Written by Ruth Fisk
The Walking Dead is one of the most successful comic book adaptions of our time. I was amongst the many disappointed fans when the showrunners announced that the season finale got pushed back due to the coronavirus, delayed indefinitely. While we are left in suspense, wondering how our heroes will fare in the television series’ conclusion – we are painfully reminded that patience is a virtue that must be learned.
This idiom holds for Insurance companies who have had to exercise the same patience, much like the Walking Dead fan base, waiting for technology to evolve and meet ever-changing needs while still trying to improve their core operations and meet customer needs.
Digital Transformation strategies have been a focus of the insurance industry for several years; however, the adoption of e-applications, customer portals, and other digital interfaces continue to be costly and lengthy projects to deliver. Regardless of these new modern interfaces, Insurers are also faced with the need to process physical and electronic documents due to the considerably low adoption of all transactional processing.
A paper AND information-heavy process
Whenever an insured is making a change or filing a claim, hundreds of documents and thousands of data points must be collected. Documentation must be captured, classified, and routed to the appropriate knowledge worker who will then manually key everything into their core line of business systems. This process is inefficient, error-prone, and repetitive (typically representing 80% of the process cost).
While OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and ICR (Handwriting recognition) have been around since the late 1920s, this technology has mostly been beneficial for very structured information (bank statements, invoices, receipts) but not for the volumes of unstructured documents (and endless variations of forms) that come into an insurance organization, making OCR tools harder to adopt.
Next steps in the digital insurance journey
In today’s marketplace, the entrance of intelligent tools has shown promise for insurers looking to deal with the complex nature of their forms. Tools like intelligent capture (where OCR is now the commodity of the solution), artificial intelligence, and robotic process automation will give insurers the capability to leverage these technological advancements without sacrificing quality or the intellectual input needed to drive their processes efficiently. Insurers are now shifting their focus to take advantage of these platforms to support their growth strategies.
As the Insurance industry embarks upon this next phase of their digital journey, a few key points to keep in mind:
- Not all complex business processes are candidates for automation: Assess if significant cost savings benefits are possible before investing in automating a complicated process.
- Land and Expand: Remember to start small and expand gradually. Small initiatives and early successes will help insurers better evaluate the efficiency of the new solution.
- Don’t over automate: As tempting as it is to automate ‘all-the-things,’ focus on structured and repeatable steps to ensure you are optimizing efficiently.
- You don’t have to do this alone: Leverage a technology partner with experience and expertise in delivering real results with these automation tools.
There is still hope, however, for our Walking Dead Fans who are being treated to a “special off-season” episode to satiate their hunger for advancement. Insurers will too finally be able to see a technological solution that will help them significantly reduce the manual effort to manage their content and data.