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Finance, banking and insurance corporation Suncorp Group has revealed that costs for claims made in the first five days of January – during which states of emergency were declared in Victoria and NSW due to the ongoing bushfire crisis – are already estimated to be between $75-105 million.
Further, the bank attributes total natural hazard costs (including bushfires, floods and storms) of $519 million for 1H20.
Suncorp said it has received more than 2,600 bushfire-related claims since September 2019, with a total estimated cost of between $315-$345 million.
To help respond to Australia’s catastrophic bushfire crisis, Suncorp has had dedicated teams stationed in bushfire-affected communities since September 2019.
The lender anticipates it will shortly be deploying its teams to the severely affected towns of Ulladulla and Batemans Bay in NSW and Bairnsdale in Victoria over the weekend, as weather conditions deteriorate.
The company is on standby to also send teams to the South Coast of NSW and East Gippsland region in Victoria when these areas become safe to do so.
Suncorp said it has also deployed other resources to respond to this disaster and is providing affected home owners with a dedicated client manager to make the claims process as smooth as possible, as well as providing affected customers with temporary accommodation, emergency funds and financial assistance, as well as financial relief.
The group claims to have successfully completed all claims lodged in relation to the November 2019 bushfires on the NSW Central Coast, as well as Central Queensland, and expects assessments in the Adelaide Hills region to be finished this week.
Donations to recovery efforts
Additionally, like a number of other financial institutions, Suncorp has donated $500,000 to the bushfire relief effort, increasing its original pledge of $100,000.
The funds will be distributed between local emergency service organisations in NSW and Queensland, as well as donations made to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, as well as encouraging local and regional community fundraising efforts.
The bank also continues with its commitment to match any employee donations made to bushfire relief organisations, with over $90,000 contributed to date.