Supporting communities affected by bushfires and the pandemic

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  • 2020
June 23, 2020

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Business continuity management is vital to insurance companies, particularly during events such as the devastating bushfires in Australia and the global COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the Now Neighbourhood series, we recently spoke to Troy Davies, the executive manager of resilience technology at Insurance Australia Group, the largest general insurance company in Australia, about maintaining business continuity and supporting employees, customers, and other stakeholders during these crises.  

IAG and its various sub-brands have provided insurance services in Australia for almost 160 years. In recent years, the organization has built a reputation for innovation and customer focus. This change – underpinned by digital transformation – has been driven by a need to simplify and modernize its services and deliver products to market more nimbly. “We’ve shaped up to move into this digital market with pace,” Troy said.

The organization’s predictive capabilities and responsiveness came to the forefront during the COVID-19 crisis. In just two weeks, the proportion of employees working remotely increased from 60% to 98%. “It was a testament to the people and culture to make that happen,” Troy said. 

ServiceNow played a key role in IAG’s pandemic response. The company used ServiceNow Business Continuity Management to track plans and outcomes and create centralized points of communication to support its COVID-19 response teams. 

In recent years, IAG has changed its emphasis from disaster recovery to resilience. 

That meant shifting focus from disaster recovery testing and failover capability between primary and secondary sites to, as Troy put it, “anything and anyone that supports our critical services, including the supply chain.” 

IAG reviewed the resilience of applications, workloads, or resources and the opportunities presented by models such as platform as a service. Its adoption of the new approach also prompted it to merge its disaster recovery functions in Australia and New Zealand.

IAG adopted ServiceNow Business Continuity Management to help with this transition. Operating in a highly regulated industry, IAG maintained large SharePoint libraries of Word and Excel documents and worked with partners with disaster recovery and testing plans. “It was very difficult for us to have an overall picture of what our disaster recovery landscape looked like,” Troy said.  

With ServiceNow deployed, IAG’s platform, application, and infrastructure support teams can update the company’s Configuration Management Database themselves. Updates to disaster recovery and business continuity plans are automated, with audit trails included. 

IAG’s risk team is now using a ServiceNow module, while the business continuity planning team is also coming on board with the platform. 

Consolidating change, incident, problem, demand, risk, disaster recovery, and business continuity planning into a single database was a revelation for IAG. “For me, it was the integration piece and the ability to leverage data from all across the organization and bring that into a single database,” Troy said. “You don’t know the power of that capability until you’ve got it.”

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