Vero Insurance New Zealand wants to be as close to its brokers and partners as it can to help them navigate the ongoing changes and trends in the sector, and one way the Suncorp-owned insurer is doing that is via its new “Over and Above” resource hub. Here, Suncorp New Zealand chief customer officer Campbell Mitchell (pictured) talks about the feedback-led initiative.
“There are two key drivers [for the move],” Mitchell told Insurance Business. “One is the external forces impacting our industry right now – price pressure, reinsurance costs, higher weather event frequency and severity, claims inflation. Those are ones which are more expected, but you’ve also got the heightened legislation and regulatory focus in New Zealand.
“There’s the [Toka Tū Ake] EQC (Earthquake Commission) cap changes, discussion around approach to flooding, and you’ve got a very clear conduct focus from the FMA (Financial Markets Authority), with most insurers navigating remediation with a greater awareness around doing the right thing by customers. So, there’s a lot of issues that are facing our industry right now, and Over and Above, really, is designed to help them navigate those issues.”
Over and Above consists of four sections: tools, insights, training, and regulatory. Brokers will be familiar with some of the portal’s components, including Vero’s risk profiler and SME (small- and medium-sized enterprises) insurance index, which are both found under tools. The training and regulatory tabs are new offerings, based on demand.
“Brokers have told us that of the things that they would like us to help them with, ongoing education in the topics impacting the insurance industry is very important,” shared Mitchell. “In a recent survey, one in two brokers asked for help around education and training – just more information, really. Over and Above is our response to both the external forces impacting our industry and a call from brokers saying, ‘There’s a lot going on – can you help us out?’”
Part of what led to Over and Above was the feedback from 350 brokers and partners pointing to a clamour for continuing industry education. According to Mitchell, his camp wanted to put together an educational-based portal that covers a wide range of complex issues and is free to access, with the goal of helping insurance brokers help their customers.
“There are four different parts to it because there are four different needs,” explained the Suncorp executive. “We’ve been doing the tools and insights, and we keep doing them because they’re valued and they’re helping for better conversations with customers. So, that’s a great thing and we’ll continue to do it.
“The two that have increased focus, really, are the training and the regulatory and conduct piece. Training because professional development is always a need for brokers, and where we can help we definitely are keen to do that. And regulatory and conduct is one that is becoming a greater focus with our regulator, the FMA. It’s really asking us to lift our game around conduct and to ensure that our customers are well looked after.”
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The chief customer officer believes the dust has not quite settled yet as far as the Kiwi insurance market’s transformation is concerned – telling Insurance Business that more change will come through, amid which Over and Above’s regulatory section aims to facilitate understanding by featuring insurance regulatory updates and information on fair customer outcomes.
“Our job is to try and increase awareness of Over and Above,” added Mitchell. “And we will continually work on the content and respond to any of the changing needs as they occur. This is the joy of having quite a complex, fast-changing industry… It’s about getting out there and creating the content and making it accessible. That’s why it’s on the website – we don’t try to hide it away somewhere, and there’s no paywall or login required.”
Vero Insurance New Zealand, which uses a combination of continuous feedback mechanisms to ensure it is connecting with the broker community, said the Over and Above page has already had more than 1,500 views since its launch earlier this month. Market overview, claims information, and regulatory overview have emerged as the top downloads, to date.