NU Online News Service, Nov. 7, 12:49 p.m. EDT

Third-quarter net income at Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway fell about 24 percent to $2.28 billion on more than $2.4 billion in losses on derivatives.

Berkshire Hathaway reported third-quarter net income of $2.99 billion in 2010.

The company, which includes insurance and reinsurance segments among many others, posts $3.81 billion in operating income, compared to $2.79 billion during the same quarter a year ago.

For the first nine months, profit at Berkshire Hathaway is $7.21 billion compared to $8.59 billion last year.

Much of Berkshire’s third-quarter profit—nearly half—was generated by $1.09 billion in insurance underwriting, but income generated by insurance-segment investments fell to $783 million from $873 million for the 2010 third quarter.

  At Geico, third-quarter premiums earned were up 8.3 percent to $3.91 billion, but loss and loss-adjustment expenses during the quarter increased $415 million, or 15.5 percent, to $3.79 billion—resulting in a pre-tax underwriting gain of $114 million compared to $289 million a year ago.

Catastrophe losses at Geico during the third quarter were $116 million compared to $16 million last year.

Underwriting expenses during the third quarter and first nine months increased nearly 10 percent and 11 percent, respectively, as the company has added to its advertising and payroll to generate new business and service the business it has.

At Berkshire’s General Reinsurance unit, property and casualty premiums earned during the third quarter were $750 million, relatively unchanged from the same period a year ago.

P&C results include catastrophe losses of $126 million in the third quarter.

In its earnings filing, Berkshire says, “Price competition in most property and casualty lines persists. Our underwriters continue to exercise discipline by not accepting offers to write business where prices are deemed inadequate. We remain prepared to increase volumes should market conditions improve.”