‘At critical juncture’: Suncorp CEO

After more than a century of allowing residents to build in harm’s way, the community needs to better support those who are paying the emotional and financial price, Suncorp Group CEO and MD Steve Johnston says.

Suncorp Group CEO & MD Steve Johnson

Commenting in the Suncorp online news pages a year after witnessing first hand the Lismore floods, Johnson said “we’re now at a critical juncture”.

“The next 12 months will be vital to ensure the momentum is sustained, commitments are turned into action, and the legacy of these floods are not forgotten. As a state and as a nation, we simply cannot afford to miss this opportunity to make 2022 count by ensuring more people are protected from extreme weather both now and well into the future,” he said.

“This is an intergenerational challenge that must be met now through proactive collaboration and investment across all sectors of our community.”

Pushing people out of the insurance market or exacerbating the problem of underinsurance was not an option “as it will simply transfer the cost of the extreme weather event, and the one after, to the taxpayer”.

Johnson was encouraged by the “dial shift” on government resilience investment since the 2022 east coast floods. “This is positive progress but communities across the state are still crying out for more action,” he said.

“We need to continue to cut through the tiers of government and for National Cabinet to play a leadership role – driving a national conversation and long-term stable financing to protect communities now and from a changing climate.”

Johnson said Suncorp had made strong progress on the rebuild for its customers and had finalised more than 14,000, or 80% of flood claims in NSW and about 19,000, or 85% of QLD home claims.

“But our job won’t be done until each and every customer is back in their home,” he said.