Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Insurance Review & Complaints: Commercial Auto, Property and Casualty & Worker’s Compensation Insurance

Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies writes commercial auto insurance, property and casualty, and workers compensation policies. They purchased GEICO in 1996 but continue to write insurance policies under their own name. Berkshire Hathaway Homestate reviews find the company to be a stable provider of specialized insurance products.

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Jun 1, 2022

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Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies

Financial Strength

Berkshire Hathaway is a multinational conglomerate with holdings in multiple industries – including one of the biggest names in insurance and some lesser-known insurance brands. It is the fourth-largest publicly-traded company in the world as ranked by Forbes, and it sits at number 3 on the Fortune 500 for 2018.

Who is Berkshire Hathaway Homestate?

The company started as the Valley Falls Company, a successful textile business in its namesake city in Rhode Island. A 1929 merger with the now Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Insurance Company brought in the first of the current company’s names; the second came from a 1955 merger with Hathaway Manufacturing.

The insurance-focused company is owned by famed billionaire Warren Buffett, who became on of the shareholders in the company in 1962. The company first bought a stake in a company then known as Government Employees Insurance Company in the 1970s – Buffett completed the purchase of that company, now known as Geico, in 1996. Geico is the second-largest auto insurer in the country. The American corporate empire is now headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, and owns many brands.

Other insurance interests include Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies (BHHC), which writes commercial insurance policies. Other insurance subsidiaries under Buffetts lead include WestGUARD (operating as Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance companies), Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, and United States Liability Insurance Group. They write personal and commercial auto policies, coverage for injured workers, and casualty insurance.

For the purpose of this review, we will provide an overview of the two branded companies; you can see our review of Geico here.

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What Insurance Service Offered?

The United States-based insurance carrier focuses on a specific type of insurance, although there is some overlap.

Homestate Companies

This group of companies in the United States writes commercial insurance, including commercial auto, property and casualty, and worker’s compensation coverage. Product availability varies by state.

Commercial auto is offered in 30 states, having recently expanded into South Dakota and Mississippi. They write policies for local and long-range trucking, public auto transportation, non-emergency medical transportation, charter buses, and more.

Commercial Property policies are available in 47 states and cover more than 150 classes of business. The site states that they specialize in hard to place non-standard risks. They also cover vacant buildings and dwellings, rental dwellings, and real estate owned and force-placed properties.

Public Entity insurance coverage is offered in a select area of mainly Midwestern states. Products are designed for small to medium communities.

Worker’s Compensation is also available for a wide variety of companies in 47 states.

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance

In the U.S., The insurer writes a variety of commercial and personal insurance policies.

Their Executive and Professional Lines products are designed for financial institutions, public companies, private companies, and non-profits. Executive liability, professional liability, and transactional liability products are all available. Their underwriters also write workers compensation insurance policies.

Healthcare Professional Liability is available for healthcare professionals, practices, managed care, and senior care among others. Medical Stop Loss is also offered.

Warren Buffett’s insurance company also has targeted commercial insurance programs that include a variety of coverages to suit the particular needs of each industry. Target areas include affinity associations, allied healthcare, builder’s risk, event liability, miscellaneous professional, CAT liability, and admitted multi-line commercial.

Casualty products include general liability and liability coverage for energy, transpiration, and life sciences sectors.

Finally, property insurance policies are available for many different industries, including marine. A wide variety of surety bonds are also available.

On the personal lines end of things, the company writes homeowners insurance aimed at high-value homes and seasonal and vacation homes, specifically on the east coast.

The company also writes a variety of travel insurance policies such as travel convenience, travel accident, and travel insurance coverage directed at travel agents, tour guides, and others in the travel industry.

Are Rates Expensive?

Insurance premiums are not available for any of the programs and products listed above from either company. Given that these are specialty programs for the most part, it is expected that an annual premium quote would be provided based on detailed information and with the assistance of an agent or broker; online insurance premium quotes are unlikely to be accurate or useful when seeking this type of coverage.

The auto insurance rates through GEICO are competitive, but premiums, casualty coverage, and other specialized rates aren’t readily available. If you’re looking for such as the cost of workers’ comp insurance,

How are Claims Processed?

Berkshire Hathaway Homestate only has online claims reporting as an option for Worker’s Compensation claims. All others can be filed over the phone or by fax, email, or regular mail.

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty has online claims reporting for only one product as well – Ocean Marine. All others can be filed by phone, email, fax or regular mail. Contact information varies based on the type of policy. Travel policies are handled by Travelex, and claims can be handled via that company’s website or to Berkshire Hathaway Inc directly.

There is not much information on the claims process, but that is what we expect from these companies given the type of insurance policy they write.

Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, they have made it easier to submit claims and access professional services all digitally. Much of the updates can be found at www bhhccovid19 com.

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Are Ratings and Consumer Reviews Positive?

We had difficulty locating Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings for the first of the two companies. The BBB page for the Homestate Companies headquarters shows an NR (not rated) and states that complaints are handled by another BBB, but not where to look. The company has been accredited since 1981.

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance has an A rating with the BBB. Three complaints were filed in the past three years, and one was closed in the past 12 months.

The Berkshire Hathaway name can make it hard to find a solid source of reviews since they own so many companies. The fact that nothing major appears for either of these companies is, however, in their favor.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Buffett’s branded insurance businesses write specialized products that keep them off the radar of the general public, but they are big in the workers’ compensation premiums business and other areas. This business run by Warren Buffett owns many brands. The American company has a superior, complex, and varied array of products and is backed by very solid financial strength, which makes them a reliable choice for insurance in the United States. If you are in the market for these superior specialty products, Berkshire Hathaway is well worth a closer look.

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