Reinsurance News

QIC’s net result improves in 2018 as cost-efficiency drive continues

4th February 2019 - Author: Luke Gallin

Qatar Insurance Company (QIC) has reported a non-life combined ratio of 101.3% for the full-year 2018, reflecting catastrophe losses experienced in its Qatar Re and Antares divisions. The firm notes a continued, unwavering commitment to improve cost efficiency, which includes the restructuring of its reinsurance retrocession programmes.

Qatar Insurance Group logoDespite the impacts of major catastrophe losses, QIC has reported net income of $182 million for the full-year 2018 and a net underwriting result of $158 million, compared with $116 million and $32 million a year earlier, respectively.

QIC’s non-life combined ratio for the year strengthened from 105.8% in 2017 to 101.3%, and excluding any prior-year reserve developments and natural and man-made cat losses, the combined ratio totalled 98.7%.

The firm explains that its underwriting result is defined as net earned premiums reduced by the sum of gross claims paid, reinsurance recoveries, movement in outstanding claims, net commission expense, and other insurance income.

The firm states that its “robust underwriting performance” is in line with its overall book of business and its continued shift towards lower volatility exposures.

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Highlighting this shift, QIC notes that low severity, high frequency business now accounts for roughly 50% of its total underwriting portfolio, compared with 42% as at the end of 2017.

Gross written premiums (GWP) and net written premiums (NWP) increased, year-on-year, to $3.5 billion and $3 billion, respectively.

QIC Group President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Khalifa Abdulla Turki Al Subaey, said: “For the global insurance industry, 2017 and 2018 were the costliest back-to-back years on record. Insurers and reinsurers had to digest catastrophe losses close to USD 230 billion. Still, rate increases remain elusive as the growth of alternative capital with lower return hurdles places secular and not just cyclical pressure on (re)insurance margins in the low frequency high severity space. Against this backdrop, our strategic decision, taken more than a year ago, to shift the underwriting focus to a lower volatility segment has proven right.”

The reinsurer’s non-life combined ratio reflects catastrophe losses experienced by Qatar Re and Antares, which includes a number of hurricanes and typhoons, as well as the devastating California wildfires. Furthermore, Antares was hit by a major marine loss in Germany, says QIC.

QIC’s international carriers, which includes Qatar Re, Antares, and also QIC Europe Limited and Markerstudy, posted GWP of $2.7 billion, which is growth of 11%.

The company notes an ongoing, unwavering commitment to cost efficiency, underlining that its administrative expense ratio improved to 6.3% in 2018.

Furthermore, and to assist with its cost efficiency drive, the re/insurer states that it has restructured its reinsurance retrocession programmes, with current retro market conditions enabling the firm to manage earnings volatility in a more cost-efficient manner.

A concerted approach to purchasing retro cover, says QIC, will benefit the Group’s underwriting performance.

“This comprehensive de-risking was successfully completed towards the end of 2018 and we should be able to reap the fruit of this effort in 2019 and beyond. At the same time, as Qatar’s dominant insurer and a leading regional operator and investor, our Group is set to benefit from Qatar’s impressive recovery from the economic blockade that was imposed on the nation by some of its neighbouring countries in June 2017.

“For these reasons, we are cautiously optimistic for the remainder of the year even though global economic and industry uncertainties continue to loom large,” said Khalifa Abdulla Turki Al Subaey.

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