IAG launches Sydney innovation lab


IAG has opened its second innovation incubator, based in the Sydney CBD, with the aim of generating more customer-led innovations for the insurer.

Christened ‘Firemark Labs Sydney’, the incubator will serve to link the insurer to local innovation partners across Australia’s business community.

The lab will serve across IAG’s brand staples, including NRMA Insurance, CGU, SGIO and SGIC.

Earlier this year IAG opened its first insutech hub – also called Firemark Labs – in Singapore, with the aim of tapping into the expertise of the world’s preeminent fintech hubs.

“Firemark Labs Sydney will link us to Australia’s entrepreneurial community and enable our business to work with the people and partners who can help us challenge the status quo and innovate for our customers’ changing needs,” said Julie Batch, IAG chief customer officer.

“The future of customer experience will be shaped through new technologies, capabilities, and a willingness to experiment,” she added.

According to Batch, collaboration with key industry players is vital to the hub’s project.

“It is critical to our growth strategy that we build and connect with innovation ecosystems that bring together universities, entrepreneurs and business, along with the regulators and government, who can help us evolve.”

The insurer has already partnered with several organisations and institutions, including The University of Sydney, cyber security start-up UpGuard and rental platform Snug.co, who will work within Firemark Labs on new projects.

IAG Executive General Manager for Innovation, James Orchard, said the lab “will allow our employees to tap into human-centred design, emerging technology and customer insights that will help to solve business problems and design new solutions.”

“Through taking an open approach to innovation, we’re strengthening our internal culture and building new and improved experiences for our customers,” Orchard said.

In 2016, IAG launched Firemark Ventures, a $75-million fund to invest in, and partner with, both start-ups and established businesses that have the potential to disrupt the value chain. Firemark Labs Sydney and Singapore will be supported by Firemark Ventures.

The Sydney-based lab has capacity for more than 100 people from within and outside IAG to work together in the space.