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QBE Australia to offload insurance brokerage unit to Steadfast

Sydney-based underwriter QBE Australia is to divest its National Credit Insurance Brokers (NCIB) business and professional indemnity authorized representative Invivo by the end of 2013.

Following completion of listing process, the underwriter will dispose of NCIB to Steadfast, and it is also considering selling its majority shareholding in QBE Macedonia, as reported by the insurancebusinessonline.

QBE Macedonia offers an array of insurance products and services to small and medium enterprises, large industrial companies and for individuals and families.

Commenting on the plans, QBE group CFO Neil Drabsch was quoted by the news agency as saying, "We feel the broker will sit best with Steadfast and will meet the objectives that will make it a profitable business."

Briefing the investors on the future course of actions under transformation program, the insurer indicated that it might further mull to dispose of other non-core assets, commutation and sale of run-off portfolios.

Furthermore, it is also likely to acquire additional reinsurance businesses at an appropriate time.

The Australian underwriter is shedding its noncore assets in a bid to concentrate on core businesses and get the required funding for further business expansion. It is believed that the disposal of the assets will fetch nearly $80m for the insurer.

Group CEO John Neal said its core assets were not defined by size, rather it is about "maximising opportunity and the use of capital."

The insurer also said that it has trimmed down 39 jobs at its Australian business, under its cost cutting program, which aims to save $250m by 2015.