Suncorp Group Ltd, an Australian insurer and lender facing payouts for the Queensland flood disaster, said its banking unit is an important part of the company’s business.
“We have a very clear strategy,” chief executive Patrick Snowball told an Austlian TV program yesterday. “We’re a diverse financial services group, we meet the aspirations of middle Australia. Part of that is the bank. The bank is traveling very well.”
He declined to answer a question on whether Suncorp would be willing to sell the banking unit.
Snowball, who took over leadership of the largest Brisbane- ased insurer in September 2009, said later that year that Suncorp was too complicated, burdened with duplication and needed leadership. Yesterday, he reiterated a plan to widen the underlying profit margin at the insurance business, the group’s biggest unit, by at least 3 percentage points by June next year.
Suncorp expects its net claims costs arising from Cyclone Yasi will be capped at A$10 million (US$10 million), it said on Wednesday.
Australia’s southern and eastern states have been swamped by flash floods, rains and swollen rivers for the past two months, leaving 35 people dead and a damage bill that economists say may reach A$20 billion.
“We have substantial premiums across Queensland, but our exposure in Queensland is not disproportionate to the exposure we have across the whole of Australia,” Snowball said.
The company will report first-half results on Feb. 23.