February 25, 2018 / 8:54 PM / 6 months ago

CORRECTED-Australia's QBE Insurance swings to loss as it succumbs to catastrophe claims

(Removes reference to analysts’ estimates in 2nd paragraph)

Feb 26 (Reuters) - Australia’s biggest insurer QBE Insurance Group reported an annual loss on Monday as it reels from a claims blowout from natural disasters at home and overseas.

Annual cash loss came in at $258 million compared with a profit of $898 million a year ago as payouts related to massive California wildfires, storms in Australia and Hurricane Maria weighed on earnings.

Dividends also took a hit with the insurer declaring a final dividend of A$0.04 per share, lower than A$0.33 per share a year ago. (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru, editing by David Evans)

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