As the floodwaters recede the true impact of the catastrophes in Queensland and New South Wales have been revealed by insurance giant Suncorp (ASX: SUN).
The company has received more than 34,000 claims and estimates natural hazard costs for the full year will total $1.1 billion, reflecting a $25 million increase.
Of the claims received so far, 60 per cent are from Queensland and 40 per cent come from New South Wales. More than 80 per cent of total claims relate to home damage.
Suncorp CEO Steve Johnston said the business’s ability to respond to this significant and devastating event has been enhanced by recent strategic initiatives across the group.
“I have spent time with our teams and customers on the ground in Gympie, Lismore and around south-east Queensland,” Johnston said.
“It’s some of the most widespread devastation I have witnessed, and it is a tragedy for so many Australians. I am very proud of how our people have responded when our customers need us most.”
“Customer support teams continue to be delayed in the hardest hit regions, providing face-to-face claims support. Our assessors and builders are working around the clock inspecting the damage, and we thank all our customers for their patience as we work as fast as we can.”
Claims have surged by 580 per cent since 28 February, with approximately 70 per cent of claims being lodged online.
In Queensland, the suburb of Deagon lodged the most claims at 772, followed by Aspley (477) and Everton Park (422).
The most impacted suburbs in NSW include South Lismore (984 claims), followed by Chinderah (603) and Murwillumbah (522).
The catastrophic weather in both states has been categorised as four separate natural hazard events by Suncorp which estimates its net retained loss from the events will remain unchanged at around $75 million.
The insurer said it had deployed a “flood response and recovery team” which used “aerial imagery, real-time data and on the ground insights” to “understand impacts to customers and direct support where needed”.
Johnston said the flooding events in Queensland and NSW came after Suncorp had already received more than 50,000 natural hazard claims over the past six months.
“Our national panel of builders has given us increased capacity to respond to significant extreme weather events in addition to our everyday working claims," Johnston said.
“Given the scale of this event, we have worked to secure additional builder capacity and have enacted project management capability for specific regions.
“This will be a major rebuilding effort, across multiple regions, that will take many months. We are currently prioritising our most impacted customers, but we know every claim is important.”
Suncorp is projecting it will receive 44,750 claims in total from the recent flooding and storm events across eastern Australia.
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