QBE changing sails in an insurance squall

QBE boss John Neal is halfway through consolidating myriad operations, slashing costs and fine-tuning investment policy - all amid a global insurance squeeze. No wonder he's battling.

That John Neal was prepared to say that QBE remains on track to deliver a top-quartile performance in the global non-life insurance market even as his shares were getting hammered in the wake of the group’s interim earnings announcement speaks volumes about both where QBE is in its attempted transformation and the nature of the insurance industry.

QBE announced a 37 per cent fall in interim earnings and halved its dividend in recognition that its second half traditionally brings with it a much greater exposure to catastrophes than the first.


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