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QBE sells Latin American operations to Zurich

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QBE will sell its Latin American business to Zurich Insurance Group for $US409 million ($521 million), the company said today.

“The decision to exit Latin America is consistent with our focus on simplifying the group, reducing risk and improving the consistency of our results,” Group CEO Pat Regan said.

“We determined that QBE was no longer the best strategic owner of these businesses. Zurich has a significant presence in Latin America and a strong commitment to the region.”

Mr Regan, who took over as CEO at the start of the year, said late last month that he had been conducting a review of the company, and also flagged write-downs on its North American business.

The before-tax profit on the Latin American sale is estimated at around $US100 million ($127 million), with the deal expected to close by the end of this year, subject to regulatory approvals.

The sale includes operations in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico. QBE Puerto Rico will be retained to facilitate servicing claims from Hurricane Maria and will become part of the group’s North American business.

QBE today also reported a net loss of $US1.2 billion ($1.5 billion) for last year compared with a profit of $US844 million ($1.1 billion) a year earlier.

More details in our regular bulletin this afternoon.