher level of weather-related catastrophe losses. Catastrophe losses, on an after-tax basis, including reinsurance losses due to Hurricanes Andrew and Iniki, increased to $3,590,000 ($.20 per share) and $17,208,000 ($.96 per share) for the 1992 quarterly and annual periods from $1,824,000 ($.10 per share) and $14,043,000 ($.79 per share) sustained during the comparable 1991 periods. In addition, the 1992 annual results include a tax benefit of $5,902,000 ($.33 per share) which resulted from the adoption of FASB Statement 109, Accounting for Income Taxes. Under applicable accounting rules, the effect of this change in accounting principle on quarterly earnings will be reflected as a restatement of 1992 first quarter results rather than as a fourth quarter event.
 Total revenues (excluding investment gains or losses) for the three and twelve month periods ended Dec. 31, 1992 were $140,568,000 and $563,844,000, respectively, in comparison with total revenues of $133,191,000 and $546,074,000 recorded for the corresponding 1991 periods. Net premiums written for the 1992 periods were $98,710,000 and $417,678,000, respectively, compared with $91,938,000 and $411,660,000 for the 1991 periods. Both total revenues and net premiums written were characterized by a company spokesman as "basically flat."
 Operating income, which is net income before realized investment gains or losses or the effects of changes in accounting principles, was $9,569,000 ($.53 per share) and $44,265,000 ($2.47 per share) for the fourth quarter and year ended Dec. 31, 1992. The corresponding 1991 amounts were $13,106,000 ($.73 per share) and $51,407,000 ($2.88 per share), respectively. Operating income includes the adverse impact of the weather-related losses described above.
 William R. Berkley, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, noted that, "The results reported for 1992 reflect not only the worst year of catastrophic losses in the history of the industry but also the consequences of the last several years of price competition in the property and casualty business. We continued throughout the year to build for the future. The three new insurance enterprises started during 1992 and our recently announced reinsurance venture will insure the continued strengthening of our strategic position."
 W. R. Berkley Corporation is a holding company whose subsidiaries operate in three major segments of the insurance business: regional property casualty insurance; specialty lines of insurance (including excess and surplus lines, commercial transportation and reinsurance); and insurance services operations (including management of alternative insurance market mechanisms)
 The comparative figures are as follows:
 W. R. BERKLEY CORPORATION
 (Amounts in thousands except per share data)
 Periods ended Three months Year ended
 Dec. 31 1992 1991 1992 1991
 Revenues:
 Net premiums written $98,710 $91,938 $417,678 $411,660
 Change in unearned premiums 5,131 7,135 (1,675) (3,527)
 Premiums earned 103,841 99,073 416,003 408,133
 Net investment income 22,223 21,562 91,629 85,103
 Management fees and
 commission income earned 13,842 12,112 54,734 50,148
 Realized gains (losses)
 on investments (A) 959 (2,007) 3,356 (4,823)
 Other income 662 444 1,478 2,690
 Total revenues 141,527 131,184 567,200 541,251
 Operating costs and expenses:
 Losses and loss expenses (79,635) (70,643) (308,723) (293,706)
 Other operating costs
 and expenses (46,568) (43,976) (184,690) (176,843)
 Interest expense (4,896) (2,716) (19,266) (10,618)
 Income before Federal income
 taxes and cumulative
 effect of change in
 accounting principle 10,428 13,849 54,521 60,084
 Federal income tax provision (226) (2,750) (8,041) (13,500)
 Net income before cumulative
 effect of change in
 accounting principle 10,202 11,099 46,480 46,584
 Cumulative effect of change
 in accounting principle (B) -- -- 5,902 --
 Net income (A,B) 10,202 11,099 52,382 46,584
 Per share:
 Net income before cumulative
 effect of change in
 accounting principle .57 .62 2.59 2.61
 Cumulative effect of change
 in accounting principle (B) -- -- .33 --
 Net income (A,B) .57 .62 2.92 2.61
 Average shares outstanding 17,990 17,896 17,942 17,862
 (A) Results of operations include, on an after-tax basis, realized gains on investments of $633,000 ($.04 per share) and $2,215,000 ($.12 per share) for the three and twelve months ended Dec. 31, 1992, respectively. For the comparable 1991 periods, results of operations include, on an after-tax basis, realized investment losses on investments of $2,007,000 ($.11 per share) and $4,823,000 ($.27 per share), respectively.
 (B) During the fourth quarter of 1992, the company adopted SFAS 109, Accounting for Income Taxes. In accordance with the provisions of this statement, the cumulative effect increases, by restatement, net income for the first quarter of 1992 by $5,902,000 ($.33 per share). In addition, net income of each of the first three quarters of 1992 were restated by an aggregate amount of $815,000 ($.05 per share) to reflect an increase in the Federal income tax provision applicable to realized investment gains.
 -0- 3/4/93
 /CONTACT: John D. Vollaro, executive vice president of W.R. Berkley Corporation, 203-629-2880/
 (BKLY)


CO: W. R. Berkley Corporation ST: Connecticut IN: INS SU: ERN

AH-OS -- NY023 -- 2895 03/04/93 10:30 EST
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