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Suncorp flooding claim costs may reach $250 million

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Suncorp says net claims costs related to heavy rainfall and flooding across NSW, southeast Queensland and Victoria are likely to reach $230-250 million based on a preliminary assessment of damage.

The company says the majority of claims will be attributed to a single event across all three states for reinsurance purposes, with the cost to be capped at $250 million under the main catastrophe program.

Suncorp had received just over 7600 claims across all three states as of midday yesterday with numbers expected to rise as customers gain access to affected regions and the extent of damage becomes clear.

About three quarters of claims are from NSW, with 20% from Queensland and the balance from Victoria and the ACT. Claim severity varies significantly between regions.

The Insurance Council of Australia says as of this morning a total of 33,152 claims have been received for the catastrophe, with an estimated loss of $497 million.

Suncorp CEO Steve Johnston says the company continues to work with customers, particularly in the hardest-hit areas of the NSW Mid-North Coast and Western Sydney.

“Floods are too frequently devastating communities around Australia, which is why as a country we must address this risk,” he said.

“Unfortunately, many homes in Richmond, Windsor, Penrith, Port Macquarie and Taree are in medium to very high flood risk areas.”

Mr Johnston says there’s a need to look at protection of homes in flood-prone regions through government investment in mitigation infrastructure, while planning decisions should be improved to prevent building new homes in high-risk areas.

Suncorp says support teams are on the ground in hard-hit communities, such as Port Macquarie in NSW, while Mr Johnston has spoken with customers in some of the most affected areas, despite the Brisbane lockdown, using virtual assessment technology

“The destruction caused by this disaster is clear – homes have been severely damaged and many residents have lost all their personal belongings,” he said.

“I spoke with some of our AAMI customers today. One couple had only just returned home after the water finally receded from below their ceiling fan.”

Sportscover Australia says it is offering similar support to that provided 14 months ago to communities affected by the bushfires.

Up to 50 grants of $500 will be available to assist eligible sports clubs and associations, gymnasiums and recreational facilities to replace equipment lost as a result of the floods.