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QBE : Everything you need to know

Headquarters address

Level 18, 388 George Street, Sydney, New South Wales 2000, Australia

Year established

1886

 Gross written premiums

US$18,457 million (according to 2021 annual report)

 Size (employees)

11,700+

 Global locations

Operating in 27 countries

 Underwriting expertise

Boat, car, caravan, home, landlords, motorcycle insurance, travel, accident & health, aviation, and liability insurance

 Key people

Mike Wilkins (executive chairman), Andrew Horton (group CEO)

 

About QBE

QBE Insurance Group Limited is a general insurance and reinsurance firm with operations in 27 countries. It is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and offers personal, commercial, and specialty products and risk management solutions. The company provides insurance to policyholders in more than 140 countries.

QBE’s operations are divided into five regional divisions: North America, Latin America, Europe, Australia & New Zealand, and Asia Pacific.

The North American division is an integrated specialist insurer that offers a broad spectrum of specialty, commercial, program, personal and crop insurance capabilities. It is headquartered in New York. Based in Buenos Aires, the Latin America business provides vehicle, home, travel, consortium, and agricultural insurance.

QBE Europe, meanwhile, is a specialist in business insurance and is active in both the Lloyd’s and company markets. Outside of its London headquarters, the firm operates from seven regional centres in the UK and is present in the major European markets, Dubai, Canada, and Singapore.

The Australia & New Zealand segment focuses on personal lines products such as home, motor, and compulsory third-party insurance. QBE’s Asia Pacific division provides insurance products and risk management solutions across the personal, commercial, and specialty lines markets. Its areas of operation include Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

 

History of QBE

QBE traces its roots to the foundation of The North Queensland Insurance Company Limited (QI) in October 1886. By 1890, the company was already operating 36 agencies worldwide – including in the UK, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Pacific Islands.

James Burns, one of the founders of QI, established the Bankers’ and Traders’ Insurance Company (B&T) in 1921 – with QI being the largest shareholder. In 1959, QI and B&T purchased a total of 80% of the Equitable Probate and General Insurance Company. Meanwhile, Burns and QI co-founder Robert Philp took the remaining 20%. QI and B&T merged in 1973, and the company was renamed QBE Insurance.

More recently, in July 2019, QBE stopped offering any direct insurance services to thermal coal mines and coal-fired powered stations as part of its commitment to protecting the environment. However, it continued to provide insurance services for metallurgical coal, oil, and gas companies.

 

Leadership at QBE

Mike Wilkins – Executive chairman

Wilkins moved into the role of executive chairman of QBE in September 2020. He originally joined the group’s board in November 2016 in the role of independent non-executive director and became chairman in March 2020. In total, he has more than 30 years’ experience across financial services including being managing director and CEO of Insurance Australia Group until November 2015.

Andrew Horton – Group CEO

Horton joined QBE as group chief executive officer in September 2021. He was previously the CEO, and before that the finance director, of Beazley Group, a specialist insurer based in the UK with operations in Europe, the US, and Asia. Prior to this, he held various senior finance roles in ING, NatWest, and Lloyd’s Bank.

 

Culture at QBE

QBE launched the QBE Foundation in 2011 to help people in need. Its community engagement strategy is aligned to the company’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) priorities: health and wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, financial resilience and protection of vulnerable communities, decent work and economic growth, sustainable cities and communities, and climate action.

The QBE Global Foundation Committee (GFC) develops the foundation’s community investment strategy within the context of its group-wide sustainability framework. The foundation’s initiatives comprise charity partnerships, local grants, volunteer work, workplace giving, and in-kind giving.

Each divisional committee of the QBE Foundation assesses charity partnership applications against the global and divisional strategic objectives and global eligibility criteria, including the alignment of the insurer’s vision with that of the foundation. The foundation then enters a multi-year partnership with the chosen charity, focusing on creating solutions for local communities.

The foundation’s grant program provides up to $10,000 for a charity or organisation chosen by QBE employees. The employees can also apply for matched funding of up to $5,000 annually for their personal fundraising initiatives.

QBE’s workplace giving allows employees to make regular donations to the company’s charity partners from their pre-tax salary. Meanwhile, its in-kind giving provides a wide range of donation opportunities across its divisions, including the donation of used office furniture and offering office space to local charities.

QBE : In the news