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UPDATE 1-Australia's QBE Insurance clarifies on delaying earnings forecast
June 27, 2017 / 1:27 AM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Australia's QBE Insurance clarifies on delaying earnings forecast

(Adds share performance, background)

June 27 (Reuters) - QBE Insurance Group said on Tuesday it was unaware of the impact of losses in its emerging markets division on overall profitability during its annual meeting in early May.

“It was not until a board meeting on 21 June 2017 that the financial condition of each of its global divisions, including the Emerging Markets division, had been clarified and confirmed,” the company said in response to a query raised by the Australian Securities Exchange.

QBE last week surprised the market with a profit warning, saying it would report lower than expected earnings due to underwriting losses in its emerging markets division.

The late notice angered investors and caused a slump in its share price.

The company downgraded its overall combined operating ratio to the 94.5 percent to 96 percent range, compared with a February guidance of 93.5 percent to 95 percent.

A higher combined operating ratio translates to lower underwriting profits for insurers.

The company forecast interim insurance profit margin to be in the range of 8.5 percent to 9.5 percent. It reported insurance profit margin of 9.7 percent in 2016.

Shares of Australia’s no.1 insurer fell as much as 1.5 percent to A$11.45 in early trade, their lowest level since early-December, before swinging back into the green. (Reporting By Rushil Dutta in BENGALURU; Editing by Jane Wardell and Stephen Coates)

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