Reinsurance will cover bushfire cost: Suncorp
The worst NSW bushfires for several decades are unlikely to severely dent the profits of Suncorp, after it said claims from the disaster would not breach its reinsurance cover.
With several serious fires still burning on Thursday, chief executive Patrick Snowball said it was too early to put a precise figure on the company's exposure to the blazes.
"We're focusing our attention entirely on the needs of our customers that are being caught up in this tragic event," he said at the company's annual meeting in Brisbane.
He said Suncorp would have a clearer idea of the claims it had received by the middle of next week but the cost was easily within reinsurance agreements in place with other underwriters. So far, there have been 1000 claims from the NSW bushfires, with estimated insurance losses of $130 million, the Insurance Council of Australia said.
IAG, which owns the NRMA brand, is thought to be the most exposed to the disaster but analysts say claims from the event are unlikely to dent its earnings. Suncorp, the company behind AAMI and GIO, is next most exposed.
Mr Snowball's comments came after chairman Ziggy Switkowski responded to shareholder concerns that his decision to become chairman and chief executive of NBN Co would interfere with his role at the financial services conglomerate.
Mr Switkowski this month took the rare step of agreeing to run the NBN Co as chief executive, as well as chairing the company, until a permanent replacement for former boss Mike Quigley is found.
"In taking on this new post, I recognise that for an interim period this will involve executive responsibilities and inevitably some new challenges and workload," he said.
To make sure he could manage the extra workload of running Australia's biggest infrastructure project, he said he had taken a leave of absence from the board of Oil Search and resigned from Opera Australia and Lynas Corporation.
"I want to assure you I have the enthusiasm and capacity to carry out my duties for the Suncorp Group while taking on the demands of the national broadband network," he said. Finding a permanent boss for NBN Co was a "priority".
InvestSMART FORUM: Come and meet the team
We're loading up the van and going on tour from April to June, with events on the NSW central & north coast, the QLD mid-north coast and in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. Come and meet the team and take home simple strategies that you can use to build an investment portfolio to weather any storm. Book your spot here.
Want access to our latest research and new buy ideas?
Start a free 15 day trial and gain access to our research, recommendations and market-beating model portfolios.Sign up for free