QBE's Lloyd's operation saw its profits fall in 2005, despite reporting record group profits of nearly A$1.1bn.

Limit saw its profits fall by nearly 10% to A$216m from A$239m in 2004. Gross written premiums decreased to A$2,236m in 2005 from A$2,309m in 2004.

In contrast, QBE reported a 27% increase in group operating profits after tax to A$1,091m from A$820m in 2004.

QBE blamed the deterioration in Limit's performance on catastrophe claims. Net claims from large catastrophes were A$285m compared with A$140m in 2004.

Limit's overall combined ratio increased to 94.5% from 91.6%.

But the combined ratio for Limit's general insurance business improved to 90.2% from 91.4%. QBE said this reflected the "lower frequency of claims on non-catastrophe exposed business".

Meanwhile, QBE Insurance (Europe), Limit's sister operation in the European division, saw its profit increase to A$328m in 2005 from A$171m. Gross written premiums increased to A$2,558m from A$2,301m in 2004.

The combined ratio for the general insurance business improved to 84.5% from 89.1%.