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IAG set to close 53 NZ retail stores as tech takes over

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IAG-owned insurer AMI has proposed closing its 53 retail stores in New Zealand in a move it says is driven by changes in customer behaviour.

EGM Customer and Consumer Kevin Hughes says the plan reflects a growing customer preference for digital services, a pattern accentuated by recent lockdown measures.

“COVID-19 has accelerated many trends within the insurance industry,” Mr Hughes said. “Customers expect more digitally, and we are focussed on delivering that for them.”

Up to 65 retail management roles could be lost, IAG says, though it expects to move more than 350 positions into its digital teams and contact centres.

AMI says visits to retail stores have been in decline for many years as customers increasingly look to engage by phone, email or online platforms. IAG is exploring the possibility of virtual face-to-face meetings for customers and plans pop-up mobile stores as required, for example after a natural disaster.

“Over the past couple of years, we've seen a change in the way our customers want to get in touch,” he said. “With more customers looking to engage with us from the comfort of their homes, there's been an increase in demand for online services and phone support.”

AMI has already closed several stores over the past year.

There are no plans for branch closures outside New Zealand, an IAG spokesman told insuranceNEWS.com.au.