QBE’s share price has traded up 8 percent today after the carrier reported gross written premium (GWP) growth of 20 percent during the first half of 2021, on the back of average rate increases of 9.7 percent across its portfolio.


  • Rating momentum builds from Q1 to Q2 across all regions
  • Combined ratio improves to 93.3% in H1 (H1 2020: 103.4%)
  • GWP across group rises to $10.2bn (H1 2020: $8bn)

GWP rose to $10.2bn for the six-month period, up from just over $8bn a year ago. Crop business was cited as a major driver of growth on the back of significant increases in corn and soybean prices. 

The group’s combined ratio improved to 93.3 percent, compared with 103.4 percent in the first half of 2020. The prior-year period included a 6 percentage point impact from Covid-19 claims.

Catastrophe claims for the first half rose to $462mn, 1.6 percent above budget. This compared with $308mn of catastrophe losses in the first half of 2020. 

QBE said its catastrophe bill was dominated by Texas winter storms, flooding on Australia’s east coast and Cyclone Seroja in Western Australia.

Price increases continued across all of the group’s regional operations with momentum building through the half year.


The group recorded overall average price increases of 8.9 percent during the first quarter, which increased to 10.6 percent in the second quarter.

Within its international segment, average rate increases rose from 9.1 percent in Q1 to 12.1 percent in Q2.

The segment saw GWP rise 11 percent to $3.9bn, with a combined ratio of 89.1 percent. This compares with a combined ratio of 92.8 percent, excluding Covid-19 impacts, in the first half of 2020. 

In North America, GWP was up 31 percent to $3.8bn with a combined ratio of 100.9 percent, an improvement of 2.9 points on the 103.8 percent (excluding Covid-19) reported in H1 2020. 

Catastrophe claims for the region came in 5.7 percent above budget due to the impact of February’s winter storm activity in the US.

The Australia Pacific region saw GWP grow 18 percent to $2.5bn, with the region’s combined ratio improving 4.3 points to 91 percent, compared with an ex-Covid combined ratio of 92.8 percent in last year’s first half.

Andrew Horton, the former CEO of London-listed Beazley, is set to begin his role as CEO of QBE next month.