Suncorp NZ’s half-year profit increases to $129 million

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One of the country’s largest insurance groups, Suncorp New Zealand, has increased its half-year profit despite some hefty flood and fire claims.

Suncorp is an Australian finance, insurance, and banking corporation.

Photo: 123RF

The owner of Vero, Asteron Life, and AA Insurance has reported a net profit for the six months ended December of $129 million compared with $108m the year before.

The company said it had an increase in premiums income of more than 5 percent to $923m, as well as a small fall in costs.

Overall claim costs were up 6 percent, with three major events – floods in Northland and Napier, and the Lake Ōhau fire – costing the company $33m, compared with $14m the year before.

“We continue to assess the resilience of communities exposed to natural hazards, and we have a strong focus on the sustainability of our own business,” Suncorp’s NZ chief executive Jimmy Higgins said.

Motor vehicle claims returned to something approaching normal after a sharp decline during the Covid-lockdown, but delays in getting parts for repairs was raising costs.

“We’ll be keeping a close eye on this to see if it is likely to be the new normal, or whether claims costs in motor return to previous levels when global supply lines improve,” Higgins said.

Profit for the general insurance arm of the business was $100m. The life insurance business had a profit of $29m, nearly double the year before, on lower claims, increased investment returns, and a modest rise in new business.

Higgins said the New Zealand business would not be following the move by its Australian-based parent to stop selling building and consumer insurance products through third-party agents.

“Vero New Zealand operates as a standalone business that is committed to growing its consumer book through its New Zealand distribution partners. The intermediate consumer insurance book is strategically important to our business and we have no plans to exit that market.”

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