QBE Insurance Group Ltd shares slump 6.5% on Brexit worries

What: Shares in QBE Insurance Group Ltd (ASX: QBE) are trading around 6.5% lower on Monday morning as investors continue to assess the implications of the ‘Brexit’ vote which could see Britain leave the European Union.

So What: QBE’s share price has now lost over 10% in the past two trading sessions, highlighting the concerns the market has regarding the insurance giant’s significant exposure to both the UK and the wider European region, which tallied up account for roughly 30% of the group’s gross written premiums.

QBE’s management has been quick to quell investor concerns with the insurer issuing a ‘Response to United Kingdom Referendum Outcome’. The release included the following details:

“The referendum outcome may require a revised approach in relation to approximately GBP500 million of insurance and reinsurance premium that QBE currently sources from EU member countries that is written via branches of UK regulated entities under current EU passporting rules.

Should EU passporting rules not be preserved, QBE will be required to renew this business into newly established licensed EU entities.”

Now What: While a UK exit from the EU looks likely, it is not yet a certainty. It also is likely to take years to fully unravel the intertwined economies which provides plenty of time for an orderly transfer of business operations for QBE.

In fact, QBE’s announcement noted that the group “does not anticipate any material impact on our day to day insurance operations”, which could lead some investors to view the near term volatility as providing a long-term buying opportunity.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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