Southern Cross Health Insurance
501-1,000 employees

AI 360 Workshop Series Drives Progress at Southern Cross Insurance

The Client

Southern Cross Health Insurance (Southern Cross) has been supporting New Zealanders on their health journeys since 1961. Today, Southern Cross provides cover for one in five New Zealanders every year. As a not-for-profit friendly society, Southern Cross operates solely for the benefit of members, rather than shareholders or overseas owners. 

Southern Cross has been a long-time partner and customer of ElementX (formerly Spark 64). Throughout our multi-year partnership, ElementX has helped Southern Cross improve its contact centre, implemented conversational AI, performed user experience research to improve product understanding, and worked alongside its internal research team to improve members ability to lodge claims using Machine Learning.

The Situation

The world of AI is rapidly developing. It seems every other day there is a new breakthrough, new process, new learnings from those who have tried to implement AI in their organisation, and new problems that have been solved using AI. Keeping up to date with the latest developments can be time consuming and confusing, particularly when much of the information available may be either buried in jargon, or not important to the business.  However, failing to keep up may mean that the business misses out on valuable improvements that could benefit the organisation and its members dramatically.

The Solution

ElementX worked with Southern Cross to create the “AI 360” programme. This programme delivered to key Southern Cross people; tailored consultations, workshops, and presentations focused on data and AI. 

Rather than just provide a general overview of all things AI, the content and recommendations specifically focused on updating the Southern Cross team on key content that was relevant to their individual needs and goals as a company. Our long-term relationship with the Southern Cross team allowed us to accurately understand the needs of the business and deliver information that was of high value to them, so that they could skip past the time spent identifying and analysing potential solutions and applications of AI.

The Result

Through regular presentations and consultation, teams and individuals working on AI and data were kept up to date on the latest advancements without having to spend time researching. As a result of this information, the team was able to stay informed and inspired to find new projects and solutions to the company's key focus areas.

By presenting the information at an “all-hands” meeting, staff from across Southern Cross were informed and inspired on how they can adopt the latest AI to improve their efficiency. Some solutions that were inspired by these workshops included the creation of an MLOps strategy to prepare for supporting machine learning in production, as well as identifying opportunities to enhance self-service for the IT helpdesk with a virtual assistant. These projects were later built and launched because of the spark initiated by these workshops.

The value of the workshops has resulted in an ongoing agreement with workshops delivered at a regular cadence for more than a year.


Key stakeholders in the AI 360 project include:

  • Chief Digital Officer
  • Head of Platforms and Innovation
  • Data and ML Lead
  • Architecture Team
  • Digital Platforms

About the Southern Cross group

The Southern Cross group is a collection of independent, health-oriented businesses in New Zealand, operates on not-for-profit principles and is New Zealand’s largest non-public healthcare organisation. The group’s businesses include health insurance, private hospitals, healthcare, travel insurance, pet insurance, life insurance and wellness. The group, not itself a legal entity, is made up of two organisations - the Southern Cross Medical Care Society and the Southern Cross Health Trust.