Articles - Leveraging document capture in the London Market


Speed matters: leveraging document capture in the London Market

 The Claims Transformation Programme is changing the London Insurance Market by setting goals to achieve faster and fairer claims handling. Capital Capture managing director, Mark Kirpalani, explores how document capture can help insurers meet best practice guidelines
 
 It is a well-known fact that the London Market leans towards a slower, more traditional pace of operating than commercial insurers. In recent weeks however, the Claims Transformation Programme (CTP), an initiative based on the recommendations of a Lloyd’s Market Strategic Claims Review in 2008, held a forum to discuss its progress in transforming the perception of the London Lloyds Market, by achieving fast and fair claims handling and improving competitive advantage.
 
 In 2008, the CTP set the market a target of reducing claims transaction speeds by 25 per cent. Since 2010 it has exceeded this by achieving a 40 per cent improvement in end-to-end transaction times for CTP claims. Yet, while firms have achieved their target on speed, the CTP believes there is still room for improvement. Further objectives include the requirement for reducing the cost of claims, increasing the quality of claims and increasing the awareness of the programme both within Lloyds and its client community, in an effort to make the London Market the market of choice.
  
 London calling
 Currently, the London Market pays out £10 billion in claims annually and is handling approximately 210,000 claims at any given time (figures from Lloyds as of 5 August 2011). Given the large amount of unusual cases the market has to deal with, such as cover for expensive art and against hurricane damage, the CTP believes document processes need to be streamlined to work effectively.
 
 For this reason, the CTP is keen to shift the London Market towards electronic processing. While firms operating in the London Market are not obliged to introduce this process, there are many business benefits that can be achieved, such as a reduction of the claims lifecycle and in turn, an improvement in customer service levels.
 
 In the past, document capture may have been considered too expensive and difficult to implement. Now, outsourcing document capture is gaining acceptance across a range of sectors as it continues to successfully automate many business processes. By leveraging the benefits of document capture, it is possible to deliver work to the appropriate business line faster and more accurately than with manual processes, whilst also eliminating upfront Capex and infrastructure changes through the utilisation of an outsourced capture network, team and equipment.
  
 Simplified processing
 The manual sorting and transition of claims documents is inevitably time consuming. Yet by utilising a capture solution to store claims as soon as they enter the business, an electronic copy of the data can be delivered instantly to the correct work stream, which cuts down waiting time and makes the whole process much quicker.
 
 Similarly, by automating paper-based processes, employees can store, retrieve and share new claims files and add on-going updates more effectively. As a result, more time can be dedicated to performing core business tasks, which is far more cost effective. Working in this manner also enables insurers to work more productively without outlay on additional resource.
  
 In the competitive insurance market, it is critical that claims are high in quality and dealt with quickly to ensure the best possible customer service. Electronically processing the documents shows the customer that their case is being dealt with in a timely manner. Improving customer service in this way also serves to increase market awareness, which aligns to the CTP’s plans.
  
 Cost effective and collaborative
 Working with a document capture solution, a common shared platform can be created – one where firms and syndicates can share documents electronically. This improves collaboration across the market, resulting in better decision-making and improved core services. It eliminates the difficulty of managing documents arriving or being created at different buildings.
 
 In fact, by storing and archiving all data in one centralised place it becomes easier for a full audit trail to be kept for each document, helping insurance companies meet compliance regulations. Claims handlers can also locate the accurate information they need, when they need it, which ensures consistent service.
 In the long-term, the use of electronic document capture eliminates the need to store hardcopies, which cuts the cost of commercial storage space, while ensuring documents are more secure, eliminating the possibility of human error in the sorting process.
  
 Understanding outsourcing
 Insurers often deal with high volumes of incoming correspondence daily – whether as emails or in hard copy. Given the competitive environment, it is to be expected that many do not have the expertise, flexibility or existing infrastructures in which to deploy an in-house document capture solution. However, by utilising an outsourced service, everything from the dedicated hardware to the document capture staff can be provided by the same expert supplier. As a result, there are no costly changes to existing infrastructures and servers as the service can be set up on an external network although the operational processes can be delivered either within the insurers’ offices or at a secure external bureau.
 
 Outsourcing the solution eliminates the need for the insurer to carry out costly software upgrades. Instead the supplier takes on the costs and maintains the service. This enables insurers to easily scale capture volumes in line with the needs of the business.
 
 Working in this manner there is little need to hire or re-deploy and train internal staff, purely to support the document capture process. Outsourcing the service fully leverages a supplier’s expert employees who are highly efficient at managing the system.
  
 A step in the right direction
 Given the potential for reducing the claims life cycle, minimising the cost of claims, increasing claim quality and improving industry recognition of the London Market, electronic document capture really can help insurers meet all of the targets set by the CTP. Outsourcing the solution means that implementation does not have to be time consuming or complex as the service and support is provided by the supplier. In fact, by outsourcing document capture, insurers have the opportunity to improve internal workflows, grow business and work more productively with minimal or zero upfront Capex. The CTP has publicly recognised the positive impact electronic document capture can have and it is now time insurers realise the potential for themselves.
  

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