The full spectrum of advice

By Anna Game-Lopata — ANZIIF Writer | 7 Sep 2017
  • General Insurance
  • Risk Management
  • Life Health and Retirement Income

Grow for Advice is a new digital advice platform for ANZ Financial Planners that transforms the way customers receive personal insurance advice so that it is digital, interactive and consistent, and all delivered in a single appointment.

General Manager, ANZ Advice and Distribution Shez Ford says the solution was developed in direct response to customers who can find the financial advice process too long and complex.

‘Customers find it hard to commit to financial advice if they don’t understand the direct impact to their life,’ Ford says.

‘Customers can find the nature of financial advice ‘prescriptive’ and want to interact with their own data to co-create their advice.

‘They expect their financial planner to be digitally savvy and up to date.’

In addition, Ford says that ANZ financial planners were spending too much time generating each insurance solution, mostly on tasks that aren’t customer-facing.

Automating advice

Grow for Advice automates many of the advice and product selection decisions previously made manually by planners, and integrates a customer-facing iPad app with a back-office product research system and advice generation software.

An automation engine comprising hundreds of rules that take into account the customer’s personal situation makes compliant advice recommendations.

‘The solution delivers connectivity to third-party insurance product comparison software, which allows for a real-time recommendation and price guide,’ Ford says.

‘Connectivity to advice generation software, COIN, provides real-time Statement of Advice generation and digital signature capture.

‘Finally, a market-leading customer-facing iPad App connects customers to core banking systems and a bespoke web app for support staff.’

Finding the pain points

Innovation Director Gordon Rennie says the development process for Grow for Advice began with market and user validation.

‘We spoke to financial advisers and customers about their pain points and undertook detailed process and experience mapping to help uncover the key areas of efficiency improvement,’ Rennie says.

‘We also investigated the use of IBM Watson to automate advice decisions, before deciding to build it ourselves. Then we created a proof of concept digital rules engine to ensure this was feasible.’

The next steps included the creation of a multiskilled agile team consisting of iOS front-end and core platform back-end teams, and multiple vendors across three cities and two countries.

‘We closely engaged with the ANZ Financial Planning (ANZ FP) business, to ensure stakeholder needs were met.’

Change management

A full analysis of how the change that would impact the ANZ FP advice process was conducted, including deep risk and compliance considerations.

‘We documented all peripheral processes including training plans for frontline and support staff to ensure the business was ready for change,’ Rennie says.

‘To test the solution, we ran a highly monitored 10-week pilot program, checking every element of the automated advice against our professional standards.

‘Using insight from the pilot, we are iteratively adding new functionality and embarking on a national rollout.’

australian first

The Grow for Advice solution starts with the collection of customer information and ends with the delivery of a Statement of Advice.

‘Customers can set insurance preferences through a rules engine which runs and recommends an appropriate strategy, which helps to simplify the customer’s decision,’ Rennie explains.

‘The system then compares and selects an appropriate product set and quote for the customer, including an evaluation of the suitability of existing products compared with new products.’

As part of the process, the customer’s financial position is evaluated to determine their preference within three key drivers.

Once the customer is presented with ANZ’s position on an appropriate insurance strategy based on the decisions generated by the system, planners collaborate with the customer to reconfigure the choices if required.

Genuinely needs-based

In terms of the solution’s product selection features, Ford says the biggest innovation is its customer-driven scoring system which means products are scored based on a customers’ genuine needs as opposed to a generic system.

‘Users can choose to retain, increase or decrease cover, make like-for-like comparisons and project their premiums for up to 10 years,’ Shez Ford says.

‘They can also view costs graphically to help with comparisons.’

‘Once a selection has been made and a Statement of Advice has been generated, the customer can accept the advice via email or via digital iPad signature, which is integrated into the stored compliance document.’

‘Grow for Advice occupies a very niche space in the Australian financial services industry,’ Ford says.

While fintech companies are becoming more prevalent and robo-advice is also growing, Ford asserts other players tend to fall into categories comprising general insurance delivered direct to the customer, simple superannuation advice, stock trading or cashflow management.

Growing industry standards

Ford says ANZ is lifting both customer expectations of advice and industry standards through its digital experience and single appointment fulfilment proposition.

‘Over the ten-week period of our pilot within ANZ Financial Planning we observed advice provided through Grow for Advice resulted in time saved, and broader insurance coverage per customer.

‘Perhaps most importantly, our customers’ feedback and user experience confirms an increased trust when they are introduced to, and use, the Grow for Advice App.’

ANZ Grow for Advice was a finalist in the 2017 Australian Insurance Industry Awards.

This article is the third part in a series profiling each of the Innovation of the Year category finalists in the 2017 Australian Insurance Industry Awards.

The articles appear on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis, with each of the finalists given an equal opportunity to participate.

This article is worth 0.25 CIP Points

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