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Insurer rejects ‘death of call centre’ claim

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Claims that the COVID-19 outbreak could lead to the “death” of insurance call centres have been refuted by leading insurer IAG.

As previously reported by, US-based global technology firm LivePerson says consumers’ move to digital messaging has accelerated during the pandemic, and the switch will be permanent.

LivePerson says insurers increasingly turned to messaging technology including chatbots as they ran into issues with offshore call centres due to strict shutdowns in countries like the Philippines.

A recent report by the tech firm found an almost six-fold increase in people using messaging channels to communicate with brands, compared with May last year.

“Executives that we speak to say there is no going back, and [call centres] are an archaic way of engaging with people,” LivePerson Asia Pacific GM Andrew Cannington told

“We will no longer be stuffing thousands of people into a building in a country far away to answer phone calls just because it’s cheaper.”

However, IAG, which uses offshore call centres, says it has no intention of abandoning the model.

A spokesman told that a “slight increase” in digital contact was recorded during the pandemic, but there was no decline in the rate of phone calls.

“We offer a range of options for our customers to speak with us which best suits their needs and circumstances, whether that’s over the phone, online, across social media or through webchat,” the spokesman said.

“Our experience is that customers still value speaking with someone over the phone.

“When our customers speak with our global partners [that is, overseas-based call centres] it’s about providing a more efficient experience for our customers. It enables us to access additional capability and innovation, and helps us become more efficient.”