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SYDNEY (Reuters)—Australian insurer and bank Suncorp Group said on Friday its natural hazard costs for the six months to December were expected to be well ahead of its allowance after a damaging hailstorm in Melbourne, Australia, sending its shares down over 3%.
Suncorp, which along with fellow Australian insurers is emerging from record flood, storm and earthquake claims in 2011, said a hailstorm in Melbourne on Christmas Day was expected to cost between $200 million Australian and $250 million Australian ($204.2 million and $255.2 million).
The group, which reports half-year financial results on Feb. 22, said in a statement that natural hazard costs for the six months to December were expected at $360 million Australian to $420 million Australian ($367.5 million to $428.7 million), compared with a $240 million Australian ($245.0 million) allowance for the period.
"The Melbourne hailstorm on 25th December 2011 caused widespread damage across residential areas in the city's northern suburbs," Suncorp said in a statement.
Suncorp shares fell as much as 3.6% and ended down 3.2% to record the sharpest fall in a month as investors feared high natural hazard costs would cut profit expectations.