Qualicorp Declines Most on Record After New Industry Rule Report

Qualicorp SA, a Sao Paulo-based broker for group health-insurance plans, tumbled the most on record on speculation Brazil’s government is considering measures to stimulate individual plan sales.

The shares slumped 8.9 percent to 24.05 reais at 3:40 p.m. in Sao Paulo, set for the biggest slump since they started trading in June 2011.

The nation’s Health Ministry is studying rules to encourage insurance operators to sell plans to people who aren’t employed by a company or unionized, newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported Thursday, without saying how it got the information. The measures will be announced by the second half of this year, the report said.

“A change in rules has always been one of the risks for Qualicorp,” Caio Moreira, an analyst at Banco Fator SA’s brokerage unit, said in a telephone interview from Sao Paulo.

Brazil’s Health Ministry and Qualicorp press officials didn’t immediately respond to telephone calls and e-mails seeking comment on any potential changes to insurance rules.

Earnings at Qualicorp have missed estimates for three straight quarters, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While analysts predict revenue will increase 22 percent this year, that would be the slowest pace since the company went public.

The government is considering allowing individuals to unilaterally cancel their contracts, according to the newspaper.

Unless the rate-adjustment rules for individual plans are changed, it’s unlikely that the measures being considered will lower demand for Qualicorp’s products, Moreira said.

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