Price increases expected at Suncorp

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Suncorp has seen premium increases in the 10% to 13% range during June renewals.

The major insurer said that increases within that range have come through “fairly freely” over the busy period.

Michael Cameron, CEO and managing director of Suncorp, said that the firm is noticing a turn in the market.

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“We do see a bit of a turn in that market,” Cameron told a media briefing. “We continue to lose a bit of a share, you would see our gross written premium down for the year, but definitely there is hardening now coming through on the commercial book at the top end.”

And when it comes to domestic policies, Cameron said that over FY17, increases of around 3% to 5% were common in home and motor, and similar increases are expected over the coming financial year.

“It is a hardening market,” Cameron continued.

As prices increase, Cameron said it will be important for the business to offer more benefits and increased value for customers.

“We actually expect that while there may be price increases coming through on individual product lines, the overall value we can give our customers as a result of improving claims processes and the procurement approach will result in better prices in the hands of the customers,” Cameron said.

“Although the core products, as a result of industry pressure, will observe that increase.”

With the insurer announcing its insurance profits in Australia had been boosted by 30%, the firm will invest $100 million after tax in its One Suncorp strategy, which will see the business continue its push towards digitalisation.

Cameron stressed that the push towards a single platform for the entire Suncorp entity will not leave brokers out in the cold as they remain “a critical part” of the firms’ distribution strategy.

“The intention is to allow customers to deal with us in any way they like – whether they want to transact with us through an app, a call centre, a store or a broker, and many people will use a combination of those,” Cameron continued.

As for its outlook, Suncorp said that in the medium term, it will look to improve underlying net profit after tax with a sustainable ROE of at least 10%, which implies an underlying ITR of at least 12%.

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