NU Online News Service, May 3, 1:35 p.m. EDT

W. R. Berkley Corp. has announced the formation of Verus Underwriting Managers, LLC, and the appointment of surplus lines insurance industry veteran Dale Pilkington to head up the new unit as president.

W.R. Berkley said on Friday that the new underwriting manager will be based in Richmond, Va. It will underwrite property and casualty E&S coverages on behalf of its member insurance companies.

Mr. Pilkington, a former vice president of the National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices, Ltd., has more than 30 years of experience. Most recently, he served as president of Argo Group’s U.S. operations.

Commenting on Mr. Pilkington’s appointment at Verus, William R. Berkley, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Securing the services of outstanding people, such as Dale, provides us with a tremendous competitive advantage as we increase our presence in the specialty insurance segment of the industry.”

Prior to his 1997 appointment as Argo U.S. president, Mr. Pilkington was president of Colony insurance, a unit of Argo.

During a 2006 interview, Mr. Pilkington told NU (http://tinyurl.com/2wh2upk) that his career started in 1978 with General Reinsurance. Other positions included a stint with wholesaler Crump in Memphis and leadership of a specialty retail operation. He said he joined Colony Insurance in its early days as an E&S carrier, when the company was spun off from the risk management department of a Fortune 500 company called Figgie International.

Argo announced Mr. Pilkington’s decision to leave the group in 2009. He also stepped down from the NAPSLO board of directors, giving up his position as NAPSLO vice president to comply with the organizations bylaw requirements which required affiliation with a NAPSLO member firm.

Greenwich, Conn.-based W.R. Berkley is an insurance holding company operating in five segments of the p&c insurance business: specialty insurance, regional property and casualty insurance, alternative markets, reinsurance, and international.