Digital take-up and experiences help drive Suncorp's solid FY21 performance

Insurance and banking giant's full-year results and three-year strategic priorities highlight the growing dominance of digital-first customer experiences and capabilities

Accelerating digital-first experiences and enablement off the back of growing digital uptake by banking and insurance customers is in the sights of Suncorp Group as the company reports its FY full-year financial results.

The ASX-listed banking and insurance giant reported a 42.1 per cent increase in group cash earnings to $1.064 billion and 13.1 per cent rise in group net profit to $1.03 billion in its full-year results to 30 June 21. Within this, gross written premiums in both Australia and New Zealand increased by 5.5 per cent and 9.2 per cent, respectively, the company’s best insurance performance in nearly a decade.

Suncorp also reported home lending growth of 0.8 per cent over the second half and said it had seen six months of consecutive home loan growth as at 31 July 2021. Banking and wealth as a division delivered after-tax profit of $419 million, up 69 per cent year-on-year.

Digitisation of customer engagement was evident throughout the financial results. Suncorp reported 21 per cent of consumer motor and home claims were lodged via online channels in FY21. Following strong growth in FY20, the company said it also saw another 13.7 per cent increase in digital sales volumes and 13 per cent rise in digital transactions across mass brands and home, motor and CTP products in the last 12 months. Fifty-four per cent of all sales and 30 per cent of all service transactions were completed digitally.

Suncorp noted steps taken to be more digitally engaged over the past year included work on its AAMI mobile app, which launched in May 2020, which has been expanded to incorporate weather alerts, real-time claim updates through virtual assistant capabilities, and AAMI Lucky Club and Everyday Savings Rewards integration.

In addition, the group noted average monthly Sun App logins increased by 34 per cent, while the proportion of banking products originating digitally rose to 15 per cent for home loans and 64 per cent for deposit accounts.  

Digital engagement is gaining further emphasis under Suncorp’s 12 key strategic priorities as a business between now and FY23. First announced in May to investors, these 12 strategic priorities are aimed at improving group efficiencies and driving growth and include a number of hefty digital and data capability investments across the organisation.

For example, across its Australian insurance business, Suncorp has its sights on elevating digital sales and service capabilities in order to improve customer experiences that also improve expense ratios. Across the banking and wealth division, priorities include accelerating digital engagement, along with a shift to more digital origination and self-service, and simplification of products and services via digitisation and automation.

Commenting on the FY21 report, Suncorp Group CEO, Steve Johnston, said results had been delivered against a challenging external backdrop of La Nina and Covid-19. Natural hazard costs during the year totalled just over $1 billion.

Meanwhile, over the past 12 months, Suncorp has provided Covid-19 support to more than 85,000 customers and contributed $9 million across a range of community programs.

“Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we have been in a position to support our customers, employees, shareholders and communities through this uncertain time,” Johnston said.

“We have been flexible and responsive in supporting our customers as we know the financial and emotional strain COVID-19 is inflicting on our communities. This includes a range of relief measures such as flexible premium options and loan deferrals.”

Johnston also noted Suncorp’s stance on the path forward out of the uncertain Covid-19 environment was vaccination, and he highlighted Suncorp’s efforts to support vaccination efforts.

“A vaccinated population is key to building confidence and restoring movement between the two countries and the world. All members of our Board and our Australian-based ELT are either fully vaccinated or are awaiting their second vaccine,” he added.

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