THE NEWS WRAP: Insurers take $674 million hit on summer disasters

Australia’s leading insurance companies have received more than 65,000 claims as a result of cyclones, floods and bushfires over summer, with the total bill estimated at $674 million.

 

Bushfires in Tasmania and floods in New South Wales accounted for $121 million in total, with claims from Cyclone Oswald in Queensland totalling around $553 million.

 

“Our recovery operation is well under way and our absolute focus is on making sure our customers get the support they need as soon as possible,” Insurance Australia Group chief executive Mike Wilkins told The Australian.

 

JB Hi-Fi calls for price war truce after better than expected profits

 

JB Hi-Fi has reported a better than expected half-year profit of $82.1 million, up 3% year-on-year, with chief executive Terry Smart calling for a truce in the home electronics price wars.

 

“We are not saying we are not discounting. We are just saying the market is still aggressive, it’s just not doing the unsustainable [price] levels that we were witnessing last year,” Smart told Fairfax.

 

“The consumer is still in the box seat for getting deals and we are as primed as ever to make sure we are taking all of those, but it’s cycling events from last year that were just not long-term and sustainable.”

 

Aldi set to expand west

 

Discount grocery chain Aldi is set to announce an expansion of its chain with plans to open its first stores in Western Australia and South Australia.

 

The company has relocated a senior executive from its Queensland property team to Perth in order to acquire new store sites, and is looking to make a similar move in Adelaide.

 

The German retailer has grown its local operations to around 200 stores across the eastern states since opening its first Australian store in January 2001.

 

Overnight

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.13% to 13974.50. The Aussie dollar is down to $US102.88 cents.

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