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Westpac GWP rises, but catastrophes drive claims

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Westpac has reported an 8% rise in general insurance gross written premium (GWP) to $246 million for the six months to March 31.

Claims were up to $67 million in the half-year, with $51 million arising from the Brisbane hailstorm in November and Cyclone Marcia in February.

General insurance cash earnings fell $19 million to $43 million, which pushed the insurance loss ratio up to 62% from 45% in the previous corresponding period.

Westpac’s lenders’ mortgage insurance GWP was flat at $24 million for the six months to March 31.

Claims fell to $1 million from $3 million, and the loss ratio fell to 5% from 10%.

Westpac will replace its external insurers – QBE and Genworth – with Arch Capital Group for all business written from May 18.

External insurers account for 10.2% of Westpac’s mortgage book. A further 10% is self-insured, while most of the $363 billion mortgage book is uninsured.

Meanwhile, Westpac has appointed former AMP CEO Craig Dunn to its board.