QBE has posted a massive 292% rise in full year profit to $US742 million

Trees in Brisbane after a storm in November. Robert Shakespeare/Getty Images

QBE Insurance, Australia’s largest global insurer, posted a 292% rise in profit to $US742 million for the full year to December.

The reversal from a previous loss of $US254 million was achieved on a 6% fall in revenue to $US18.226 billion.

The result benefited from significantly improved business in North America. The previous result was impacted by write downs on US assets.

It also helped that 2014 was a benign catastrophe year which reduced insurance payouts.

During the year, QBE sold some of its agency businesses in Australia and the US which will convert into more than $US300 million cash.

Gross written premiums fell by 9% to $US16.3 billion, a reduction compounded by a stronger US dollar against the Australian dollar and Argentine peso.

Cost cutting delivered $250 million in annual savings.

CEO John Neal said: “While there are remediation activities still underway, our transformation is largely complete and we are well placed to deliver further improvement in performance and efficiency and meet our published targets in 2015.”

QBE announced a final dividend of 22 cents.

Its shares are trading up more than 6% to $12.34.

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