Data analytics drives IAG's customer innovation efforts

Insurance giant talks through the achievements of its customer labs division as well as flags plans to extend the reach of its Ambiata data analytics tool to the wider market in FY17

IAG’s new Customer Labs division is looking to extend the commercial reach of its Ambiata analytics subsidiary as a service product offering as part of a raft of data-led initiatives over the next 12 months.

The insurance giant revealed its plans during its full-year financial results, announced today. The overall group reported a $1.18 billion profit for the 2016 financial year, a 6.8 per cent increase year-on-year, along with double-digit increase in insurance margins. Net profits were down, however, by 14.1 per cent to $625 million.

In its investor report, IAG highlighted the work done by its Customer Labs over the past six months to better utilise data for customer gain. Customer Labs is one of two new divisions established by the group in December as part of a new organisational structure as is focused on building customer experience strategy and driving product innovation.

It sits alongside Digital Labs, which continues on from IAG Labs and will provide digital and design innovation plus investigate disruptive technologies. The Digital Labs division is also in charge of building digital apps, ecosystems and simplifying core platforms.

Achievements by Customer Labs during the 2016 financial year included refinement of a single, real-time source of truth for IAG’s information assets by bringing all data warehouses together. This provides IAG with an immediate understanding of the actions its customers are taking across all channels, the group stated.

It’s also increasingly personalising the customer experience through deep analytics to better understand customer behaviour when buying insurance. This encompasses personalised offers, targeted marketing approaches and pricing options, all of which are being fed back into the loop to help improvement of customer experience or product offerings at the next interaction.

Test-and-learn as a principle and process is another key emphasis for Customer Labs, and IAG said this is being facilitated through in-market trials, as well as cognitive computing techniques such as machine learning.

Both personalisation and agility are the result of IAG’s ongoing investments into its marketing technology capabilities, a growing stack of solutions that is allowing it to optimise marketing spend and interact with customers directly.

The team has also been working to identify more collaborative opportunities with external partners for both customer experience improvements as well as the use of data and information.

Notably, IAG said it’s also been developing and testing the software capabilities of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ambiata, which it acquired in the 2015 financial year, in order to develop it as a service product offering for the broader market. The company offers an analytics tool that provides the intelligent analytic layer connection an organisation’s data asset to its customers.

According to IAG, this places measurement and model-build in the hands of a corporation’s data scientists and cognitive intelligence at the centre of an organisation’s decision making process.

Going into the 2017 financial year, Customer Labs will look to take Ambiata’s product offering to market. The product is already deployed in a number of top 20 ASX organisations and will be available to Asian and North American customers over the next 12 months.

IAG said it’s also working to align customer measurement, introduce customer training and education programs for all staff, and extend the availability of customer insights to the wider organisation. At the same time, data analytics is helping IAG to further improving its pricing approach and models.

During his presentation to investors, IAG MD and CEO, Peter Harmer, said the opportunity for the group is the same as its customers:To embrace and harness innovation, not just be a passive observer of it.

“That means delivering products that make their lives better and safer and lead the change happening in their lives and industry, not just be disrupted by it,” he said. “We are focusing on two strategic themes: We want to lead the change customers need and demand from us; and to engineer the business to fuel our ability to deliver on these opportunities.”

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