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Suncorp NZ invests in a technology-enabled workforce

Asteron Life's parent company Suncorp New Zealand says it's doubling down on developing a technology-enabled workforce after success in adapting to fully remote work during last year’s Covid-19 lockdowns.

Thursday, June 10th 2021, 2:31PM

by Matthew Martin

Suncorp offers insurance and finance products to New Zealanders through its brands Asteron Life, Vero Insurance, Vero Liability and its partnerships with the NZ Automobile Association - AA Insurance, AA Life and AA Money.

Suncorp NZ began a major digital overhaul in 2016 focussing on offering employees the freedom to flexibly balance work, family and other commitments.

The move proved invaluable throughout the height of the pandemic allowing Suncorp to continue serving the needs of its customers via its existing hybrid cloud architecture, built around the Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure.

Its systems allowed employees to work fully remotely, which it says has validated its investment and accelerated its appetite for hybrid working.

Now Suncorp NZ is looking to further support its new ways of working and build on its efforts to foster a digital mindset among its employees, by bringing in additional Nutanix capabilities such as Clusters – a multi-cloud extension tool between public and private cloud environments.

Suncorp NZ’s executive general manager for technology and transformation, Jane Brewer says the resiliency, performance, security and simplicity of the Nutanix platform meant the insurer could focus on supporting its employees during the Covid crisis.

“We had two days’ notice before the country went into lockdown,” she says.

“But because we didn’t have to worry about our underlying technology infrastructure we were able to focus on ensuring our people had the equipment they needed to work safely at home, and on supporting them during the transition.”

The scalability and simplicity of the Nutanix platform were central to Suncorp NZ’s seamless transition to remote work, but the benefits also support the insurer’s long-term strategy of digital-first customer engagement.

“Because we’ve led with an infrastructure-first approach, much of the day-to-day operations and maintenance of our infrastructure have been greatly simplified, and our IT teams are empowered to focus on projects that generate more value for our employees and customers,” Brewer says.

One of these projects is the development of application programming interfaces (APIs) and portals to enable its network of brokers and advisers to integrate directly with Suncorp NZ’s core systems, to make its processes – from initial quotes through to claims – as streamlined and customer-friendly as possible.   

“This approach has helped us attract and retain high-performing employees who believe in the value of what we do and are committed to continuously doing more for our customers.

“Our infrastructure has played a huge part in supporting our employees to find a balance between individual preferences, productivity rhythms, and the needs of our customers and the business,” she says.

Lee Thompson, managing director at Nutanix A/NZ, said Suncorp NZ was a perfect example of an organisation successfully deploying hybrid cloud technology to meet the needs of its customers and ensure business resiliency in the face of disruption.

“Suncorp NZ’s mature approach to digital transformation meant it recognised early that if you want to digitise the customer and employee experience, you need to first start with the infrastructure that supports it all."

Tags: AA Finance Asteron Covid-19 Suncorp tech innovation

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