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QBE Insurance H1 net profit climbs YOY on solid underwriting result

QBE Insurance Group Ltd. reported higher net profit year over year in the first half of 2018 on the back of stronger underwriting performance in its North American and European operations.

The company's first-half profit after income tax attributable to ordinary equity holders totaled US$358 million, or 26.3 cents per share, up 4% from US$345 million, or 25.0 cents per share, in the prior-year period.

Statutory net profit after tax climbed 4% to US$358 million during the period, while cash profit after tax increased by 3% to US$385 million.

Underwriting result jumped to US$260 million in the first half from US$185 million in the prior-year period, driven by a stronger underwriting performance in both North American and European operations. Combined operating ratio was 95.4% in the first half, compared with 96.8% in the prior-year period.

First-half adjusted net profit after tax fell 18% year over year to US$380 million, reflecting a reduced level of positive prior-accident-year claims development and lower investment returns.

Gross written premiums increased to US$7.89 billion from US$7.59 billion in the prior-year period, while net earned premiums slightly dropped to US$5.65 billion from US$5.70 billion in the first half of 2017.

The group's insurance profit jumped year over year to US$450 million in the first half from US$417 million. Its insurance profit margin in the first half increased to 8.0% from 7.3% in the prior-year period.

For 2018, QBE Insurance expects its combined operating ratio to be between 95.0% and 97.0% and its investment return to be between 2.25% and 2.75%.