May 5 (Reuters) - Australia's QBE Insurance Group
said on Thursday its first-quarter written premiums grew 22% in
constant currency terms, as volatility because of the
Russia-Ukraine war led to more demand to insure crops.
The war in Ukraine has rattled commodity markets as it
threatens to choke supplies from Ukraine and Russia, which
together account for about 30% of the world's wheat trade. It
has led to a surge in demand for Australian grain.
QBE said its quarterly gross written premiums rose to $6.9
billion, and forecast premiums for crop insurance would jump by
more than 22% to about $3.3 billion this year.
The company's shares rose 3.5% to A$12.44 by 0100 GMT and
were set for their sharpest one-day gain since March 22.
"Despite a number of natural catastrophes and significant
geopolitical events, positive momentum experienced through FY21
continued into 1Q22," Group Chief Executive Andrew Horton said.
QBE said it expected its annual group combined operating
ratio to improve on last year's ratio of about 94%. Combined
ratio is a key measure of profitability for insurers and a level
below 100% indicates an underwriting profit.
It also forecast a net impact of around $75 million from its
exposure to the broader Russia-Ukraine conflict from political
violence, political risk and aviation insurance.
(Reporting by Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian
Schmollinger and Jamie Freed)