Suncorp Says Australia Storm Costs To Top A$100 Million

Suncorp-Metway Ltd, Australia's second-biggest car and home insurer, said on Monday the total estimated costs from storms in northern Queensland state were seen exceeding A$100 million ($93 million). Suncorp said, however, that its reinsurance arrangements would limit its liability to A$100 million. Australian insurance companies have been battered by heavy storms and a large number of major weather events in the first half of fiscal 2008. In December, Insurance Australia Group Ltd cut its insurance margin forecast for the 2008 business year because of storm damage claims. Flooding in Queensland state since the start of 2008 has forced evacuations of towns, closed mines and washed away crops. Suncorp said it would give a further update on its costs from the storms when it reports half-year results on Feb. 28. (US$1=A$1.08) Story by Denny Thomas REUTERS NEWS SERVICE