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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Dec 2014

Ajit Jain’s mind an ‘idea factory’, says Warren Buffett

Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times  Washington, March 03, 2014
First Published: 00:05 IST(3/3/2014) | Last Updated: 02:06 IST(3/3/2014)

Billionaire investor Warren Buffet always finds nice things to say about his trusted lieutenants in his annual reports. Indian-born Ajit Jain tends to get the best mention. He has, once again.

“Ajit’s mind is an idea factory that is always looking for more lines of business he can add to his current assortment,” Buffet said about Jain in the 2013 annual report of Berkshire Hathaway released on Saturday.

Jain heads Berkshire’s Reinsurance Group, which is among the largest operations of the group and among the world’s biggest reinsurers.

“Ajit insures risks that no one else has the desire or the capital to take on,” said Buffet, adding, “His operation combines capacity, speed, decisiveness and, most important, brains in a manner unique in the business.”

The group is so well-positioned as a result that should the insurance industry suffer a $250 billion mega-catastrophe, Berkshire as a whole would likely record a profit, said Buffet.

Jain is probably accustomed to praise from Buffet. Take a look:

2012 report: If you meet Ajit at the annual meeting, bow deeply.

2011: Charlie (vice-chairman Charles Munger) would gladly trade me for a second Ajit. Alas, there is none.

2010: Even kryptonite bounces off Ajit.

2009: If Charlie, I and Ajit are in a sinking boat, and you can only save one of us, swim to Ajit.

2008: Ajit came to Berkshire in 1986. I realised that we had acquired an extraordinary talent. So I did the logical thing: I wrote his parents in New Delhi and asked if they had another one like him at home. Of course, I knew the answer before writing. There isn’t anyone like Ajit.

In the 2009 annual report, Buffet described that moment — when Jain joined the company: “a hugely important event in Berkshire’s history”, occurring on a Saturday in 1985.

“Ajit Jain came into our office in Omaha – and I immediately knew we had found a superstar.”


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