Suncorp plans digital-first products with new customer and digital structure

New operating structure brings together marketing and technology and results in the departure of Pip Marlow

Suncorp has announced a new customer and digital structure as part of its 2019 financial year results presentation.

The new arrangement will bring together the ASX-listed insurance and finance group's marketing, digital, customer and strategy functions to work alongside its technology team with the goal of creating digital-first products in its insurance and banking businesses. Suncorp also noted its local contact centres, stores and distribution teams will be aligned with its banking and insurance operations.

As a result of the changes, CEO customer marketplace, Pip Marlow, who has been in the position since March 2017, is departing Suncorp. The new function will be led by Lisa Harrison in the role of chief customer and digital officer, who has been with Suncorp for 15 years, most recently as chief program excellent officer.

“The new function will leverage the proven expertise of our Technology Data and Labs team to take our customer and digital strategy to a new level, enabling us to embrace all of the opportunities that digitisation offers our customers and business,” acting CEO, Steve Johnston, said in a statement.

On its financial position, Suncorp reported a net profit after tax (NPAT) of $175m in the year 30 June 2019, including a $910m after-tax non-cash loss on the sale of the Australian Life Insurance business, a drop from the previous financial year. In addition, the business delivered a cash profit of $1.115 billion, up 1.5 per cent from the 2018 financial year. 

The dip in full-year performance was attributed to key home, motor and mortgage lending portfolios, against improved margins across commercial insurance. Johnston noted the year had been dominated by the Financial Services Royal Commission, higher natural hazards and a significant increase in regulatory costs. 

Suncorp has a long-term plan which has seen it bring together all its brands in one marketplace. The ‘One Suncorp’ strategy, announced back in 2016, brings together five previously separate businesses into one place on a common digital platform for customers. It also launched the Suncorp App in 2018 to provide a single digital customer experience and created seven ‘ecosystems’ or integrated offers, to allow customers to bundle complement solutions with a focus on motor and home.

On the marketing front, Suncorp has this year launched several new campaigns which demonstrate how the financial services and insurance group is handling the job of promoting its distinct brands by connecting to its very diverse customer base. At the time, executive general manager, brand and marketing, Mim Haysom, told CMO the key to all Suncorp's campaigns for its diverse range of brands and customers is authenticity.

“It is about greater opportunities to create contextual relevance and extension and to give a reason for the brand to be in there. You get relevance, integration and content extensions that are a far more effective way to spend our money than just spots and dots.”

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