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Suncorp (ASX:SUN) share price dips amid rising flood claims

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The Suncorp Group Ltd (ASX: SUN) share price is down 0.6% in early trade.

Suncorp shares closed yesterday at $11.03 and are trading for $10.96 at the time of writing.

Below we look at the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) financial services and insurance giant’s latest figures on the east coast flood damage.

What flood claims were reported?

The Suncorp share price is edging lower after the company reported on the ongoing flood recovery in Queensland and New South Wales. The flooding came amid 15 consecutive days of torrential rains.

Suncorp reported that as of Monday it had received more than 34,000 claims related to the flood damage, with at least 80% involving homes. Approximately 60% of claims stem from Queensland with the other 40% in New South Wales.

The storms have resulted in four separate natural hazard events being recognised.

Suncorp estimates its net retained loss from the combined events is around $75 million. It reported that recoveries are being triggered under a combination of the company’s various reinsurance cover policies. Suncorp said it “remains well protected for the remainder of the year” under existing reinsurance cover.

The Suncorp share price could be under some additional pressure after it increased its estimate of natural hazard costs for the full year by $25 million to $1.1 billion.

Commenting on the flood damage and claims, Suncorp CEO Steve Johnston said, “It’s some of the most widespread devastation I have witnessed, and it is a tragedy for so many Australians. I am very proud of how our people have responded when our customers need us most.”

Johnston pointed to Suncorp’s use of aerial imagery, real-time data and on-the-ground insights to help it quickly focus support where it’s most needed:

Our ongoing focus on the digital experience resulted in around 70% of claims lodged online. This allowed us to quickly understand the scale of the event, deploy resources and support our customers faster than ever before. We have also sent more than 1.1 million digital messages to promote online lodgement and provide information on the claims process.

With the floods coming after a big prior run of claims, Suncorp is expanding its workforce.

“The floods came after a six-month period where we had already received more than 50,000 natural hazard claims, so we are currently recruiting more people to help us move as quickly as we can to support our customers,” Johnston said.

The Suncorp share price has begun to recover since its sharp February slide. So far in 2022 Suncorp shares remain down 4.5%. For some context, the ASX 200 is down 6.2% year to date.

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