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Feb 12 (Reuters) - Insurance Australia Group posted a drop of more than 43% in first-half profit on Wednesday and cut its full-year insurance margin for the second time in three weeks, hurt by rising claims from bushfires and hailstorms across the country.
Net profit fell to A$283 million ($189.98 million) in the six months ended Dec. 31 from A$500 million a year earlier, where it booked a one-off gain of A$208 million from selling its Thailand business.
The general insurer cut its insurance margin, a key profitability metric, to a range of 12.5% to 14.5% from a range of 14.5% to 16.5%, citing the impact from the “catastrophic weather events”.
For the first-half, the Sydney-based firm’s insurance margin was 13.5%.
Australian insurance companies have faced a turbulent summer as raging wildfires, drought and hailstorms led to a surge in claims that weighed on margins.
The company declared an interim dividend of 10 cents per share.
AIG’s rival Suncorp Group Ltd on Tuesday posted a 6% dip in first-half underlying profit, hurt by weaker performance of its insurance business owing to higher natural hazard costs.
$1 = 1.4896 Australian dollars Reporting by Arpit Nayak and Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva