QBE has avoided a second strike against its remuneration report after acknowledging shareholders’ dissatisfaction over executives’ pay.
Chairman Marty Becker told investors at the annual general meeting in Sydney on Thursday the company had listened to the unease over the income plan introduced in 2017, replacing it with a more traditional short-term and long-term incentive plan.
Just over 89 per cent of shareholders voted in favour of the remuneration report, sparing the board from a spill.
A motion to grant conditional rights under the 2018 executive plan for chief executive Pat Regan also passed, but copped a backlash from 22.27 per cent of shareholders.
QBE celebrated a healthier balance sheet in 2018 after a “more normal” catastrophe year and the exit of a number of underperforming businesses and portfolios.
The company swung to a $US390 million ($A546 million) full-year profit after attritional claims for the 12 months to December 31 were lower across all divisions compared to 2017, when it posted a $US1.25 billion loss following hurricanes and wildfires in the US.
But the insurer also faced a number of shareholder questions on Thursday regarding its climate change policy, following another 12 months of payouts above historical norms.
Mr Regan said this was down to flooding in Queensland, the Sydney hailstorm in December and bushfires in Tasmania and Victoria.
Nonetheless, shareholders overwhelmingly voted down motions asking QBE to expand on its decision to phase out its thermal coal underwriting business by 2030 by setting targets to phase out its exposure to all fossil fuels.
The motion was opposed by more than 97 per cent of investors.
The board had recommended a vote against the resolution.
Earlier, Mr Regan said QBE was not shying away from addressing increasingly volatile weather conditions.
“We consider climate change to be a material risk for your company and we are committed to playing out part in addressing this global challenge,” Mr Regan said.