Broker Love: IAG opens up on next stage of turnaround plan
A few years back, IAG’s Intermediated Insurance Australia division was struggling by any measure, a self-proclaimed underperformer that recorded a more than $100 million loss in FY22.
In response, CEO CGU & WFI Jarrod Hill (who joined IAG in September 2021 after previously serving as Chubb country president), launched an ambitious turnaround plan, targeting $250 million profit by FY24.
The initial focus was internal, as the division aimed to simplify processes and build core pricing and product capability.
But now Mr Hill is looking outwards, with a range of new initiatives aimed at transforming partner relationships and arresting concerning falls in Net Promoter Scores.
“It was imperative that we got those foundational capabilities right, so we could deliver on any promise we made,” Mr Hill tells insuranceNEWS.com.au. “But now, it’s time to look at our broker engagement strategy.”
The Broker Love strategy has been launched, with Mr Hill admitting the “provocative” title is “intended to evoke an emotional response”.
At its heart it’s a simple “back to basics” approach to take accountability, focus on solutions, and “help brokers help customers”.
“It’s about making sure we're focused on what we're here to do, which is delivering product to our brokers to support customers in either their business or protecting their personal assets.”
A key plank is “phone first”, an instruction to resist the temptations of less personal digital communications in favour of the more traditional telephone call.
“I think we got in the habit, after working from home, of too much relying on email all the time, or text message, or whatever it may be. And that adds more back and forth.
“Rather than us firing back an email with seven questions – pick up the phone, speak to the broker, and have that discussion, and make sure we're both on the same page.
“If there's missing information in the submission, don't just fire back. Ask the question, another couple of points could come from engaging in a conversation.
“It's a relationship. Let’s engage with [brokers] and not just hide behind a computer screen.”
Claims is another area of focus for the division after “a really challenging 18 or 24 months”.
Covid-induced disruptions and regulatory change combined with vast numbers of natural catastrophe claims to create significant challenges for IAG – and all insurers.
“It's fair to say we probably didn't get all of that right,” Mr Hill says, and a significant backlog of claims built up.
Commercial motor claims processes have been reviewed, with specialist, internal assessors now used to help deliver enhanced service levels and reduced claim timeframes.
“We’re closing far more claims every month, and we've reduced our outstanding claims numbers across all of our motor business down to the levels that they were pre-covid,” Mr Hill says.
In property, a Rapid Claims initiative has been piloted, with dramatic results on simple claims.
“Through the proof of concept that we ran there, we reduced average claim duration from 60 days to eight days.
“And as you can imagine, that had a massive uptick in our customer broker NPS scores.”
It’s been less about technology, and more about stepping back and rethinking processes that had been complicated by layer upon layer of regulatory change – although Mr Hill says AI may be able to bring even more efficiency in future.
Leakage actually reduced during the pilot, which will now be expanded across different types of claim.
“There has been an uplift in our staff morale, because they want to provide great service, they want to meet or exceed customer expectations,” Mr Hill says.
“And we hadn't been doing that in the property space, because of everything we'd been battling through.
“To be able to do that and start delivering on that – it’s a huge uplift. So we're taking that from proof of concept, and we're rolling that out across the country.”
Mr Hill accepts that not everything is rosy – despite gross written premium rises from rate increases, customer number growth has stalled.
And brokers remain concerned about appetite for “non-vanilla” SME risks as a reliance on trading platforms leads to a greater focus on efficiency and an aversion to manual referrals.
But with its own capability and appetite now clear, CGU hopes that by sharing the love it can take its turnaround to the next level.
A $209 million profit last financial year indicates it’s on the right track – and that $250 million target doesn’t look too far away.