QIC profits fall to $115m
Qatar Insurance Group made a net profit of $115 million in 2017, compared with $284 million the previous year.
Khalifa Abdulla Turki Al Subaey, group president and CEO of QIC Group said: “In the face of unprecedented market adversity, QIC has proven its resilience and maintained its leading position across the MENA region. At the same time, we have continued to expand our global footprint, positioning us well for any market-hardening going forward.
“QIC reaffirms its vision to develop into a global top 50 insurance group. In this endeavour, our focus on sustainable and profitable growth, based on underwriting and investment management excellence, in combination with superior cost-efficiency, will remain unchanged.”
For the year, the group’s net written premiums were $2.6 billion, an increase of about $300 million. Return on equity was 5.1 per cent, compared to 14.7 per cent in 2016, while the non-life combined ratio rose from 98 per cent to 105.8 per cent, year-on-year.
The group noted that 2017 was a challenging year for the global insurance industry due to the exceptional natural catastrophe events impacting the US, such as hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
In a statement it said: “The impact has been exacerbated by the sequential nature of the windstorms that caused a total industry loss of up to $100 billion. Through its global operations Qatar Re and Antares’s Lloyd’s syndicate 1274, QIC was significantly impacted by these unprecedented natural catastrophic events. However, these losses were well within QIC’s risk appetite and tolerance limits.”
The group said the three major US and Caribbean hurricanes were an earnings event only, adding 6.8 percentage points to the group’s non-life combined ratio.
Another major event that hit insurers operating in the UK market, where QIC Group had exposure through its international operations, was the sharp and unexpected reduction of the Ogden discount rate in the first quarter in 2017. This revision forced insurers to increase their loss reserves. The industry-wide impact of Ogden is estimated to be $10 billion in additional loss reserves.
QIC Group generated a net underwriting result of $32 million in 2017, down by 86 per cent compared with the previous year. The group believes it is well positioned to benefit from any upswing in global (re)insurance rates.
QIC’s gross written premiums in 2017 were $3.2 billion, an increase of 18 per cent compared with 2016. Key growth engines were Bermudian-based Qatar Re, Antares and QIC Europe Limited which now account for approximately 75 per cent of the group’s total GWP.
Since June 5 last year, when the regional diplomatic stand-off began, Qatar’s key stock market index has shed about 17 per cent of its value. However, QIC stated that despite these political and other unrelated economic turbulences in the Middle East, the group’s net investment result amounted to $248 million in 2017, up 11.3 per cent year-on-year “further adding to a long track record of superior investment performance based on a careful diversification across geographies and asset classes”.
As of December 31, QIC Group’s shareholders’ equity stood at $2.2 billion.
Meanwhile, the group said Qatar Re continued to benefit from its Bermuda domicile’s Solvency II equivalency and proximity to the world’s largest insurance market, the US, combined with a strong local presence in the major reinsurance hubs of Zurich, London, Singapore and Dubai.
Qatar Re has acquired Markerstudy’s Gibraltar-based insurance companies, namely, Markerstudy Insurance Company Limited, Zenith Insurance PLC, St Julians Insurance Company Limited and Ultimate Insurance Company Limited (which is subject to regulatory approval). These companies write more than 5 per cent of the UK motor insurance market, a book of about £750 million.
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