Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Expands in Australia, Opens New Zealand Office

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Annual Shareholders Meeting
Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., center, laughs with Bill Gates, chairman and founder of Microsoft Corp. and a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. director, left, as they play bridge during a shareholder event on the sidelines of the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., on Sunday, May 3, 2015. More than 40,000 people were expected to attend yesterday's Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, which marks Warren Buffett's 50th year running the company. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Warren Buffett; Bill Gates

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is adding an office in New Zealand and expanding its operations in Australia as part of a push to sell more commercial insurance globally.

The specialty-insurance unit is underwriting property and casualty coverage through a new office in Auckland, the company said Monday in a statement. Berkshire also announced it will sell policies to hospitals and medical practices in Australia, led by former American International Group Inc. executive Tony Bainbridge.

Buffett, 84, hired four executives from AIG in 2013 to start Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Co. The unit has operations in regions including Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. Former AIG executive Cameron McLisky will lead the expansion in New Zealand.

“We open our doors in Auckland with a highly experienced team, a broad appetite for property and casualty risks and a commitment to providing responsive and enduring solutions to the marketplace,” BHSI Chief Executive Officer Peter Eastwood said in the statement.

The announcements build on another deal that Berkshire struck in the region. Buffett’s company said this month that it would take an equity stake in and assume some risk from Insurance Australia Group Ltd., one of the country’s largest carriers.

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