Transparency has been crucial for insurers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and Suncorp New Zealand’s ‘sentiment tracking’ throughout 2020 revealed that over 80% of New Zealanders had an opinion on what insurers ought to do with any savings they make throughout the crisis - and the majority wanted to know how they’d end up being used.
Executive manager, life portfolio & new business, Claire Sutton noted that over half of New Zealanders felt any savings should go towards struggling local businesses, individuals and charities which support vulnerable communities. She says Suncorp has since used these findings to offer its customers better value and choice, particularly through its COVID-19 support measures.
“One of the things that was really interesting is that more than 80% of New Zealanders have an opinion on what companies should do with their savings during COVID-19, and almost 60% wanted them to be used for those who are most in need,” Sutton said.
“This was really interesting for us, as that really strong sense of community and of getting New Zealanders back on their feet again came through very profoundly. However, there was a catch - 59% of New Zealanders wanted to know how the company was choosing to allocate its money. That need for trust and transparency is another thing that has come through really strongly in the sentiment tracking that we’ve been doing.”
“From our perspective, we’re trying to really galvanise our business and our people to really stay close to our purpose,” she continued.
“We also need to allow choice - whether consumers deal with us through a bank, a broker or directly, we need to ensure that we give them what they need, rather than what we think they need. That way, we can create choice for those customers who make use of our hardship fund.”
Sutton says that independent advice is also a key part of the puzzle, and that Suncorp has referred a lot of customers to independent advice services since the pandemic struck.
“We’ve connected customers to advice where we’ve seen that they’re having some trouble and could use that kind of support,” Sutton said.
“We’ve connected customers back to MoneyTalks, or to their broker or adviser - so it’s really about creating value beyond the interaction itself.”