Each one of QBE’s divisions secured premium rate increases that were either in line with or stronger than expectations during 2021’s first quarter.
Speaking during QBE’s 2021 Annual General Meeting, Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer Michael Wilkins said headline Gross Written Premium was up 28%.
This reflects premium rate increases, continued growth in select areas of the global portfolio and what was described as a “very substantial” uplift in crop premiums due to significantly higher commodity prices and underlying growth.
Overall, premium rate increases improved 8.9% compared to the 7.3% seen in Q120.
Excluding crop insurance, constant currency GWP growth was 13% while overall net earned premium growth was 6% on a constant currency basis.
Meanwhile, earned premium growth is expected to increase across the remainder of 2021, in line with premium earning patterns.
Despite a generally solid Q1 performance when compared to the prior year period, however, Wilkins underlined the significant impact from natural catastrophes costs so far this year.
Net catastrophe costs were said to be around $260 million, far higher than the group’s first quarter allowance of $180 million and $30 million over what was incurred in the prior year period.
Despite the adverse catastrophe outcome, QBE’s overall first quarter combined operating ratio is reportedly in line with expectations, while its position in respect to the net ultimate cost of COVID-19 remains unchanged.