QBE Insurance Group is facing a shareholder class action over a fall in its share price in December following a profit downgrade.
On the day of the insurer's annual general meeting, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers said it is investigating whether the insurer breached its continuous disclosure obligations for not informing the market sooner about its expectations of a $US250 million loss in full-year 2013.
The insurer's share price fell by 30 per cent over two days in response. Analysts had been expecting a profit of $US1 billion or more.
The law firm has invited shareholders to register interest and says it will pursue a class action if it gains enough support.
Maurice Blackburn class actions principal Jacob Varghese said shareholders had approached the firm with concerns QBE was "less than frank and timely" in informing the market about troubles in its North American business.
"If QBE has breached its obligations or misled the market, investors that bought QBE shares in the period leading up to 9 December 2013 paid an inflated price for those shares. Those investors will be entitled to compensation," Mr Varghese said.
Shareholders who bought shares in the second half of last year likely paid around $4 per share too much, Mr Varghese told reporters.
The news of a possible lawsuit comes two days after Belinda Hutchinson finished her tenure as chairwoman of QBE, with Marty Becker commencing as chairman of the group yesterday.
The initial announcement of Ms Hutchinson’s departure was released to the market on December 9, the same day as the QBE statement forecasting the full-year loss that is the focus of the lawsuit.