Warren Buffett's retreat from "volatile" catastrophic property damage reinsurance gets a spotlight in today's (Monday) Wall Street Journal.
Under the 5-column headline "Berkshire Tones Down Risky Business" (subscribers only) above the fold of the Money & Investing section, Scott Patterson notes that Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance brought in premiums of $955 million last year for catastrophic and individual risk reinsurance.
That's down from $2.2 billion in 2006 and $1.6 billion in 2007.
The Journal points out that Berkshire's cash level is down to about $20 billion and the company may not want to risk being on the hook if this year's hurricane season is particularly nasty. "Its retreat ... suggests it has become more risk averse amid a recent downgrade to its credit rating, a series of hits to Berkshire's bottom line and ongoing turmoil in the economy."