LIFESKILLS | Over the last 30 years, HESTA has learned a thing or two about our more than 820,000 members. Now a customer experience program is helping us bring that knowledge to life in the form of better products and services – particularly in group insurance.

It’s often how things like policy design and claims handling are implemented that makes a big difference to members. As an industry, we need to understand what members say, do, feel and think, so we can design interactions and services to better meet their needs and stay relevant.

This is key to the human-centred design approach, which is vitally important when it comes to group insurance. For most of our members, it’s the only personal cover they have.

Personal stories

Recently, we took a closer look at how HESTA members interact with us on insurance, from when they first automatically receive default cover, to choosing to personalise that cover, right through to making and being on claim.

A broad cross-section of our members came in to spend time with us. We used multiple techniques, including empathy interviews, concept testing, virtual reality and tested software prototypes. We sought direct feedback on our letters and forms.

The experience was deeply touching. Members shared personal stories and the insights gained have been invaluable.

We learnt it’s imperative to tailor the conversation depending on where the member is on their journey.

Sue*, a member receiving treatment for breast cancer, told us she didn’t want to get too much information during those weeks she was in a chemo fog.

Sanj, a 57-year-old recent migrant to Australia, told us he found click-to-chat interactions easier than using the phone because English was his second language. This helped us understand this type of interaction is not just for our Gen Ys and Millennials.

Another member, Martha, who was suffering from a rare form of cancer, told us she was overwhelmed with the paperwork she faced and having an online claims system would better meet her needs.

Karen advised that her income protection payments made the difference between having one meal a day or eating three healthy meals to aid her recovery and return to work.

Anne told of how, during her long depression, the support she received from our team provided a vital connection to the real world and a social lifeline.

Without hearing such first-hand perspectives, it is impossible to understand what members face when making a claim in often extremely challenging circumstances.

Our insurance team is experienced at dealing with these situations with compassion and empathy, and it has been rewarding to learn of the unique connection they can have with members.

Changes in place

Our members bravely sharing their stories has enabled us to make a wide range of changes.

We’ve cut the jargon and implemented simple infographics to explain clearly online how members can claim.

We now regularly send members SMS updates throughout the underwriting and claims processes, which has reduced complaints.

We’ve redesigned our online underwriting process to simplify it. This has resulted in faster turnarounds and fewer incomplete applications. Our team is able to complete the process over the phone if any information is missing.

It’s a common misconception that members on claim don’t want to work. Our members on claim told us how important reconnecting to work was. Income protection cover can help keep the conversation open and potentially provide members with rehabilitation. HESTA offers IP cover to eligible members up to age 67.

There is now a wide body of evidence that remaining connected to the community through work is the best for an individual’s long-term recovery. And, we know, it can result in a more secure financial future for our members. Our program has helped us challenge our thinking and consider new ways to put the member at the centre of everything we do.

*The names of members have been changed to protect their privacy.

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