21 Aug 2013

NZ profit tripled by Suncorp

1:58 pm on 21 August 2013

Suncorp Group, the owner of Vero New Zealand, has more than tripled its New Zealand earnings following the Christchurch earthquakes.

The firm reported a general insurance trading result of $NZ91 million in the year ended 30 June in New Zealand where it owns Vero. AAP reports this was up from $NZ25 million the previous year.

In Australian dollar terms, the result for New Zealand was up 311%.

Suncorp said policy rate increases in response to higher reinsurance costs and growth in new business in personal lines of product contributed to a 13.6% rise in gross written premiums in New Zealand.

"Following the consolidation of the general insurance industry as a result of the Canterbury earthquakes and new prudential regulation, the outlook is positive for remaining insurers," the company said in a statement to ASX.

"The New Zealand economy continues to recover."

Suncorp told the ASX completion of earthquake claims from the city remained a priority.

Vero New Zealand is well advanced in a strategic review and is looking to improve risk assessment, pricing, cost control and customer claims management, the owner said.

"New Zealand will continue to contribute to the group's commitment to 'meet or beat' 12 per cent underlying insurance trading result."

AAP reports the company increased New Zealand gross written premiums from motor vehicle insurance by 13.2%, from commercial insurance by 11.8% and life insurance by 42.9%.

Suncorp's group net profit sank to $A491 million ($NZ559.1m) from $A724 million a year earlier after booking a loss on the sale of commercial property portfolio and corporate loans.