QBE the Americas, a division of Australia's QBE Insurance Group, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire North Pointe Holdings, US-based property and casualty insurance group, for a total purchase price of $146 million.

QBE will pay $16 per share for the total purchase price which is approximately 1.6 times estimated shareholders’ funds at December 31, 2007. The acquisition will be funded from existing excess capital held in the US.

Tim Kenny, president and CEO of QBE the Americas, said: The acquisition of North Pointe is complementary to our recent US acquisitions and further increases our distribution through independent and affiliated agents.