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Helping older New Zealanders get ready for a digital future

February 10, 2021

Partnership programme under way to get older New Zealanders ready for digital future

More than 400 participants from around the country have joined the first intake in an initiative to get older New Zealanders ready for a financial services shift to digital – a project that is under way as a partnership between AMI and SeniorNet.

With Covid-19 hastening the financial services sector’s shift to digital platforms – including a nationwide move to phase out cheques - AMI and SeniorNet are working together to build older New Zealanders’ online confidence, including building their ability to manage their insurance needs online.

Customers of AMI, a business division of IAG New Zealand Limited, have been able to access SeniorNet – a peer-led community training network that supports and motivates older Kiwis to use and enjoy technology in their everyday lives – with a free membership since the end of 2020, but the insurer says success for New Zealand looks like “every New Zealander ready for digital”.

There are 56 SeniorNet Learning Centres around New Zealand, with classes on a range of digital-related topics including the use of software, digital services and a range of technologies from iPads to personal computers, giving AMI customers the necessary access, skills and tools to be able to navigate the digital world, including (subject to individual learning centre availability):

•     Access to general courses, sponsor-funded workshops, regular meetings to discuss news and technology developments and social networking events with other seniors

•     Access to one-on-one support for general topics such as internet banking through to setting up a mobile phone

•     Support with accessing AMI services online

•     Wi-fi access within the Learning Centre

“Financial institutions, both public and private, have been phasing out cheques for a number of years now, and 2021 will be pivotal as deadlines approach later this year,” says Kevin Hughes, Executive General Manager (Consumer) for AMI.

“While cheque usage has been steadily on the decline for the past few years, we recognise that there are customers – particularly older New Zealanders – who rely on more traditional services for many of their regular activity, including insurance. While we can’t stop the inevitable shift to digital, we are committed to taking people on the journey with us.”

Janet Court, Auckland Representative of The Federation of NZ SeniorNet Societies says, “AMI coming onboard as a partner has helped to assist with increasing membership numbers. Because the classes are run by members for members, there is an extra element of understanding and empathy between teacher and student, and it means the classes happen at a more appropriate pace. ”

Paula Nicholson, an AMI customer for 40 years, says that she was initially worried about feeling “silly or be singled out by not being able to use a smartphone or internet banking, but I found that we were all at the same level and it was a very supportive place.”

For more information on the partnership and accessing a free SeniorNet membership via AMI, visit: https://www.ami.co.nz/seniornet

While we can't stop the inevitable shift to digital, we are committed to taking people on the journey with us.