QBE is putting the £80m retail division of Iron Trades and its motor website into run-off after failing to find a buyer despite making 50 approaches.

It comes just a week after QBE general manager Bob Grant quit the group following a bust-up with chief executive Frank O'Hallaron.

The shock announcement is a severe blow to the Australian insurer, which acquired Iron Trades last December for £175m.

After a strategic review, the insurer announced in April that it was immediately closing the £38.6m book of the provincial division and selling the retail division, the motor website and the £13m healthcare book, subsequently bought by Groupama.

At the time O'Halloran said selling these assets had been reflected in the purchase price.

QBE will now be left with the core liability business of Iron Trades. It successfully acquired the Lloyd's managing agency Limit in June after out-bidding Wellington. QBE upped its offer to 140p per Limit share, valuing it at around £375m.