QBE Insurance Group shares have been placed in a trading halt before an earnings review.

The company said on Friday morning that it had requested the halt to give it ''time to finalise its analysis of information and review by the board, predominantly in relation to its North American operations, and the impact on QBE's forecast financial result for the year ending 31 December, 2013''.

It is understood the insurance company is poised to downgrade its profit after the review. It has been facing problems in parts of the United States, home to one of its biggest divisions.

QBE, Australia's biggest general insurer by market capitalisation, suffered a 37 per cent drop in net profits in the six months to June, triggered partly by larger-than-expected costs from its US lenders-placed insurance business.

QBE has a December year-end and will make its full-year report in February.

The shares will remain in a trading halt ''until the earlier of the commencement of normal trading on Tuesday, 10 December, 2013, or when the announcement is released to the market,'' the company said in a separate announcement.

The shares were $15.45 at Thursday's close.