W R Berkley Corporation, an insurance holding company, has formed Berkley Asset Protection Underwriters to offer products designed to protect a broad spectrum of commercial and personal assets.

Based in New York, Berkley Asset Protection Underwriters will underwrite on behalf of two W R Berkley Corporation member companies, StarNet Insurance on an admitted basis and Gemini Insurance on a surplus lines basis. Its products will include coverage for fine arts, jewelers block, fidelity/crime and related risks.

Joseph Dowd has been named as president of the new company. Mr Dowd has more than 20 years of experience in the insurance industry, all of which has been focused on asset protection.

Gregory Smith has been appointed as executive vice president, and Sean Missal and Nicholas Reynolds have each been named as vice presidents of Berkley Asset Protection Underwriters.

William Berkley, chairman of the board and CEO of W R Berkley Corporation, said: We are pleased to have added this group of talented insurance professionals to our business. The formation of Berkley Asset Protection Underwriters represents a continuation of our efforts to expand our presence in the specialty insurance market.