Q&A with Janelle McQueen-Paice at MLC Life Insurance

Janelle McQueen-Paice at MLC Life InsuranceLast week David Lunt, Technical Director of Payment Consulting Network, was presenting at The Customer Show in Melbourne. He took the opportunity to catch up with fellow speaker Janelle McQueen-Paice, Head of Digital & CX, from MLC Life Insurance and gained great insights into the Customer Experience within the Life Insurance sector.

Janelle believes that when people make a life insurance claim, they deserve quality customer service that reflects all the premiums they have paid. This philosophy is core to MLC Life Insurance’s approach in providing best in class Customer Experience, which is essential in guiding the customer through the claims process, and to support them back to wellness.

“Customers pay premiums for years to cover a risk to protect themselves and so they expect us to be around for the long term and make good on our promise to protect them at claim time.”

-Janelle McQueen-Paice, Head of Digital & CX, MLC Life Insurance

Read the highlights of the interview below.

D: Please provide a brief high-level overview of your business

J: MLC Life Insurance Group is a specialist, stand-alone life insurance company, having served the needs of Australians for 135 years.

We proudly insure about 1 million Australian lives. We do this directly for retail customers and through about 400 group insurance partners, who trust us to protect their employees and superannuation fund members.

In 2021, we paid out $1.2 billion in customer claims, providing a helping hand when they needed it most.

Less well known is that we are part of the Nippon Life Insurance Group, a mutual company focused by purpose and design to put customers first.

Nippon Life is one of the world’s leading life insurers with over 14 million customers globally, around 75,000 employees ,and with around $10 billion invested in Australia (in addition to MLC Life Insurance).Nippon Life brings a strong focus on the customer, providing us with the ability to take a sustainable, long-term view to be Australia’s leading and most trusted life insurer and help achieve our purpose: A promise for life. The Nippon Life Insurance Group includes 7 international operating life insurance companies outside of Japan, of which MLC Life Insurance is the largest.

D: What sets you apart from other life insurance providers in terms of features such as mobile app and good customer experience?

J: We have re-platformed all our technology since separation from NAB. We have legacy free platforms, built for the Australian market that enable us to build modern & secure customer experiences. Majority is owned by a Japanese shareholder. Given they are a mutual, they understand the benefits of supporting members and customers over an extended period.

D: What have been the main CX trends over the last 12 months and how have you embraced them?

J:We focus on providing members with easy and engaging experiences through digitisation, omni channel experience, customer centred design, simplification, and personalisation.

My channel is through Superannuation funds, offered as default. The goal is to engage members to understand the value of, and tailoring their cover their specific needs. Insurance should be as easy as consumer experiences.

A key moment of truth in insurance is claims. And during unique experiences when members are at their most vulnerable, the company focuses on simplifying and digitising the claims experience – specifically focusing on intake:

Breaking down information asks (what is necessary to start assessment)

  • Enabling secure portal for information
  • Providing supporting information in parallel (e.g., ID)
  • Providing easy access to input, upload, and track claims information
  • Reducing jargon for understanding
  • Providing reassurance through transparency of process, and regular updates
  • Link to wellness support

D: How do you keep up with changes to the regulations and security best practices?

J:At MLC Life Insurance we have a sophisticated approach to risk because risk is our business, and managing it well is a competitive differentiator for us.

Our holistic approach considers how we price insurance risk, treat our customers well, and deliver regulatory outcomes. What sets us apart is our customer centric culture and focus on compliance.

The CX & Digital teams work collaboratively with stakeholders across our organisation to design, develop and launch new experiences. This includes leveraging the expertise of our dedicated security team and reg & compliance experts to ensure we are designing to new regs and best practise security.

We have invested in dedicated resources to these functions – Security (~25 FTE), Government Affairs, Regulatory Affairs, and Risk and Compliance teams who help us maintain and ensure continuing compliant systems, processes, and customer outcomes.

D: How do you balance friction in CX while reducing risk and maintaining security?

J: Trust is critical in Financial Services, and especially in Insurance. Customers pay premiums for years to cover a risk, protect themselves and so they expect us to be around for the long term, and make good on our promise to protect them at claim time.

Additionally, our business/Industry is centred around collecting data from individuals to price their risk (premiums) and so secure data storage of sensitive information is a ‘must have’ customer expectation in our industry. Without trust and security, there is no sustainable insurance business!

The Digital & CX teams leads cross company and customer collaboration on Customer Experience Design. We include our risk and security teams in our work to ensure that we are up to date with modern technologies that enable us to meet both the customer & the regulatory requirements.

A simple, yet powerful example is in our new digital claims experience. Due to the sensitivity of medical information captured, security and privacy are critical. We use OKTA identity to enable one time passcode access – which reduces friction in remembering multiple passwords (especially for what is a once off journey) – yet provides the security that our customers expect.

D: Can you share any CX innovations that we going to see in the next 12 months?

J: I am going to share our innovative new Digital Claims experience at The Customer Show conference in May! Our approach centred on designing streamlined, secure journeys for our customers and alleviating anxiety for them at this critical time in their lives.

Author: David Lunt, Technical Director, Melbourne, Payments Consulting Network.

David Lunt has spent over 25 years working in the emerging payment technology space.He is globally recognised as a leader in payments combining a deep understanding of the payments industry with innovative technical expertise. Over his career he has advised numerous FinTech startups, product vendors, high street retailers and global Payments Consulting Network was one of the media partners of The Customer Show 2023.

Janelle McQueen-Paice gave the keynote address entitled, ‘Does Your CX Strategy Really Hit the Mark? Using Human Centred Design to Truly Understand Your Customers Better’ while David Lunt gave a presentation about ‘The Value of Payment Experience: Why it’s Critical to Ensure Your Front and Backend are Optimised for a Seamless Digital Experience’.


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