QBE blames government support of AIG for artificially lowered rates

Commercial property rates have reached historic lows, with little chance of improving in 2010, QBE’s managing director, property, Bernard Mageean, said this week.

Mageean outlined QBE’s ambitions to grow into a leading player in the property market at a press conference held in London on Thursday.

Currently, the Australian insurer has a 3% market share. It wants 10% within the next few years. RSA is currently the market leader with 18.2%, closely followed by Aviva with 17.5%.

Mageean said there was no sign of uplift in rates, but that insurer appetite for commercial property risks was still strong.

He said rates had been artificially kept down by US government support for Chartis, formerly known as AIG. Had the insurer been allowed to go bust last year, it would have been a market-changing event.