Insurer Suncorp has established a customer vulnerability framework and training programme to support customers in vulnerable circumstances.

The group has increased its number of community support service partners, including Lifeline Aotearoa, Good Shepherd NZ, Shine, MoneyTalks and Age Concern New Zealand.

Suncorp New Zealand Customer Advocacy Manager, Ryan Perica, said the training and insights from the partnerships were a vital part of the insurer’s vulnerability framework.

“We know that any customer may experience what we define as vulnerability at any time in their life. This could be due to factors such as their life stage, physical or psychological wellbeing, trauma, abuse or financial stress.

“The work that we’re doing with community partners has helped us better equip our frontline employees to understand customers’ circumstances and potential vulnerabilities. That means we are able to put more support around our customers.”

Suncorp’s customer vulnerability framework and training programme focuses on ensuring staff can identify those living in vulnerable circumstances, understand and listen to them, and have the ability to refer them to support agencies.

Shine and Lifeline Aotearoa, have provided specialist training to customer-facing employees.

Perica said vulnerability was challenging, widespread and far broader than many realise.

“When working with a customer who may need special support, care or protection, our teams are trained to listen for clues. It could be more about what is not being said or reading between the lines.

“We always consider the customer’s concerns and potential vulnerability before tailoring a response based on the customer’s individual situation.

“Furthermore, we know when and how to refer the customer for any additional support the person may require and benefit from.”

He said the business is building understanding of customer vulnerability right throughout the business from design and product development to claims and customer solutions.

“We are extremely grateful for the contributions of our community partners in helping us understand how we can better support all of our customers, but particularly those who may be experiencing vulnerability of some kind.

“Vulnerabilities can be caused by complex issues and circumstances that need specialist skill and expertise to manage, so our ability to learn, work with and refer customers to these specialist community support services is extremely beneficial.”

September 2021

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