QBE, the Australian insurer, which actually derives over 80 percent of its business from outside the country, ended its 20 year record of increasing profits with the announcement that of a $13 million loss for 2001.
Right up until yesterday, most analysts had expected the company to report a small profit, but the $131 million in net losses from the Sept. 11 attacks proved to be just a bit too much to overcome. The company posted an overall loss from insurance operations last year of $62 million, compared to a $97 million profit in 2000.
It expects to bounce back strongly in 2002. QBE raised an additional $348 million in new capital from an oversubscribed stock issue in November, so it has plenty of capacity. It has lowered its participation in Lloyd’s syndicates – it was the largest single investor last year – and expects to write gross written premiums of around $3.85 billion this year.
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