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Berkshire Hires CNA’s Fortune as Buffett Builds Insurer

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. hired Dan Fortin as senior vice president of executive and professional-lines coverage at its new insurance unit as the business adds staff to compete with larger rivals.

Fortin joins from CNA Financial Corp.’s specialty business, where he was responsible for management and professional-liability insurance for almost a decade, according to a statement today from Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance.

Peter Eastwood and three other American International Group Inc. executives formed the business for Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based firm in April to compete with their former employer and other carriers. The insurer had about 40 employees and was planning further hires, Eastwood said in an interview last week. The business has begun writing some property coverage and will also sell casualty policies, primarily in the U.S.

“We are moving into commercial insurance in a substantial way,” Buffett, Berkshire’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement last week. Berkshire Hathaway Specialty is a “solution for customers seeking large-scale property and casualty capacity for the long term.”

AIG had about 15,000 people in its U.S. property-casualty unit at the end of 2012, selling products from directors-and-officers’ liability policies to commercial property coverage. Chicago-based CNA, the insurer majority owned by Loews Corp., had about 7,500 employees as of Dec. 31.

“We want to congratulate Dan,” said Sarah Pang, a spokeswoman for CNA. “He left a strong team behind.”

Fortin received a bachelor’s degree from Villanova University and a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, according to today’s statement.

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