WR Berkley has reported revenue of $1.18bn for the fourth quarter of 2009, an increase of 9% compared to $1.08bn for the same period last year.

The company posted an operating income of $118m, compared to $124m, for the same period last year. The overall return on equity was 17.6%, and the operating return on equity was 15.5%.

For the quarter, net income was $134m, or 81 cents per share, up from $40m, or 24 cents per share for the same period a year ago. The net premiums written were $828m, compared to $888m for the same period last year.

William Berkley, chairman and chief executive officer of WR Berkley, said: “Underwriting performance was in line with our expectations and investment returns are approaching their historic levels. Operating return on equity of 15.5% reached our target even as we continued to invest in new operating units that will better position us for the future.

“In the fourth quarter, the company repurchased 4.6 million shares of its common stock, and in January of 2010 we repurchased another 3.8 million shares. As our earnings generate capital in excess of what our business requires, we will evaluate how to use the excess in our already well-capitalized business. We are expecting to achieve our goal of a 15% return on equity for the year and continue to be positive on the opportunities for our company.”