QBE Insurance Group Expects to Post a Loss

QBE Insurance Group Expects to Post a LossQBE Insurance Group Ltd(QBE. AU) said this year it expects to post a $250 million net loss due to write downs and unexpectedly large claims after weak crop prices struck its operations in the U. S., sending shares in Australia's biggest insurer down 20 percent.

QBE has already come up with a string of earnings disappointments and the profit warning was the latest. QBE has completed more than 75 acquisitions in the past 10 years to expand to 50 countries and grappled with hefty claims from at least one major market for each of the past few years.

The profit warning knocked QBE's shares, sending them as much as 21% lower when trading resumed on Monday after being stalled at the end of last week.

QBE said, after a business review which focused mainly on its North American operations, it would take a US$600 million goodwill-impairment charge, mostly for its North American operations, as well as a US$150 million impairment hit against the assets of QBE Financial Partner Services. On top of this, it would write down the remaining value of the U. S. unit's intangible assets. It noted its reserve against claims in past years had increased by US$650 million in 2013, once more owing to its North American business.

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