Suncorp has flagged a cost hit of between $160 and $170 million in its first-half results, following a flood of insurance claims relating to Melbourne’s hailstorm in December.
The insurance giant expects to receive more than 21,000 claims from the hailstorm – mainly in relation to home and motor vehicle damage – across its insurance brands including AAMI, GIO, Suncorp, Apia, Shannons and Bingle.
Suncorp on Monday said its total natural hazard claim costs in Australia and New Zealand for the six months to December 31 is estimated to be between $406 million and $416 million, which is $60 million to $70 million above the allowance for the half.
Suncorp shares dropped 16 cents, or 1.15 per cent, to $13.72 on the news, making it the worst performer of the major ASX-listed insurers.
The Insurance Council of Australia in December declared the storm a “catastrophe” and, shortly afterwards, said there had been more than 25,000 insurance claims totalling $105 million.
About 100,000 Victorian properties were without power as wild wind gusts reaching up to 117 km/h felled trees and powerlines.
Suncorp on Monday said it was well protected against further natural hazard events and had a program in place for the 2018 financial year.
Managing director Michael Cameron said responding to customers was the key priority.
“We are focused on ensuring the safety of our customers and their families, as well as processing all claims as soon as possible to give customers peace of mind during the holiday season,” Mr Cameron said on Monday.
Suncorp’s half-year financial results are slated for release on February 15.