Australian giant QBE has confirmed they will slash 200 jobs in the Australia Pacific region in the next 12 months, due to a streamlining of its processes and operations.
A QBE spokesperson told InsuranceAsia News: “We continue to explore ways to make our Australia Pacific business leaner and more sustainable in a highly competitive market and we are focused on streamlining our costs and operating model.”
The company spokesperson added: “We have been open with our people that this will include some reductions in headcount in our Australia Pacific business to ensure we have a fit-for-purpose operating model going forward. We understand this is an unsettling time for our people and we are providing additional support services to assist those impacted through this period of change.”
Last month, as the insurer released its fiscal year 2019 results, QBE’s chief executive Pat Regan warned that climate change and its associated risks could mean premiums will become unaffordable.
Regan emphasised that climate change poses a material risk for the insurer’s global operations, commenting: “We got out of places like the Philippines, Thailand, Chile, Puerto Rico [where] it was just too much climate change weather impact risk there that the risks just weren’t worth it.”
QBE has increased its reinsurance programme to A$2 billion (US$1.22 billion) in light of recent extreme weather events in the country that have led to damage and devastation. The unprecedented severity of Australia’s current bushfire season has burnt 18 million hectares of land and brought A$2 billion (US$1.34 billion) in insured losses, with claims still rising.
Its FY 2019 results recorded a 41% post-tax revenue increase to US$550 million, despite challenges with natural disasters. QBE was bolstered by its strong investment returns at US$649 million, even as underwriting results fell to US$290 million from US$528 million in 2018.
With extreme weather a pronounced and prioritised risk, QBE also released a climate change action plan, which included adjustments to its catastrophe pricing models.

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