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QBE reports full year loss

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Insurer QBE has suffered a $US254 million ($A282.00 million) full year loss due to problems with its North American business.

The loss for the 2013 calendar year is a sharp deterioration from the $US761 million profit recorded for 2012.

The result included $US1.245 billion in amortisation and impairment charges, including a $US600 million goodwill writedown to its US operations.

QBE’s North American operations reported a $US715 million slide in premiums to $US5.85 billion, which offset stronger performances from its Australian, European, Asian and Latin American businesses.

The company made a cash profit, which excludes one off costs, of $US761 million, down from $US1.04 billion a year ago.

Meanwhile, QBE’s insurance profit margin fell to 5.5 per cent, from eight per cent in 2012.

But chief executive John Neal said the company was on track to deliver an improved performance in 2014.

“Key leading indicators in 2013, including an underlying insurance profit margin in excess of 10 per cent and a current accident year central estimate combined operating ratio of 92.5 per cent, enable us to target a markedly improved performance in 2014,” he said.

The company announced a fully franked final dividend of 12 cents per cent, up from 10 cents per share a year ago.

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