Suncorp, whose brands include AAMI and GIO, said it expects revenue to grow between 3 percent and 5 percent in the next financial year on higher home and vehicle insurance sales, and it was confident that efforts to cut costs, partly through developing its online offerings, would bear fruit.
Although the hailstorm hit had been previously flagged, a 6 percent rise in operational costs was a surprise, prompting some analysts to wonder whether the country's second-largest general insurer would be able to deliver on its turnaround programme.
Reported net profit after tax (NPAT) of $452 million for the six months to December 31, 2017, was down 15.8 per cent on the prior corresponding period.
Its shares were down 2 percent in afternoon trade on Thursday, giving the company a market value of some A$17 billion.
Despite the dip in profits, the Australian insurance sector of the business was up 3.9 per cent, driven by unit growth and price increases.
However, Suncorp chief executive, Michael Cameron said that while the Australian Life Insurance business was progressing well, the company continued to explore alternatives "which include a partnership, sale or reinsurance".
Suncorp attributed this to the impact of natural hazards, timing of investments and increased regulatory costs.
On a divisional basis, the company's life insurance business provided some good news with underlying profit up 56 per cent to $39 million which the company said reflected the benefits of repricing and an ongoing focus on its optimisation process.