Australia’s QBE Insurance has announced plans to shut down its North America middle-market segment after a strategic review, citing ongoing performance issues.  

The company will now refocus on its core businesses within the region.  

In a statement, QBE said: “The closure of middle-market will serve to refocus North America’s strategy on those businesses which hold more meaningful market position, relevance and scale.” 

QBE’s North American middle-market segment, which generated approximately $500m in gross written premium in 2023, will begin non-renewing policies as per state regulations. 

The insurer expects the premium to start decreasing this year, with a more significant decrease anticipated in FY2025. 

It will book a restructuring charge of $100m before tax related to the closure, which will be reflected in its FY 2024 results.  

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However, QBE stated that this move will not affect its appetite or strategy for its three main businesses in North America – specialty, crop, and commercial.  

The company expects the impact on the FY24 group combined operating ratio to be ‘limited’, with more details to be shared in the first half of 2024 results announcement on 9 August 2024. 

In a separate development, QBE named Jeremy Lau as the chief underwriting officer for its Asian operations, effective 1 August 2024.  

He will replace Andy White, now group head of underwriting strategy and performance.  

In the new role, Lau will focus on underwriting strategy, governance, and performance, working alongside QBE Asia CEO Rob Kosova and QBE International chief underwriting officer Nick Hankin. 

Lau, who will operate out of Hong Kong, has more than 25 years of experience in the insurance industry.  

His expertise spans actuarial services, underwriting, and distribution. He has been working at QBE Asia since 2016 as its chief actuary.