QBE Insurance

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QBE Insurance Group Limited
Type Public
Traded as ASXQBE
Industry Insurance
Founded 1886 – January
Headquarters 8 Chifley Square
Sydney, Australia
Key people Mr Marty Becker (Chairman)[1]
Mr John Neal (Group Chief Executive Officer)
Products General and reinsurance services
Employees In 2014, there are around 16,000 staff in 52 offices worldwide
Website www.qbe.com

QBE Insurance Group Limited is Australia's largest global insurer. It provides insurance services mainly to Australia, America, Europe and Asia Pacific region. As of 2014, it has over 16000 employees in 52 countries. As of Aug 2012, QBE was ranked 18th among the world's general insurers. QBE has market capitalisation of A$18.6 billion, and represents 2.22% of the ASX 200 index[citation needed].

The company reported a 2013 net profit before amortisation and tax of $797 million and a net loss after tax of $254M. The annual report describes the result as "disappointing.[2]

QBE was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1973 from the merger of three companies whose names represent the letters of the combined company, Queensland Insurance, Bankers' and Traders' Insurance Company, and Equitable Life and General Insurance Co., [2] and its founding chairman was J.D.O. Burns (Burns Philp)(company director [3]

Since then, QBE has continued to acquire many companies. For example in February 2007, it acquired Mexican insurer Seguros Cumbre SA de CV, whose net tangible assets were estimated at $26million, and American insurer General Casualty Insurance.[3] In 2011 QBE purchased Balboa Insurance of California, USA from Bank of America.[4][5][6]

QBE Insurance is also known for its sponsorship of sports teams, including the Sydney Swans of the Australian Football League, the Sydney Roosters of the National Rugby League, the NSW Swifts of netball's trans-Tasman ANZ Championship, the Perth Glory of the Hyundai A-League and provincial New Zealand Rugby team, North Harbour. QBE is the official insurance partner of England Rugby. [4].

John Neal was appointed to the position of Group Chief Executive Officer on 17 August 2012. Frank O’Halloran, the former CEO was with the company for over thirty five years. He was appointed chief financial officer in 1982, joined the board as director of finance from 1987 to 1994 and was director of operations from 1994 to 1997.

In early 2013, QBE was setting up its biggest office complex in the Philippines at the Bonifacio Global City’s Net Cube building, which is a local hub for its regional shared services. QBE has signed a deal to lease six floors of the Net Cube Building in BGC, acquiring 6,500 square meters, or about a third of the Net Cube building, according to a joint statement issued by QBE and KMC MAG Group, the real estate services firm that brokered the property deal. “We’re very excited to have a big, official home in Manila. It took us a long time to search for the perfect space and I’m glad we can finally get things rolling now,” QBE chief operating officer Brad Sinnatamby said.[7]

Force-Placed Insurance Controversy[edit]

Maintaining a property insurance policy is one of the most common conditions imposed upon anyone who borrows money to purchase a house.[8] If a borrower allows such a policy to lapse, lenders will purchase force-placed insurance for the property owner (also called lender-placed insurance, or collateral protection insurance) [9] The use of force-placed insurance by lenders is an ongoing practice that, in the wake of the financial crisis, has become increasingly common,[10][11][12] being cited by many experts as the cause of foreclosures themselves.[13] The coverage prevents gaps in insurance, which is required by the terms of most mortgages. The financial industry justifies higher premium costs of force-placed insurance policies because of the heightened insurance risk of borrowers who aren’t paying for their own insurance.[14] Opponents of the product consistently provide statistics in opposition to these statements,[15][16] citing kickback payouts and loss ratios that are much lower than the rest of the insurance industry.[17]

Force-placed insurance policies fell under regulatory scrutiny when the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) launched an investigation into the lender-placed insurance industry that has so far led to settlements with QBE and Assurant [14][18][19] Although testimony in these hearings discussed "Reverse Competition" and kickbacks from Assurant to its banking clients,[20][21] In response to the settlement, DFS Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky stated, "Prices should not be pushing up and up, pushing borrowers over the foreclosure cliff."[22]

In January 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued new mortgage servicing rules that ensures borrowers are warned in advance of force-placed insurance's cost and prevent banks from force-placing policies on many escrowed loans. “All consumers will receive protections before a servicer may impose a charge for a force-placed insurance,” an agency spokeswoman wrote.[23] In October 2012, QBE and California agreed to a rate reduction for lender-placed insurance, with an average savings to policyholders of $577 annually.[24]

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the federal home loan banks,[25] has looked into the relationships between force-placed insurers and their clients,[26] determining the relationships to be fraudulent and banning any future service kickbacks.[27] In addition, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation is looking into the practice [28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "QBE Insurance Group Ltd". Brisbane Times. Fairfax Media. 31 March 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Financial reports and presentations 2013
  3. ^ Newman, Judy (5 January 2007). "General Casualty to be sold". The Wisconsin State Journal, Madison.com. Retrieved 5 January 2007. 
  4. ^ Rumpler, John. "CEO". Property Casualty 360. Property Casualty 360. Retrieved March 15, 2013. Rumpler, John. "CEO". Property Casualty 360. Property Casualty 360. Retrieved March 15, 2013. 
  5. ^ Calbreth, Dean. "Writer". San Diego Union Tribune. San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "AM Best". AM Best. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  7. ^ "Australian insurer to set up shop in BGC | Inquirer Business". Business.inquirer.net. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  8. ^ Wyatt, Edward (26 March 2013). "Regulators Review Costs of Force-Placed Insurance". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ "Force-Placed Insurance: What You Need To Know". Dfs.ny.gov. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "Housing regulator targets costly ‘forced’ insurance practices". TheHill. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  11. ^ The Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323466204578382603826452198.html |url= missing title (help). 
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ "Look Who's Pushing Homeowners Off the Foreclosure Cliff". Bloomberg. 
  14. ^ a b http://newsandinsight.thomsonreuters.com/Legal/News/2013/03_-_March/New_York_regulators,_Assurant_settle_over__force-placed__insurance/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ New York State Department of Financial Services Force-Placed Insurance Public Hearings, May 2012, retrieved 15 May 2013 
  16. ^ Lender-Placed Insurance Programs Argue Validity, NBC, May 2013, retrieved 15 May 2013 
  17. ^ citing kickback payouts and loss ratios that are much lower than the rest of the insurance industry
  18. ^ "Press Release - March 21, 2013: Cuomo Administration Settles With Country’s Largest Force-Placed Insurer, Leading Nationwide Reform Effort And Saving Homeowners, Taxpayers, And Investors Millions Of Dollars". Dfs.ny.gov. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  19. ^ "Cuomo Administration Settles With Country's Second Largest 'Force-Placed' Insurer, Leading Nationwide Reform Effort and Saving Millions for Homeowners and Investors | Governor Andrew M. Cuomo". Governor.ny.gov. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  20. ^ "Reforming Force-Placed Insurance" (Press release). New York Department of Financial Services. 5 April 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  21. ^ (Assurant Inc) (26 March 2013). "The FHFA's Home Insurance 'Crackdown' Is Late to the Game". Businessweek. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  22. ^ "Insurance Company Settles HUGE Case". Huffington Post. 21 March 2013. 
  23. ^ Jeff Horwitz (18 January 2013). "CFPB Treads Lightly on Force-Placed Insurance - Insurance Networking News". Insurancenetworking.com. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  24. ^ "Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Announces $42.7 Million Rate Reduction For Policyholders Of "Force-Placed" Mortgage Insurer". Insurance.ca.gov. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  25. ^ Clarish About The Federal Housing Finance Agency
  26. ^ "FHFA Seeks Curbs on Force-Placed Homeowner's Insurance". Bloomberg. 
  27. ^ The Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303661404579178182732972564 |url= missing title (help). 
  28. ^ "Lender-Placed Insurance Coverage". Floir.com. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 

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