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Insurers pay up for Cyclone Oswald

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has said that almost 100% of claims for damage from ex-tropical Cyclone Oswald in Queensland have been processed.

Suncorp (ASX: SUN), Insurance Australia Group (ASX: IAG) and QBE (ASX: QBE) were all affected by the cyclone and liabilities ranged from $50 million to between $200 million-$220 million. ICA Spokesman Campbell Fuller says the claims have been processed in record time, quicker than any of the floods or fires before it.

“Nearly 70% of domestic property claims and more than 80% of contents claims have been closed, so that means the money’s been paid, the goods have been replaced and the building have been repaired… or the policyholder has decided to go for a cash settlement” Mr Fuller said. However not everyone is happy with their insurers. It is estimated that about 700 houses in North Bundaberg are still empty.

Foolish takeaway

Insurance companies carry an element of uncertainty due to the nature of the business. In the past year, general insurers have thrived without massive payouts from events like flooding or bushfires and returned solid share price gains thanks to good equities markets. Investors looking to purchase some insurance stocks should consider if the company is well funded to take a large amount of payouts and determine an acceptable price to pay given the extra uncertainty.

Suncorp will release its full-year results on August 21. In the meantime, discover The Motley Fool’s favourite income idea for 2013-2014 in our brand-new, FREE research report, including a full investment analysis! Simply click here for your FREE copy of “The Motley Fool’s Top Dividend Stock for 2013-2014.”

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Motley Fool contributor Owen Raszkiewicz does not have a financial interest in any of the mentioned companies. 

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