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Sat, 23 January 2021

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Digital transformation will play a vital role in building back better

Digital transformation will play a vital role in building back better

Legal & General has seen a dramatic increases in our customers’ use of online services | Credit: Legal & General

Legal & General

4 min read Partner content

2020 has been a year like no other. As our society has adapted to COVID-19, we have used technology to bridge the gaps made by lockdowns.

Whether zooming at home or using Teams for work, the isolation made necessary by the pandemic has accelerated our society’s digital transformation. Legal & General is no exception; between the beginning of the first lockdown and September we saw dramatic increases in our customers’ use of online services.

For example, we saw access to digital self-service channels jump by 72 percent as more customers logged on with 4.6 million visits to legalandgeneral.com.

However fast change is happening, though, digital transformation must be something that does not lead to more exclusion; in the push for more tech, we must bring everyone on the journey. For personal finance, this is particularly important.

Financial exclusion and digital exclusion can often go hand-in-hand, but at Legal & General we are using digital transformation to drive financial inclusivity.

One of the cornerstones of our vision of inclusive capitalism is financial inclusion and it is an issue we have campaigned on for many years. Despite much progress, The Financial Inclusion Commission reports that 22 percent of all UK adults have less than £100 in savings and 1 million people do not have a bank account.

Financial exclusion and digital exclusion can often go hand-in-hand, but at Legal & General we are using digital transformation to drive financial inclusivity.

Studies have shown that extending traditional financial services to low-income households and small businesses goes hand in hand with increasing economic growth and decreasing income inequality, yet it’s not uncommon for these demographics to miss out on access to traditional financial institutions altogether.

In 2017, we invested in what was then a new fintech company called ‘Salary Finance’. At the time, many people on lower incomes were using expensive payday lenders and often ending up with more problems. The damage to people’s wellbeing wrought by financial exclusion is not just about money; it is strongly associated with mental ill health.

In research by Salary Finance, to contribute to their ‘Employer’s Guide to Financial Wellbeing’, they showed that people with financial worries are 4.1 times more likely to be suffering about anxiety and panic attacks, and 4.6 times more likely to be suffering from depression.

This is why we invested in Salary Finance, to create a way that people could build route out of financial difficulty. Salary Finance enables employees to save and borrow from their salary directly. Today, Salary Finance is available at over 500 progressive employers and 3 million employees across the US and UK.

Digital transformation is also a driver of change in the way that companies do business, and so has a powerful effect on the economy. At Legal & General we are using innovation to improve the services we provide for our customers.

Digital transformation is going to play a vital role in the way that we Build Back Better after the pandemic.

For example, last year our Reinsurance business launched the world’s first blockchain reinsurance platform, ‘estua-re’, which is the first pension risk transfer execution platform driven by blockchain technology.

Estua-re is a single ecosystem capable of driving every stage of the PRT reinsurance value chain including pricing, claims handling, financial reporting and collateral, utilising data dynamically stored on the blockchain. It will replace multiple processes and systems traditionally used to support each function, with the added security of blockchain technology.

The final part of our role in digital transformation is in our investments into the infrastructure that lies behind the front-end tech. The Kao Data Campus is a state-of-the-art data centre development servicing the London to Cambridge corridor.

In February 2019, Legal & General Capital invested £230m in Kao Data. The Kao campus was named in honour of Nobel Prize winning physicist Sir Charles Kao, who pioneered the use of fibre optics at the site of Kao’s first data campus development.

From its first 35.2MW data campus in the London to Cambridge corridor, Kao serves hyperscalers and enterprise customers across the largest data centre market and technology cluster in Europe.

Digital transformation is going to play a vital role in the way that we Build Back Better after the pandemic. At Legal & General we are determined to play our part in ensuring that financial inclusion is addressed as tech develops.

We will do this by adopting new ways of working, innovating in customer service, creating new technology and by supporting the development of robust and modern digital foundations.

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