Insurance giant Suncorp Group says it has received 2,600 bushfire claims so far at a cost of up to $345 million, with the scope of damage yet to be finalised.
Suncorp said its fire claims across NSW, Queensland, SA, Victoria and Tasmania to December 31 alone were $240 million, with the company reporting a further $75 million to $105 million had been claimed during the first five days of the new year, making the total a minimum of $315 million.
“It is difficult to describe the extent and indiscriminate nature of the damage that has been caused and how deeply traumatic and dangerous they have been for families, communities and emergency services personnel,” Suncorp group chief executive Steve Johnson said in a statement.
The ongoing fire crisis is also expected to push Suncorp’s total first-half natural hazards costs to $519 million – $109 million above its allowance – with various hail events also contributing to that amount.
However, the company said its reinsurance program had been expended to provide additional cover for the rest of FY20, including a $200 million stop loss above the $820 million natural hazard allowance.
Shares in the company were trading 0.96 per cent higher at $13.145 by 1505 AEDT on Thursday.
Suncorp’s update on Thursday comes after rival group IAG this week said it expects to pay out roughly $400 million in natural peril claims for the six months to December 31, more than half of its $641 million natural peril allowance for the entire fiscal year.
IAG said it had received over 2,800 bushfire related claims since the beginning of September, mostly related to residential properties, including 1,500 claims since the start of December.
Suncorp said assessments for claims lodged in relation to the November 2019 bushfires in NSW and central Queensland have now been completed, with assessments in the Adelaide Hills region expected to finish this week.