Category Archives: Insurance

Return to Tower Group

A while ago, I wrote a piece on Tower Group after its stock price imploded, before it went down more, and attracted an acquisition offer from entities affiliated with the main owner of AmTrust Financial Services for $3/share.  Here’s another letter, from a different respective reader: Hello, David: I’ve been a longtime reader of your […]

Managing Berkshire Hathaway by Committee?

While reading about portfolio companies today, I ended up reading this piece about Berkshire Hathaway.  Not that great of an article, and it got worse when I read this: Then there is the big question, “Who will replace Warren Buffett (Trades, Portfolio)?” He is now 83 years old. There is no official word on who […]

On the Structure of Berkshire Hathaway, Part 2, the Harney Investment Trust

In Omaha, there is Farnam Street.  Among value investors, it is well-known, because the small main office of Berkshire Hathaway [BRK] is located there.  Less well known is Harney Street, but from an insurance standpoint it is important, because Berkshire Hathaway’s largest insurance subsidiary, National Indemnity, is located there.  One of the major assets of […]

On the Structure of Berkshire Hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway [BRK] is a unique company.  You have a property-casualty insurance giant owning many businesses directly through insurance subsidiaries, including huge businesses like a Class 1 Railroad — BNSF. Yes, National Indemnity owns BNSF in entire, and many other businesses as well.  I thought the pre-crisis org chart of AIG was complex — because […]

Thoughts on the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Letter & Report

I’m going to try to take this topically.  Here goes: On Acquisitions Buffett still has a strong desire for more acquisitions.  After $18B to buy 52.6% of Heinz (counting in the low strike warrants), and all of NV Energy through MidAmerican, there were additional bolt-on acquisitions $3.1B after additional payments of $3.5B to buy the rest of […]

On Position Sizing in Equity Long-Short Hedge Funds

This article is prompted by the following article by John Hempton of Bronte Capital.  This is not meant as a criticism of him; I have nothing but respect for him.  The article triggered memories of my own experiences with position sizing at a hedge fund. The hedge fund I once worked for had great expertise […]