Insurer’s capital level has been restored to ‘a strong level’, says ratings agency

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AM best has revised the ratings outlook of QBE’s four key operating divisions to stable from negative.

The ratings agency has also affirmed the financial strength rating of A for the divisions, which include the UK based QBE Insurance (Europe) and QBE Re (Europe) units.

AM Best revised QBE’s rating outlook to negative in December 2013 after large write-downs in its North American division caused the Australian insurance group to predict a loss of $250m (£165m) for the full 2013 year.

The rating agency said it had reinstated QBE’s stable outlook because the company had restored its capital to “a strong level” by a series of actions that included raising equity, refinancing debt and selling non-core assets.

It said the actions had also reduced the company’s debt levels.

The rating agency added: “A further improvement in these metrics is expected in 2015, supported by the disposal of other non-core assets.”

AM Best said QBE is unlikely to be upgraded in the near term. But it added that the stabilisation of QBE’s performance, capital and debt at a strong level could result in upgrades in the longer term.

Deterioration in operating performance, capitalisation or financial flexibility could result in downgrades.

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