Australian insurer boosts global profits by 30%

QBE bucked the trend this week, with results that showed a 30% increase in worldwide operating profits for 2007 to A$1,925m (£907m).

However QBE Europe saw a slight fall in gross written premium, down 4% to A$5,137m. The combined operating ratio for European operations was 84.8% compared with 86.1% last year, and the insurance profit margin was 26% compared with 22.3% last year.

QBE attributed the strong underwriting results to a low level of large catastrophe claims and low attritional claims, despite an average reduction in rates of 4.5% over the year.

In Lloyd’s, QBE saw an operating ratio of 75.7% compared with 82.1% last year, and insurance profit margin of 36%, compared with 26.3% last year. Gross written premium was down 3% to A$2,634m.