NATURAL DISASTERS CONTINUE TO POUND SUNCORP INSURANCE

NATURAL DISASTERS CONTINUE TO POUND SUNCORP INSURANCE

SUNCORP has revealed a $253 million blowout on its general insurance operations.

The Brisbane-based and ASX-listed insurer reported $714 million in natural hazard claims for the 10 months to April, well in excess of the allocated $461 million for payouts.

The bulk of the blowout was due to $250 million paid on claims from an inner-city hailstorm in Melbourne last December, the insurer reports.

A hail storm in southeast Queensland last October and flooding and storms in regional areas of the state also contributed to the blowout in paid claims.

Despite the increased claims, Suncorp reports the underlying performance of its general insurance operations has improved ahead of expectations.

The insurer forecast a return to unit growth across its motor and home insurance portfolios.

Suncorp’s core bank business today reported impairment losses of $13 million for the quarter, a figure the bank says is in line with its medium-term expectations.

Non-performing loans amount to $554 million but the bank says that amount is a small proportion of total lending remains.

The bank says total lending increased 3 per cent for the quarter to $42 billion.

Suncorp Bank chief executive David Foster says credit growth continued to ‘trend below the average of recent years, reflecting subdued consumer confidence’.

But he added that consumers were paying down debt at a faster rate than ‘obliged’.

“This trend is weighing on the overall banking system, but Suncorp Bank continues to grow as consumers look for alternatives to the major banks,” he says.

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