Suncorp reveals $680m natural hazard allowance will cover its 19,000 storm claims

Suncorp reveals $680m natural hazard allowance will cover its 19,000 storm claims

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Suncorp Group (ASX: SUN) has revealed its $680 million natural hazard allowance for the December half will be enough to cover the 19,000 claims it has received so far following damages from a wave of storms that hit the east coast since the end of November.

However, the insurer, which has allocated $1.36 billion for natural hazards in FY24, is expecting more claims to flow through in the current half as the full impact of the floods affecting southeast Queensland becomes known.

The claims are among almost 38,000 recorded by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) across the industry from storms and flooding in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and the ACT since 23 December.

Insurance Australia Group (ASX: IAG), which operates the NRMA Insurance, CGU and WFI brands, confirms that it has received about 17,000 claims from storm events across Australia in December with about 500 from Cyclone Jasper and around 9,000 from severe storms that occurred around Christmas Day.

The ICA yesterday extended its ‘insurance catastrophe’ declaration for the storm damage to 3 January, a move that escalates and prioritises the insurance industry’s response for affected policyholders.

Suncorp says of the 19,000 claims received by the end of business on Tuesday, 2 January, some 12,500 were from Queensland – including claims from Cyclone Jasper – with the state the hardest hit by damaging storm clusters since the end of November.

About 9,500 of these claims were from homeowners, representing almost three quarters of all residential property claims received by Suncorp across policyholders in three states and territories.

“While the damage I have seen across both the southeast and far north of Queensland has been significant and the recovery will take time, we have our teams and full supply chains mobilised and in action,” says Suncorp Group CEO Steve Johnston, who this week visited customers and Suncorp teams on the Gold Coast and Cairns.

“These rolling series of storms extended across multiple states and as far inland as Orange in the Central Tablelands of NSW. We have good capacity with builders, assessors and claims teams already working across multiple impacted communities helping get our customers back on their feet.  

“These storms have been a reminder of the devastating impact of extreme weather and our deepest condolences to all those who have lost family and friends.”

The Christmas storms in southeast Queensland left more than 140,000 properties without power, with the Gold Coast hinterland among the worst affected areas.

More than 3,300 properties at Tamborine Mountain are still without power this morning, almost two weeks after the storm hit, with Energex reporting it could still take weeks to rebuild the power network there.

“The volume and intensity of the storms that have impacted three states prior to Christmas has caused substantial damage,” says Andrew Hall, the CEO of ICA.

“These severe storms have caused significant stress and uncertainty to those impacted, and insurers are already assisting customers with claims and the recovery process.”

Hall says insurance assessors are now being deployed to the most recently affected communities.

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