"Walk your talk and never give up": Q&A with Suncorp's Mark Reinke May 2018

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After 14 years working in various roles with Suncorp Group, Mark Reinke says the time is right for him to pursue new opportunities and for Suncorp to “inject new thinking” to take it to the next level. Mark speaks with us this week about his role in the group’s digital transformation, shares his thoughts on the introduction of robo-advice - which he sees as neither a threat nor a necessity - and calls upon his years of experience to offer some solid advice for industry newcomers.

After 14 years with Suncorp, why is now the time right to leave?

I have been very fortunate to be part of the team guiding Suncorp to become an ASX Top 20 company. The group is in good shape and now is the right time for me to do something different and for Suncorp to inject new thinking to take the company to the next level.

What was it about the organisation that kept you there for so long?

The people. Suncorp attracts talented and committed people and has built an exceptional culture of collaboration and agility.

"Mark has played a pivotal role in growing the group’s brands, improving customer experience and embedding a strong customer culture.” - Michael Cameron, CEO and Managing Director at Suncorp

You have been instrumental in the integration of the group’s digital transformation. Can you name one change that you feel has had the most impact for customers?

I am really excited by new digital tools and platforms that are making it easier for our customers to do simple things every day; for example updating their details easily, making a claim seamlessly or using their phone to pay for things conveniently. These sorts of simple things, enabled by new digital tools, have a real impact on a customer’s experience.

Additionally, through digital advances, soon we will also be able to offer a unique suite of rewards for customers; this increases the number of positive touchpoints we have with our customers.

…and can you share a change that had the most impact for understanding your broad client base?

We have made an important shift in the way we view our customers; rather than looking at a customer of a single brand or product within the Suncorp group. By taking a broader view of an individual as a customer of the group, we are able to better understand our relationship with that customer. The benefit to the customer is that we can better manage their solutions, offer rewards and, most importantly, provide the tools to improve their overall financial well-being. By broadening and deepening our customer relationships, we can create personal and memorable experiences for our customers.

When it comes to the use of robo-advice and other artificial technology in the finance industry, do you consider this to be a threat or a necessary digital advancement?

Neither. Fundamentally, we are a people industry and our customers want to be treated as people. Technology, including AI, should be designed to better enable our people to provide personalised service for our customers and for our customers to make the right decisions more easily. Technology is at its most powerful when it is improving the human experience, without relinquishing the customer’s control.

"Fundamentally, we are a people industry and our customers want to be treated as people...Technology is at its most powerful when it is improving the human experience, without relinquishing the customer’s control."

In light of the recent revelations from the Royal Commission, what initial steps do you feel are necessary to try to restore trust from clients and rebuild a brand?

While I wouldn’t comment specifically, I always advocate for three principles: shared value (test all solutions/services to ensure there is sufficient customer value), transparency (ensure customers have all the information they need) and customer control (give customers the tools and insights to make the best decisions).

Who has had the biggest influence on your life/career so far?

My parents. They instilled in me, through their actions more than words, to treat people well, walk your talk and never give up.

What’s the best piece of advice that you have received?

The only sustainable competitive advantage in business is the ability to learn faster than anyone else.

….and what advice would you offer to an industry newcomer?

Insurance and Banking play a critical role in a stable and equitable society, so you are joining an industry that is relevant and critical to a lot of people. As such, you must understand the gravity and impact that you will have on the lives of people and make sure that your actions are first and foremost aligned with your customers’ interests.

What’s next on the cards for you?

I will be pursuing a number of ventures that I am passionate about. The common threads are creating purpose-driven organisations, building deep customer culture and creating human technology experiences for customers.

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