Digital Options for Automating Manual Insurance Processes

Transforming user experience and eliminating human error using intelligent software robots, process intelligence, and mobile capture.

Editor’s Note: This article is Part III of a Series. See links to other parts below.

Processes can be tedious, extensive and time consuming. Heavy manual data entry, redundant manual data extraction, or a high percentage of exceptions requiring Not in Good Order (NIGO) resolution are ideal candidates for digital transformation. For example, document verification—the checking of documents for completeness and accuracy—demonstrates how these necessary activities can create inefficiency even as they are vital to operations. Solving this challenge becomes particularly critical when knowledge workers are distracted from more meaningful revenue-generating activities. This is not just about labor savings—humans make mistakes and automated technologies increase data accuracy.

A continuum of insurance propositions range from “Not Digital” to “Extreme Digital.” While the Not Digital status was common for most insurers several decades ago, when everything was produced through a paper-based model, for many insurers today it is still a reality (Click to enlarge).

Uncovering opportunities for transformation

After assessing your digital maturity and key opportunities  using the Business Process Matrix (see Part II in our IIR series), your organization will have a vivid snapshot of its entire value chain and assigned priorities. This will allow leadership to then select the best opportunities for digitization and devise a roadmap for meeting your organization’s strategic objectives. This is vital: enabling a clear, big-picture perspective on long-term automation needs throughout the enterprise before adding a digital solution to any business process. Once you’ve reached a company-wide consensus of your transformation priorities, the next step is to consider the best digital options for getting there.

Embracing ideal digital options

In your due diligence, you will likely discover high-impact, high-priority opportunities in the expansive realm of back office processes even with low levels of digital maturity. Such processes involve large numbers of full-time employees performing redundant manual tasks and managing a high volume of paper documents. Considering the slate of digital technology options will help maintain a comprehensive, executable strategy for transformation:

Mobile capture allows policyholders, brokers, and agents to apply for insurance policies or initiate claims on the go or out in the field. Conversely, claims adjusters can use mobile capture to submit forms, reports and images for each claim – ideal in an industry where many professionals work from a mobile office. Application and claims processing is significantly expedited, and manual data entry errors and postal costs are eliminated. Authentication is improved as well, with applicant details more readily verified as a means of protecting against fraud.

Process intelligence manages and directs your business processes from marketing, sales and distribution to the claims/policy process. This is markedly different from traditional analytics, which simply show what happened in the past. In contrast, process intelligence not only helps insurers understand and remedy bottlenecks in real-time business workflows, but also provides unique understanding of how specific process flows impact key business metrics.

By enabling timely communications, customer communications management (CCM) strengthens customer relationships, assuring convenience with claims notifications, policy briefs and coverage descriptions, explanation of benefits and other relevant information. Tracking and status updates occur in near-real time; this level of personalized and automated communication to insureds enables employees to stay focused on higher level business tasks and strategies.

Robotic process automation (RPA) eliminates the manual, repetitive tasks that lower productivity and create costly errors. By mimicking the repetitive tasks handled by employees—for instance, collecting and integrating data among external websites, portals or various desktop applications—RPA creates a digital workforce. Any task where a human interacts with an application or data source is instead handled by a software robot. Insurance organizations can use RPA to improve customer engagement activities such as price matching, coverage comparisons, and customer call center experiences, as well as streamlining the claims process and ensuring regulatory compliance. As a side benefit, employees tend to be happier focusing on the more positive aspects of their jobs rather than repetitive and potentially unfulfilling activities.

Integrated with CCM operations, Case Management optimizes the case management process and enhances customer engagements. Using Business Process Management (BPM) and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems, managing caseloads is more efficient and profitable; this applies to the full spectrum of case management operations, ranging from converting paper documents into digital versions, tracking case status, and assigning and re-directing workflow, to achieving seamless collaboration in the decision-making process.

Defining Your Transformation Path

Digitized processes provide the digital experience expected by today’s customers. For the customer, real-time, personalized communications enable a frictionless experience and smooth processing. For the insurer, advanced process management and back office collaboration is a boon as well—seamless integration of business rules into processes ensures compliance, provides an audit trail, and creates a framework for process analysis and continuous process improvement.

Whatever path you take toward your digital vision, success requires a holistic strategy that is customer-centric and features a high degree of coordinated change across the organization. As we’ve said in this blog series, digital transformation is different for each organization and it’s getting there that counts. By taking the steps we’ve outlined—starting with assessing your digital maturity and uncovering opportunities for digital engagement —organizations can make smart investments in a customized digital strategy that will ensure they don’t get left behind.

Transforming Business Process: Insuring a Digital Future

The Age of Engagement: Understanding the Insurance Industry’s Digital Future

Russ Gould // Russ Gould, is VP, Product and Solutions Marketing, Kofax. His enterprise software expertise spans content, process, compliance and document capture disciplines. He is a published author with more than two decades of technology product marketing and consulting experience. Readers can connect to Gould via LinkedIn, Twitter, or via email at [email protected].

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