IAG touts AI, customer journeys improvements as first-half highlights

Insurance giant shares update on how real-time AI usage, redesigned customer journeys, and an innovation lab are helping with its wider transformation strategy

Tapping artificial intelligence and real-time data capability, redesigned customer journeys and digital-led and disruptive innovation have been key priorities for IAG’s customer labs over the first half of the financial year.

During its IAG half-yearly results presentation, the insurance giant highlighted work its customer labs division has been undertaking as part of a wider three-pronged strategy to optimise the core insurance business while creating future growth options in a highly disruptive market.

IAG’s three strategic priorities are simplification, customer and agility. Underneath these, the group has devised 11 capabilities required for success.

In customer, this encompasses data, analytics and AI, digital, innovation and customer experience. Agility, meanwhile, is about alignment to purpose, workforce of the future and the leading at IAG management and leadership framework, while simplification involves technology transformation, improving the supply chain and operational partnering.  

During his investor presentation, IAG MD and CEO, Peter Harmer, noted a key activity achieved in the first half was using customer segmentation work developed last year to “deploy brand positioning that aligns to core customer segments”. This involved using the model used to better inform value propositions along the customer journey.

“The focus in the second half is to ensure brands target directly the core target segments we are targeting,” Harmer said. IAG is planning to extend its customer segmentation model and research to New Zealand in the second half.

The group’s digital SME proposition has also been improved through website optimisation, with emergency online lodgement capability has been extended across all brands, IAG stated in its investor report.

Customer labs also deployed a voice-activated AI capability in the first half to gain insights from IAG’s enterprise data hub. This is expected to be augmented by a cognitive capability for tailoring customer experiences, the company stated. The customer lab is gaining data and AI expertise via IAG’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Ambiata.

Another highlight was using real-time modelling to optimise new business conversion, and implementing more detailed, active real-time advocacy and experience measures across the board.

Alongside this, IAG has consolidated all motor claims in Australia onto a single platform, an operational improvement that will drive a more simplified process for customers, Harmer said.

Priorities for the second half are to accelerate digital transformation by focusing on motor claims and SME direct, and establish an application program interface strategy and governance to support ecosystem development and partnering opportunities, Harmer said.

During H118, IAG also launched its innovation incubation spaces, Firemark Labs, in Sydney and Singapore. Harmer said the labs had assessed 100 opportunities during the first half, with nearly $10m of the $75m committed for the labs via IAG’s Firemark Ventures program invested to date in five companies. These include Upguard, a cyber security company; and Hyper Anna, an AI for analytics platform.

“We see this rising as more technologies come in to disrupt the insurance space,” Harmer said.  

Products and services currently undergoing market testing include Sharecover, focused on host property rental insurance; Safer Journeys, which rewards customers who limit mobile phone usage while in their vehicle; and Poncho Insurance, which combines motor and contents insurance into one transaction.

Overall, IAG reported an increase in GWP (gross written premiums) of 0.6 per cent to $5.83 billion, with a flat underlying margin of 12.6 per cent and 30 per cent increase insurance profit to $743 million. This reflected underlying growth of about 4 per cent.

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