BusinessDesk: Suncorp puts cost of Dec. 23 earthquake in Christchurch at as much as $26 mln

BusinessDesk: Suncorp puts cost of Dec. 23 earthquake in Christchurch at as much as $26 mln

Suncorp Group, the Australian owner the Asteron and Vero insurance brands, said the Dec. 23 earthquake in Christchurch may cost $13 million to $26 million, helping swell the impact of natural disasters in the second half of 2011.

Brisbane-based Suncorp said its total costs for natural disasters in the six months ended Dec. 31 would be A$360 million to A$420 million, exceeding the A$240 million it had allowed for.

Costs include $200 million to A$250 million in damage from a freak hailstorm in Melbourne on Christmas Day.

Suncorp’s reinsurance kicks in should the event exceed $250 million.

The priority at this stage is to assist customers and Suncorp’s major claims, said Patrick Snowball, group chief executive.

In December, Suncorp sold New Zealand Guardian Trust Co. to ASX-listed Trust Co. for $42 million in a bid to streamline its business. The deal is expected to be completed at the end of February and is subject to Overseas Investment Office approval.

(BusinessDesk)

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