Vero Voice Blog

Taking a proactive stance towards vulnerable customers' risks

Jane Brewer

By Jane Brewer
Executive General Manager, Consumer

14 April 2023


With the impacts of the recent severe weather events and cost of living increases being felt by many, now more than ever organisations need to place a greater focus on proactively identifying, supporting, and protecting customers who are experiencing vulnerability.

Identifying vulnerability is key to protect customers from opportunistic fraudsters

Scams do not discriminate, they can happen to any of us and at any time, and unfortunately, at times like this, we need to keep an eye out for fraudsters preying on those who are already experiencing vulnerability.

Through pre-emptive calls and site visits, Vero Insurance representatives have reached out to over 700 customers and from these calls, identified more than 80 customers to wrap differing levels of additional care and support around, such as rebuild prioritisation and Lifeline Aotearoa referrals.

Our field team recently identified a vulnerable elderly person who was approached by an individual posing as her insurer, requesting she pay them $1000, and putting undue pressure on her to complete this payment for her claim to progress. I can only imagine the stress and anxiety she must’ve felt during this interaction and I’m relieved that we were able identify the risk, put a stop to it and report the incident to the police.

Listening to what’s not being said

Through the guidance of our community partner, Lifeline Aotearoa, we’ve developed a unique training programme for our entire New Zealand workforce to ensure they can identify customers who may be experiencing vulnerability and support these customers with confidence.

For customers who may be experiencing vulnerability, asking for help can be uncomfortable, but the potential benefits of these conversations can be huge. We’re committed to understanding customer vulnerability, meaning our representatives are trained to listen for cues that customers may be experiencing vulnerability. It’s our responsibility as an insurer to listen to what is not being said.

If a potential vulnerability is identified by our support teams, we'll work with customers to suggest some possible solutions. In situations where we think specialist expertise could be helpful, our people know when and how to refer our customers so they can access this additional support. In other instances, the support we provide may be more specific to the situation; for example, we have recently organised for a wheelchair ramp to be built in a customer's temporary accommodation.

If our teams hadn’t been actively working to identify vulnerability, we wouldn’t have been able to support many of our customers during this challenging time, and this is something I’m particularly proud of.

The vulnerabilities that we’ve identified through conversations with our customers may be the tip of the iceberg in terms of the need that is out there, so I’d encourage customers to be open about the support they need.

Have you been the victim of fraud?

We’re urging customers to access any user portals through official websites rather than through links in text messages or emails, and never supply or confirm credit card details or internet banking login details in response to an unsolicited phone call - even if they claim to be a representative of Suncorp New Zealand or Vero Insurance.

It’s vital that our customers are aware that Vero, and their affiliated tradespeople, will be clearly identified by a Vero or MPS-branded hi-vis vest when they are visiting properties, and will never ask for cash up front or send a text message with a link in it. If in doubt, hang up the phone and call back on one of our official phonelines.

If customers think they’ve been the victim of fraud from a communications or person posing as Vero, please contact 0800 800 134 or your broker immediately.

Are you experiencing vulnerability?

If you’re a Vero customer experiencing vulnerability, please let us know and we will do our best to support you. Click here to contact us. If you’d like to learn more about how we’re supporting customers experiencing vulnerability, discover more details now.

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