Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B) is an American multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, United States, that oversees and manages a number of subsidiary companies. The company averaged an annual growth in book value of 20.3% to its shareholders for the last 44 years, while employing large amounts of capital, and minimal debt. Berkshire Hathaway stock produced a total return of 76% from 2000–2010 versus a negative 11.3% return for the S&P 500.
The company is well known for its control by celebrity investor Warren Buffett, who is the company's chairman and CEO. Buffett has used the "float" provided by Berkshire Hathaway's insurance operations (paid premiums which are not held in reserves for reported claims and may be invested) to finance his investments. In the early part of his career at Berkshire, he focused on long-term investments in publicly quoted stocks, but more recently he has turned to buying whole companies. Berkshire now owns a diverse range of businesses including confectionery, retail, railroad, home furnishings, encyclopedias, manufacturers of vacuum cleaners, jewelry sales; newspaper publishing; manufacture and distribution of uniforms; as well as several regional electric and gas utilities.
According to the Forbes Global 2000 List Berkshire Hathaway is the eighth largest public company in the world.
Established in 1879 in Chicago, Bankers Life and Casualty Company focuses on the insurance needs of the retirement market. The nationwide company, a subsidiary of CNO Financial Group, Inc. (formerly Conseco), offers a broad portfolio of life and health insurance retirement products designed especially for seniors.
Bankers has more than 1.3 million policyholders and offers a comprehensive portfolio of insurance products including long-term care and life insurance, annuities, and Medicare products including supplement plans, Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Bankers also offers vision and dental plans through a partnership with Humana.
The company sells its products through a network of over 5,000 insurance agents based in over 200 nationwide branch offices.
In business since 1879, the company was developed and owned by Chicago insurance man John D. MacArthur since 1935. At the time of his death in 1978, control of the company passed to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, a major charitable institution in the U.S. The foundation later sold Bankers Life and Casualty Company.
Today, Bankers is a subsidiary of CNO Financial Group, Inc., a holding company for a group of insurance companies operating throughout the United States.
As of 2010, Bankers has $13 billion in assets under management. In 2010, Bankers processed more than seven million claims and paid out more than $1.1 billion in policy benefits.
Bankers was named one of the top 10 long-term care insurers in 2009 by LIMRA.
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