Australian insurance provider QBE Insurance Group has revealed record results for the first half of its fiscal year, with net profit of $921 million representing a 56% jump over H1 2006, driven by recent US purchases and lower claims.

Frank O’Halloran, QBE Group CEO, said: The recent US acquisitions should enable us to achieve growth in gross written premium for 2007 and 2008, at this year’s average exchange rates, of around 25% and 10%, respectively. The integration plans for these acquisitions are well advanced and we are on target to achieve the previously announced synergies and profit.

The Australian insurer purchased Winterthur US and Praetorian Financial Group during the first two quarters of 2007.

Meanwhile, gross written premium went up 15% to $6.52 billion for the six-month period, while net earned premium increased by 19% to $4.75 billion. Insurance profit came in well ahead of the group’s target at 22.2%, compared with 18.7% for the same period last year.

As a result of the positive results, QBE upgraded its full-year insurance profit forecast to 18.5% to 20% of net earned premium, from 17.5% to 18.5%.