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QBE Insurance GrpLtd (35WU)

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Wednesday 16 August, 2006

QBE Insurance GrpLtd

Stmt re Half Year Accounts

QBE Insurance Group Limited
16 August 2006


MARKET ANNOUNCEMENT

QBE ANNOUNCES RECORD HALF YEAR PROFIT AND INCREASED DIVIDEND

QBE Insurance Group today announced that operating profit after tax for the half
year ended 30 June 2006 increased by 20% to $591 million.  The increase in
profit reflects the benefit of premium growth from acquisitions in 2005,
improved insurance margins and higher than expected overall premium rate
increases for the Group.

QBE also announced an increase in the interim dividend from 33 cents per share
(50% franked) to 40 cents per share (60% franked).  The interim dividend
represents a payout of $322 million, up 27% from the previous interim dividend.
The record date for the interim dividend is 1 September 2006.  Due to QBE's
strong capital adequacy, the directors have resolved to suspend the Dividend
Election and the Dividend Reinvestment Plans for the interim dividend.

Gross written premium for the half year was up 10% to $5.7 billion and net
earned premium was up 14% to $4.0 billion.  Insurance profit before tax
increased by 35% to $748 million or 18.7% of net earned premium compared with
15.8% for the same period last year.

Operating profit after tax for the half year was affected by slightly lower
investment income due to reduced realised and unrealised gains on equities of
$11 million after tax compared with $39 million after tax for the same period
last year.

Mr Frank O'Halloran, Group Chief Executive Officer said 'I am extremely pleased
to again report a significant increase in profit, solid growth in premium income
and improved insurance margins across all divisions.'   He added 'QBE's
geographic spread and product diversification has been beneficial with overall
weighted average premium rate increases for the Group in the half year of 6.5%
being well ahead of our initial expectations of around 4%.  The overall rate
increases achieved by our European and American operations have more than offset
the slight reduction of around 3% on average in premium rates in Australia for
the half year.  This gives us greater confidence for our profitability for the
rest of 2006 and 2007.'

QBE has advised that, subject to unforeseen circumstances, its previous 2006
insurance profit target of 16%-17% of net earned premium has been upgraded to
17%-18%.

For further information, please telephone +61 2 9375 4216 or email
investor.relations@qbe.com.


16 August 2006


                      This information is provided by RNS
            The company news service from the London Stock Exchange