Australia’s Suncorp Updates Melbourne Storm, NZ Quake Loss Estimates

January 6, 2012

Australia’s Suncorp Group Limited’s preliminary estimates of the financial impacts of the recent Melbourne hailstorm and Christchurch earthquake are between A$200 and A$250 million [US$204.9 to US$256.1 million]. Suncorp added that its “reinsurance arrangements provide protection should the cost of this event exceed $250 million.”

The bulletin noted that “both events occurred over the Christmas holiday period, impacting claims lodgment and assessment. Therefore, the expected financial impacts may vary as claims are finalized.”

The hailstorm that hit Melbourne on December 25 “caused widespread damage across residential areas in the city’s northern suburbs and around 28,000 claims have been received across Suncorp’s personal and commercial insurance brands to date, with about two-thirds of these being for damage to vehicles and the remainder for other property damage.”

The Christchurch earthquake on December 23, 2011 is expected to cost between A$10 million (NZ$13 million [US$10.24 million]) and A$20 million (NZ$26 million [US$26.63 million]).

Suncorp added that it expects its natural hazard costs for the six months up to December 31, 2011 to be “in the range of A$360 million [US$368.8 million] and A$420 million [US$430.3 million]. This is A$120 million [US$123 million] to A$180 million [US$184.4 million] above the A$240 million [US$245.86 million] natural hazard allowance for the period.”

Group chief executive Patrick Snowball said the priority at this stage was assisting customers and Suncorp’s major claims event capabilities had been activated to ensure this occurred.

Additional claims and assessing resources, including mobile customer response teams, have been mobilized and mass assessment centers have been set up to fast-track the process of repairing hail damaged cars in Melbourne.

Source: Suncorp Group

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