I never got to ask a question at the Berkshire meeting. I was a little awed and did not even ask until about 2pm (which was silly). There was a lottery ticket system to determine who got to ask a question anyway.
So here goes (and for the most part I genuinely do not know the answer).
Insurance companies sell promises to make good real goods and services some time in the future for cash now. For example they promise to pay someone’s medical expenses or a nursing home bill say 10 years after a premium has been collected.
They mostly hold the cash receipts in cash and bonds. Berkshire also use some real assets (eg railways) and many banking stocks.
Because insurance companies are short real goods and services and long cash and other nominal assets they negatively affected by inflation. Long tail insurance companies are obviously worse hit with inflation than short tail companies.
Can you run through the major Berkshire insurance businesses (GEICO, Gen Re, Ajit Jain’s business and others) and tell us what damage inflation will do and why?
Answers are gratefully accepted – especially from Uncles Charlie and Warren (who I somehow doubt read this blog).
PS. I should disclose because people are doubting it – that Bronte Capital is LONG Berkshire stock.
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