QBE releases performance update for Q1

"We're making good progress," says CEO Andrew Horton

QBE releases performance update for Q1

Insurance News

By Terry Gangcuangco

QBE Insurance Group has published its performance update for the first quarter of 2024, reporting a slight increase in gross written premium (GWP) in the period.

In Q1 of this year, QBE’s GWP amounted to US$7.8 billion, a 2% leap from the US$7.6 billion posted in the same three-month span in 2023.

In its update, the insurer noted: “Group-wide renewal rate increases of 7.3% were in line with expectations, and reflected reduced rate increases across certain property and reinsurance lines compared to the prior corresponding period.

“Excluding rate increases, premiums declined by 2% in constant currency due to lower Crop premium, and property portfolio exits in North America and Australia. Excluding Crop, group gross written premium and ex-rate growth was 9% and 3%, respectively.

“In Crop, organic growth is expected to partially offset the impact of lower commodity prices, and QBE currently estimates that Crop gross written premium will be ~US$3.9B in FY24.”

The group also achieved what it described as strong investment returns for the quarter, thanks to favourable returns in the risk asset portfolio and supportive interest rates. QBE’s total investment income in Q1 stood at US$406 million.

Commenting on the numbers, chief executive Andrew Horton (pictured) stated: “In summary, we’ve had a good start to the year. Markets remain supportive, with continued momentum in gross written premium, while underwriting performance is tracking to plan.”

Horton, whose camp welcomed former Direct Line Group chief executive Penny James as an independent non-executive director on January 1, also declared: “In all we’re making good progress against both our financial plan for the year, and our strategic agenda.”

Meanwhile, in addition to its quarterly performance, QBE provided an update on the insurer’s claims figures for the first four months.

“In the four months to April 2024, the net cost of catastrophe claims is ~US$300 million, which compares to QBE’s catastrophe allowance for 1H24 of US$609 million,” QBE said. “Catastrophe costs were underscored by a number of storm events, predominantly in Australia and North America.”

For the full year, QBE is forecasting its combined operating ratio to be around 93.5%.

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