Project purple: IAG moves away from being an analogue business

The insurance giant believes the digital transformation will allow it to expand its product range beyond insurance.

Before Insurance Australia Group (IAG) can begin selling more than insurance products to consumers, the company realised it needed to shift what is currently a very analogue business into something that is more digitally orientated.

"We really want to change the mindset, get some records and customer value, and build new businesses as well, including beyond insurance," IAG Digital Architecture director Ian Jamieson explained at New Relic Future Stack 2019 last week.

"An insurance company not selling insurance is quite disruptive because a lot of the core systems is under insurance, so if we want to sell a solution that provides emergency assistance to your home that is not an insurance product, how would you bill someone for that so that it's not under insurance … there are a range of things we need to transform and add new capabilities to."

Jamieson said some areas that IAG is looking to expand its business into include motor and home repair services, spinning up brand new businesses such as in mobility services, and through acquisitions of startups, such as its most recent purchase of Carbar, a subscription-based car ownership platform.

To make sure these business plans become a reality, Jamieson said the company has moved away from taking traditional waterfall approaches to projects and using a cross-functional method.

"It's a welcome change for IAG where we work cross functional and directly with business, data analytics, engage in service design, human-centre design, customer testing, and directly interviewing customers," he said.

See also: 7 ways to accelerate digital transformation success (TechRepublic)

With the project, dubbed as purple, the company has also focused its attention on removing its reliance on contact centres, and driving decisions based on data. IAG has started to implement this in its claims processes, with Jamieson saying the company expects over time that up to 20 new journeys would be created.

"Rather than selling your insurance through a digital property through NRMA, Coles, CGU, and then making you phone us up and do everything analogue, we want to empower our customers so you can do everything yourselves," Jamieson said.

"And when you need to call us, it'll be for complex and high value transactions like a major car crash…we find people only call us because they can't get it done themselves online. That's very much the driver."

Enhancing the mobile experience is another consideration for the company, as is having more control of the end-to-end customer experience when it comes to services such as car repairs, Jamieson said.

"We need to have complete records of customer interaction, so when you call, we know what SMS have been sent, we know updates you've been given, as oppose to these black outs and silos of information. We're trying to bring all of that together … so there's a complete record of the customer interactions, and nothing is falling through the cracks and there's no phone tag," he said.

Jamieson also believes there's the potential of using Internet of Things to proactively inform customers about potential dangers and prevent claims.

"Most people don't know that most of our expensive claims come from broken hoses from under your sink. After a few years it explodes because it gives up and there's water everywhere. We have looked at programs where we can proactively engage customers to change out those hoses so we can avoid claims," he said.

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