Suncorp Group CEO Steve Johnston has called for better planning decisions so that new homes are not built in high-risk areas, as the company's insurance claims from heavy rainfall and floods now exceeds 7,600.
This represents an increase of 2,200 claims within a week with expectations numbers will rise further as customers gain access to affected regions and the extent of damage becomes clear.
Around three in every four claims is coming from NSW, about 20 per cent are from Queensland, and the remainder have come from Victoria and the ACT.
"Suncorp continues to work with our customers, particularly in the hardest-hit areas of the Mid-North Coast of NSW and Western Sydney," Johnston says.
"Floods too frequently devastate communities across Australia, which is why as a country we must address this risk. Unfortunately, many homes in Richmond, Windsor, Penrith, Port Macquarie and Taree are in medium to very high flood risk areas.
"As a country, we need to address how we can protect homes in flood-prone regions through government investment in mitigation infrastructure. We must also improve planning decisions to ensure we are not building new homes in high-risk areas."
The group welcomes decisions from QLD and NSW to classify assessors and tradespeople as essential workers so they can travel to flood-affected regions.
Johnston says the free movement of interstate assessors and repairers is needed to help communities get back on their feet as soon as possible.
Based on claims lodged to date and Suncorp's preliminary damage assessments, the group expects claims in the range of $230-250 million with the majority attributed to a single event across all three states for reinsurance purposes.
Last week Insurance Australia Group (ASX: IAG) estimated the flood crisis would cost the company $135 million with 8,000 claims received by 4pm on 25 March.
The Insurance Council of Australia has declared the event a catastrophe in parts of NSW and South East Queensland.Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
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