“Our business continuity planning at Suncorp never accounted for a BPO partner … located in India going into lockdown due to a global pandemic,” Leo said.
“We’d always relied on being able to shift work from one location in India to another, so when we lost the majority of our offshore operations workforce in March, we had to act fast and relax some of that stringent governance that we had in place to get stuff done quickly.
“In the past few weeks my team has been incredibly busy … automating all of that work that we needed to do because we no longer had a BPO doing it for us.”
Leo’s team – and, in particular one robotic process automation (RPA) developer – also spent a weekend standing up a bot to handle the large volume of financial hardship and relief requests that Suncorp fielded from its customers as the impacts of COVID were felt.
“One of the things that I love about Suncorp – and why I’ve worked for them for 12 years – is its fast decision-making when it comes to assisting our customers in a time of need, and this came in the form of premium relief to our customers suffering financial hardship due to COVID-19,” Leo said.
“With this decision also came very heavy manual processing for our policy operations area. We didn’t have the labour force to process hundreds of relief requests coming through every day. And this is where my team came in.”
“So when the customer rang up to cancel because they’d been financially impacted by COVID, we offered them a 25 percent discount or a three-month waiver for their policy,” Leo said.
“The actual processing of that – so the balancing of the policy and the movement of the money to our write-off account – took about 10 minutes per transaction, and we were getting hundreds through each day.
“We would have needed to find an extra at least 10 people to process the volume coming through. [Instead] the robot is now processing 75 percent of those transactions, with the 25 percent of exceptions going to a human team to process.”
Today, Leo said Suncorp remains focused on process and decision automation.
“We have automation teams in each of our lines of business: my team being the biggest in insurance, then we have another one in [the] bank, one in New Zealand and then one to manage group services,” she said.
“We’ve automated – at last count – over 6 million transactions across the Group a year, which is something that we’re really proud of.