QBE Insurance Group Annual Report 2015

European Operations business review

“European Operations delivered a strong financial performance in 2015 despite market conditions continuing to deteriorate. The combined operating ratio was 89.1% and the insurance profit was $464 million. Gross written premium increased 5% on a constant currency basis.”

Richard Pryce
Chief Executive Officer • European Operations
European Operations business review

Made possible

Beating fraud

QBE European Operations is a UK market leader in the provision of professional indemnity insurance to solicitors, with clients ranging from the top City firms to local law firms.

During 2015 a new type of claim started to emerge as a result of ‘Friday afternoon fraud’. Solicitors were being defrauded by organised gangs using sophisticated cyber techniques, including email interception and identity theft. While we rapidly indemnified our clients to allow transactions to complete, many were not so lucky. To heighten awareness of this issue we brought together parties from across the industry under the auspices of the Association of British Insurers to agree on remedies and actions to support solicitors across the UK. In addition, our actions attracted significant coverage of this important issue in the national and legal press.

European Operations business review European Operations business review

1 Up 5% on a constant currency basis.

2 Down 5% on a constant currency basis (excluding the one-off impact of the medical malpractice reinsurance transaction).

Note: All comparative 2014 performance figures exclude the one-off impact of the medical malpractice reinsurance transaction.

2016 Outlookbutton

The outlook for 2016 remains challenging on all fronts. There is no sign of market competition abating which means that our number one priority has to be underwriting discipline. Aligned to this is a real focus on retaining our existing profitable and high quality portfolio.

We will continue to invest carefully in the business both for growth and operational efficiency. Our priorities here will not change as we build upon the excellent work already undertaken enhancing our client proposition, building our distribution platform and expanding our analytical capabilities.

Finally, we will remain vigilant to opportunities emanating from any industry disruption throughout our region.

European Operations

2015 overviewbutton

The last 12 months have been characterised by intense competition, especially in the London market.

The pricing environment deteriorated in the second half of the year and, as a consequence, rates were marginally worse than our planning assumptions. Notwithstanding the competitive landscape, our strong market position combined with increased focus on cross class client engagement helped us improve our retention ratio and selectively grow gross written premium.

To support further selective growth we made several strategic hires across the business, most notably in the last quarter when we recruited extensively to expand our real estate business.

The operational environment improved during the year and our major IT infrastructure upgrade project is on schedule to be completed early in 2016. Further positive progress has been made in the data analytics arena, especially in claims management.

The year ended on a positive note with the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) approving our Solvency II internal capital model application.

Note: All comparative 2014 performance figures exclude the one-off impact of the medical malpractice reinsurance transaction.

2015 overview


Notwithstanding the operating landscape, this has been a very positive year for European Operations.

Across the business we have delivered our financial, operational and strategic objectives and, as a consequence, we move into 2016 with positive momentum.

There is, however, much more to be accomplished to build the quality business to which we aspire. In particular, further developments in client engagement, getting more value from our extended distribution, data analytics and improved operational efficiency remain our priorities.

Our biggest challenge continues to be the extremely competitive pricing and commission landscape which shows little sign of abating. Our focus on underwriting discipline remains paramount and, combined with our position as a market leader, we are well placed to respond appropriately.

Once again the European Operations’ team has performed very well. Individually and collectively they have displayed skill and commitment and the result is testimony to their efforts.


The QBE Foundation - In the communitybutton

A life saving App

The Duchenne Children’s Trust (DCT) was set up by Emily and Nick Crossley, after their son was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) in 2012. DMD is the number one genetic killer of children and young people and there is no cure. The Duchenne Children’s Trust approached the QBE Foundation for funding for an App. The App will make a real difference to the 2,000 people with Duchenne in the UK and is the first of its kind. All medical information can be saved on a young person’s phone, so that in any emergency, a doctor unfamiliar with Duchenne can assess complex medical needs. The App will be released free to all sufferers.

“The App which QBE so kindly funded will make an immense difference to people with Duchenne,” says Emily Crossley, who founded DCT. It is a cruel and devastating disease and anything that helps boys, their parents, carers and doctors feel more secure and have instant access to medical information is crucial. It could potentially save lives.”

The QBE Foundation - In the community

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