Annual Review 2015/16

Suncorp’s new operating model puts our customers at the centre of the business to create greater value for them and build excellence in customer experience, solution design and delivery.

Suncorp partners with industry, community groups and other third parties to improve the affordability and accessibility of financial services to make sure we meet our customers’ needs, while being there for them when times get tough.

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%.

Driving Financial Inclusion

During the year Suncorp was selected as one of 11 ‘Trailblazing’ companies to take part in a national effort to help an estimated three million Australians who are financially excluded and may face significant economic and social hardship.

The Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) program is led by Good Shepherd Microfinance in partnership with Ernst & Young, the Centre for Social Impact and the Australian Government. As the only insurer in the group, Suncorp is committed to tackling the issue and is ideally placed to participate and drive positive change.

Our teams have been working with customers, government, industry, community groups and not-for-profits to develop innovative and affordable products and support. Suncorp is the only financial services provider in Australia that offers both insurance and banking products designed for disadvantaged and low-income customers.

Our award-winning Essentials by AAI product ensures low income earners have access to affordable insurance. In banking, our Everyday Essentials Account helps those in need by waiving account keeping or overdrawn fees, providing free statements and Suncorp Bank Visa Debit Cards, and removing the minimum deposit amount required to open an account.

Developing a FIAP is an excellent opportunity to further challenge and improve what Suncorp does and the role it plays.

Suncorp has committed to developing and launching its FIAP by December 2016.

Protecting the North

Suncorp recognises that cyclones are a part of life for customers in northern Australia, with damage to buildings and property just the tip of the iceberg. The additional costs to communities through lost work time, clean up, rebuilding and the adverse impacts on mental health are staggering. In order to help reduce risk and, in turn, the cost of insurance premiums in cyclone-prone communities, Suncorp developed its Protecting the North campaign, which includes a number of programs and initiatives to support our northern Australian customers.

Suncorp was recognised at the Australian Banking and Finance Awards for Best Insurance Company in Socially Responsible Performance for its work on Protecting the North. The initiative has also been recognised in the Australian Government’s National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy.

Protecting the North reached a major milestone in 2016 with the launch of the Cyclone Resilience Benefit.

The Benefit rewards Suncorp Insurance customers in northern Australia with premium reductions of up to 20% for strengthening their homes against cyclones. Improvements include fixing old roofs and covering windows. Suncorp Bank is also helping eligible customers, offering them reduced-rate personal loans to carry out the upgrades. Almost 14,500 policies have been evaluated to see if they qualify for a premium reduction under the Cyclone Resilience Benefit, with 81% of these being existing Suncorp customers and 19% new customers.

The Cyclone Resilience Benefit was created based on research by the Cyclone Testing Station at James Cook University, which was funded by Suncorp Insurance. It found that for every dollar spent on low-cost retrofits, the community will save up to $13. Some low-cost retrofits will even pay for themselves after only one category four cyclone.

Researching Cyclone Impacts on Strata

Another key element of Protecting the North was the launch of a research partnership with another Australian insurer and the Cyclone Testing Station at James Cook University.

The study is investigating the impact of tropical cyclones on strata properties in North Queensland. The results will provide customers, governments, designers and builders with a better understanding of the impacts of wind-driven rain and water entry, which affects insurance costs and is a major cause of damage to buildings. The study will also provide recommendations to help mitigate against the impacts of cyclones.

Investing in new technology and innovation

Developed as part of a 24-hour internal innovation challenge, Suncorp Bank’s BillSplitter has gone from an IT prototype to an Australian-first feature and is now an integral part of the Suncorp Bank app.

BillSplitter was created entirely in-house and allows customers to send virtual ‘IOUs’ to contacts in their phone. It automatically records incoming payments, sends reminder text messages to prompt outstanding payees and deposits money directly into the customer’s bank account.

The app is providing customers with a simple and convenient way to split bills and payments and is testament to Suncorp’s focus on delivering value for its customers.

The new Shannons app is also delivering value for customers by providing the capability to instantly request a quote for an insurance policy, capture incidents and lodge a quote direct from a smartphone. It also provides access to Shannons Club and Shannons Auctions.

Strategic Partnerships

A key aspect of the Suncorp marketplace is its ability to deliver value for customers by providing access to innovative products and services from carefully selected strategic partners.

Trōv

In April 2016, Suncorp announced a US$5 million equity stake in US-based technology developer Trōv, in line with our strategy to create innovative platforms for customers. Suncorp was the first insurer globally to work with Trōv in 2014 and helped establish Australia as a test market for the Trōv app, which enables customers to create a digital inventory of their items on their mobile phones.

Since then Suncorp has been working with Trōv to develop innovative ways for customers to protect their possessions once they have valued them. Together, we identified there was strong demand from customers for a seamless insurance platform built into the existing Trōv app. In May 2016, Trōv Protection was launched, giving customers the ability to cover individual possessions for a duration of time that suits them.

The company’s investment and our role as the insurer secures our relationship with Trōv and creates additional financial value through insurance profit in Australia and New Zealand.

9 Spokes

Suncorp partnered with 9 Spokes International to launch and deliver a new online platform specially designed for its small and medium enterprise business customers. The Suncorp business toolkit consolidates a number of small business apps, using metrics and insights to create a live dashboard to give customers a better understanding of their performance.

This partnership will give customers the confidence to run their business through the best available apps aligned to their industry, and a clear view of their performance in real-time to help inform decision making.