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Berkshire Hathaway’s origins trace back to Rhode Island in 1839, with the merger of two textile companies. These manufacturers would continue to merge and grow over the ensuing decades, eventually breaking into insurance in 1967 under the guidance of CEO Warren Buffett. Buffett continues to head the company and is one of the wealthiest and best-known businessmen in the country.
As a holding company, Berkshire Hathaway has financial interests in a number of major companies, including GEICO. It also operates the Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies, a cluster of six individual insurance companies that are sold through the same venues. The BHHC companies sell products in commercial auto and property as well as public entity and workers compensation insurance.
Commercial Auto Insurance
Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies sells commercial auto insurance for a variety of operations, including trucking companies, public transportation businesses, and charter vehicles. Policies come with high limits, up to $5 million, to cover the needs of these specialty vehicles.
Businesses with a focus on transporting people, rather than goods, are eligible for additional liability protection. These policies are available through BHHC’s “Public Auto” policies, which offer protection for churches, day care centers, limousine companies, and similar businesses.
In either case, commercial auto policies include coverage for liability, uninsured motorist protection, and insurance against physical damage to the vehicle while in use or in storage. Some policies also include coverage for cargo being shipped and medical protection for the driver and passengers. In situations where the insured vehicle will be driven by someone other than the owner, additional hired-driver insurance is available.
Commercial Property Insurance
BHHC offers commercial property insurance in all states except Texas, Florida and Hawaii. A variety of properties can be insured through the company, with a special focus on protection for rental buildings, vacant dwellings, and other forms of real estate.
More specialized commercial property insurance is available for hotels, warehouses, nursing homes, and other similar company structures. The exact coverages offered by BHHC will depend on the type of structure being insured, and pricing is dependent on the risk associated with the property.
Aside from insurance for commercial vehicles and property, BHHC also offers public entity protection for community buildings and their associated needs. This protection is available throughout the Midwest, offering insurance for cities, counties and villages as well as non-metropolitan locations.
Insurance for government entities includes property insurance as well as coverage for building ordinances, law enforcement liability, public official errors & omissions protection, and umbrella liability. The exact coverages offered will depend on the needs of the community being insured.
BHHC also sells workers compensation insurance in 46 states.
Business insurance is typically highly specialized, and rates can vary dramatically depending on the risk factors of the business and what is ultimately covered. Any business considering Berkshire Hathaway for their insurance coverage should seek a licensed agent or agency that can walk them through the quote process.
The BHHC Claims Center can be found on the company’s website in the top menu bar. Online claims reporting is available for each of the policies sold through the company. As each form is different, be sure to select the right line of insurance when submitting the claim as this will provide you with the appropriate information on how to proceed.
The 24/7 claims hotline is also available at the following numbers:
- 800-356-5750 – Commercial auto, commercial property and public entity
- 800-661-6029 – Workers compensation
In general, once a claim has been reported, it will be assigned to an adjuster who will investigate the loss and applicable coverages, then proceed with settling the claim as appropriate. In the case of commercial claims, the company may choose to handle the settlement as a reimbursement rather than waiting for the adjuster to approve payment before repairs are completed.
Berkshire Hathaway is listed on the Better Business Bureau website with an “A+” rating, and it has been accredited since 1981. There are just three complaints listed in the last three years. This may be due to the company dealing only with commercial businesses, where complaints to the BBB are not as common as for companies that deal with regular consumers.
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Berkshire Hathaway is one of the most respected companies in the United States, and their business insurance divisions (Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies) does not disappoint. They boast some of the strongest financials of any business insurance company, and have little to no complaints found on many top consumer advocacy websites.
Businesses looking for stability in their insurance company should check out Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.