Community partnerships key to supporting customers in vulnerable circumstances


Suncorp New Zealand is sharing the work it is doing to support customers experiencing vulnerability and acknowledging the vital role its community partners play in providing customers support at difficult times.


Community partnerships key to supporting customers in vulnerable circumstances

Suncorp has an established customer vulnerability framework and training programme within its business to support customers in vulnerable circumstances. This is reinforced by an increasing 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, says the training and insights these organisations provide is a critical part of Suncorp’s customer 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.

Ryan Perica, Suncorp New Zealand Customer Advocacy Manager

Suncorp’s customer vulnerability framework and training programme, which is completed by all employees, focuses on ensuring its people can identify customers in vulnerable circumstances, understand what to say when interacting with these customers so they feel listened to and supported, and have the ability to refer them to support agencies.

Two of Suncorp’s community support partners, Shine and Lifeline Aotearoa, have also provided specialist training to a group of customer-facing employees. The training gives Suncorp the ability to support customers in severely vulnerable circumstances and at risk of harm.

Perica says vulnerability is 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 says the business is building an 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.”  

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