Being there when it matters most
Helping customers get back on their feet after an accident or weather event is core to our existence.
In 2015/16, Suncorp customers were impacted by a number of small-medium sized weather events including severe storms across the east coast of Australia and bushfires in Victoria and Western Australia. The most significant event during the year was flooding from the East Coast Low in June, which swept through several states including Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.
For all weather events, supporting customers is our number one priority. We offer emergency funds and accommodation, perform make-safe repairs and prioritise vulnerable or elderly customers’ claims. We support communities affected by large weather events by using local tradespeople and services in the first instance.
Suncorp mobilises resources from across the Group to respond to our customers’ needs and meet the demands of increased calls to claims centres. Where necessary, event response teams are deployed to impacted communities to support customers, expedite claims and help the wider community. For example, the Customer Response Team from AAMI established a mobile insurance claims office near the site of the Christmas Day bushfires at Apollo Bay in Victoria, to help affected residents who required face-to-face support.
Suncorp Bank also offers financial relief for customers impacted by severe weather conditions. In the aftermath of the East Coast Low in June, the Bank offered the following relief assistance options to impacted customers:
- an opportunity to defer loan repayments for a period
- residential, personal, business and agricultural loan rearranging without the cost of most bank fees
- waived early withdrawal fees for those clients wishing to withdraw from term deposits
- refund of merchant rental fees for a period
- credit card repayment relief where necessary.
Customers are able to receive severe weather and bushfire alert notifications through the AAMI Access mobile app which was released in October 2015. AAMI partnered with the country’s leading meteorology specialist, Early Warning Network, to provide the latest weather data. The app uses push notification technology to push alerts to customers’ mobile phones, warning them of severe weather or fires.
The Group is also investing in digital technology to allow customers to lodge claims through the channel that suits them best. In 2016, the number of customers lodging claims via a smartphone or online increased by approximately 43%.