QBE cuts profit forecast after Hurricane Sandy

QBE Insurance Group has cut its full-year insurance profit margin forecast well below an earlier estimate and analysts' expectations, hurt by superstorm Sandy, and announced a $500 million capital raising.

The warning and fund raising sent QBE shares down 14 per cent, or $1.70, to a 10-month low of $11.08 in early trade.

Australia's top insurer by premium income, QBE said it expected its 2012 insurance profit margin would now come in at about 8 per cent. That compares with 12 per cent a year earlier and the 10-11 per cent projected by analysts after Sandy battered the United States.

Disaster modelling companies expect Sandy caused as much as $US20 billion in insured losses, not counting flood damage that could add billions more to the total, hurting insurers just coming off a disastrous 2011 that saw claims from earthquakes, to floods to tsunami.

QBE said its preliminary estimate of retained losses from Sandy could be up to $US450 million ($435 million). It expects full-year net profit before amortisation to come in above $US1 billion, up 30 per cent on the previous year.


Topics:  hurricane sandy insurance stock market

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