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QBE says 2017 could be costliest in history

QBE says this year will be the costliest year in the history of the global insurance industry.

As such, the insurer expects its earnings to be dented by rising disaster claims following the earthquakes in Mexico, hurricanes in the Atlantic and Cyclone Debbie that hit Australia earlier this year.

Last year, QBE paid US$1.06 billion in disasters and large individual claims, while posting a net profit of US$844 million.

For this year, the bank warned of a significant rise in claims in its emerging-markets operations, including medium-sized claims in Asia.

QBE said it had increased its 2017 allowance for large individuals and disaster claims to US$1.75 billion.

It expects disaster claims to impact pre-tax earnings by about US$600 million.

In 2011, insurers paid out an inflation-adjusted US$137 billion in disaster claims, making it the worst-ever year for the global insurance and reinsurance industry.