Suncorp flood claims hit 5,400 as insurers count the cost

Suncorp flood claims hit 5,400 as insurers count the cost

Insurance claims by flood affected households and business have climbed past 5,400 in three states for Suncorp Group (ASX: SUN) as the wash-up from heavy rains across the eastern seaboard this week starts flowing to the insurance industry.

The number of claims received by yesterday afternoon is up from 1,300 reported by the national insurer on Monday. The same day, Insurance Australia Group (ASX: IAG) said that its claims had climbed to 2,100.

Suncorp has not yet put a figure on the damages, but it is expecting more claims to start flooding in over the next few days.

Most of the claims are from NSW which accounted for 80 per cent of the total received by yesterday afternoon. Over 85 per cent of those claims are for property damage.

Suncorp says it will wait on the inflow of insurance claims to stabilise before providing an estimate of their total value. IAG also has yet to put a figure on the cost to its business.

Suncorp on Monday revealed that its natural hazard claims across Australia and New Zealand as of 28 February this year were $643 million, or about $80 million below the year-to-date allowance.

"Our teams are on the ground in Port Macquarie, where we have seen the most claims to date, and we will deploy to other regions when it is safe to do so," says Suncorp CEO Steve Johnston.

"Our customer support team will provide face-to-face support by arranging emergency repairs, organising temporary accommodation for customers whose homes have been severely damaged and providing cash payments for emergency purchases.

"The next few weeks will be challenging for residents as they return to their homes, assess the damage and start the clean-up. The support of the Australian Defence Force will go a long way in bolstering local efforts and helping communities recover."

Meanwhile, Westpac (ASX: WBC) has established a Flood Support Fund of up to $10 million to provide emergency grants for customers and employees facing significant damage to their homes or businesses in flood-affected areas of NSW and south-east Queensland.

Business customers will have access to $5,000 grants to help them to recover and re-open, while households will have access to $3,000 emergency grants to cover the costs of essential items and services.

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