Clearer picture emerges of scale of flood devastation
Suncorp is assisting devastated communities across flood-affected parts of New South Wales, South East Queensland and Victoria, as residents assess the damage to their homes and businesses.
As sunshine returns and the water recedes, residents affected by the devastating floods in New South Wales, South East Queensland and Victoria are trying to salvage what they can.
Suncorp customer support teams have been deployed and are now on the ground in some of the hardest-hit communities such as Port Macquarie in New South Wales.
The teams are providing face-to-face support, arranging emergency repairs, organising temporary accommodation for customers whose homes were severely damaged and providing cash payments for emergency purchases.
Suncorp’s new virtual assessment technology allowed Suncorp Group CEO Steve Johnston to spend the morning virtually meeting with customers in some of the most affected regions, despite the Brisbane lockdown.
“The destruction caused by this disaster is clear – homes have been severely damaged and many residents have lost all their personal belongings. 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,” Mr Johnston said.
“This recovery will take some time, which why it is so important that our assessors and builders are already on the ground working with our customers, particularly in the hardest-hit areas.”
As of 12pm (AEST) 30 March, Suncorp had received just over 7,600 claims across three states. Claims numbers are expected to rise further as more customers gain access to affected regions.
Around three-quarters of claims are from New South Wales, with around 20 per cent from Queensland and the balance from Victoria and the ACT. The severity of claims varies significantly between regions.
“Suncorp continues to work with our customers, particularly in the hardest-hit areas of the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales and Western Sydney,” said Suncorp Group CEO Steve Johnston.
“Floods too frequently devastate communities across Australia, which is why as a country we must address this risk,” Mr Johnston said.
“Unfortunately, many homes in Richmond, Windsor, Penrith, Port Macquarie and Taree are in medium to very high flood risk areas.
“As a country, we need to address how we can protect homes in flood-prone regions through government investment in mitigation infrastructure. We must also improve planning decisions to ensure we are not building new homes in high-risk areas,” Mr Johnston said.
Suncorp welcomed the Queensland and New South Wales Governments’ decision to classify assessors and tradespeople as essential workers so they can travel to flood-affected regions.
Mr Johnston said the scale of the disaster necessitates the movement of interstate assessors and repairers so that customers and communities can get back on their feet as soon as possible.
Based on claims lodged to date and the Group’s preliminary assessment of the damage, Suncorp estimates the net claims costs in relation to this event, will be $230 – 250 million.
Suncorp expects the majority of claims to be attributed to a single event across all three states for reinsurance purposes.
The costs of this event will be capped at $250 million under the Group’s main catastrophe program.