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Signed and sealed: Nib takes control of QBEs travel arm

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QBE has completed the disposal of its Australian travel insurance business to health insurer Nib Holdings, which has invested significantly to build up its presence in the market.

The final sale price came to $24.2 million after making allowance for net liabilities acquired.

QBE ceased selling travel covers yesterday, according to its website.

The disposal of QBE Travel is part of a wider overhaul of the business CEO Pat Regan has overseen since he took office in January last year. Culling under-performing businesses such as the travel arm is a key part of his strategy.

Nib has rebranded the business as Nib Travel and announced AXA XL will underwrite all its new policies. The 150 QBE employees in Victoria and the Philippines who are affected by the change have transitioned to the new management.

The health insurer expects the acquisition to boost the annual domestic gross written premium of Nib Travel by more than 50%.

“This is a very good acquisition, consistent with our strategy to grow our travel insurance operations both domestically and globally,” Nib MD Mark Fitzgibbon said in a statement.

“With more than 60% of travel insurance claims medical or health-related, being part of the Nib Group allows our travel business to leverage and tap into our hospital and provider networks, claims management capability and distribution channels.”

Nib sees travel insurance as complementary to its main health business. It acquired World Nomads Group more than three years ago for $95 million, making it the third-largest global travel insurance distributor in Australia.

World Nomads Group was rebranded as Nib Travel in April.

For QBE the finalisation of the sale marks an exit from a business that CFO Inder Singh has described as one with “a poor track record of profitability and lacking scale relative to major competitors”.

While the business was the fourth-largest travel insurer in Australia, it accounted for less than 0.5% of QBE’s overall gross written premium.