In any organization, small tasks can snowball into major time sinks, and the insurance industry is no stranger to these kinds of wasteful administrative responsibilities. Insurance company employees tackle a wide range of monotonous, clerical jobs that take precious time away from more impactful responsibilities.
Most insurance companies rely on a web of complicated — and sometimes outdated — systems and manual processes to manage business-critical workflows.
81 percent of insurance industry members viewed their companies’ work environments and business practices as either “complex” or “very complex.” Robotic process automation can shoulder many of these time-consuming workloads, streamlining operations, improving the customer experience and freeing up critical staff members for other projects.
RPA Increases Productivity, Efficiency
From policy issuance to claims registration, insurance company employees deal with a lot of tedious, manual clerical work every single day of the week. IT staff, in particular, tend to get bogged down in such tasks, preventing them from taking on more engaging and strategic work. A Workfront study revealed that 69 percent of knowledge workers believe that implementing more automation in daily workflows would provide them with more time to do their jobs.
Meanwhile, RPA can also reduce the number of errors that crop up during menial tasks. Even the most experienced IT employee will make mistakes every now and then. But RPA software doesn’t get tired, overworked or distracted. It’s able to carry out its jobs quickly, efficiently and consistently. Fewer processing errors means fewer fires to put out and a better overall customer experience.
Furthermore, insurance companies can save a great deal of money by offloading repetitive clerical tasks to RPA solutions. With RPA, fewer personnel are needed to carry out these duties, enabling organizations to cut back on their labor costs.
Applications for Insurance RPA
A good rule of thumb to follow when implementing RPA is to only use it when repeatable, rule-based processes are involved. That is, nothing that would require an actual person to make a judgment call. There are so many insurance workflows that fit that description, however, that it can be difficult to know where to begin.
1) New Business and Underwriting
Underwriting requires a great deal of data collection, making it fertile ground for RPA experimentation as well. As, underwriting involves gathering information from multiple sources in order to assess the risk associated with any given policy, and this process takes time — an average of 3–4 weeks in life insurance, for example, and because it takes so long, 18.7 million people simply give up before the process is complete.
RPA can quickly and automatically gather and process precise data related to the applicant from both internal and external sites. For example, a life insurance company could use RPA to get relevant prescription and medical histories from Milliman IntelliScript. An auto insurer can gather DMV records or a CLUE report. Intelligent software robots can update your internal systems with the data and produce a report or premium recommendation.
According to an Accenture report, you could free up 20–30 percent of your capacity with this type of automation. Plus, robots are accurate and timely, so risk mitigation is another benefit as well as more net-new customers with faster response times.
2) Claims Registration & Processing
The claims process is document- and data-intensive, requiring the collection of information from multiple sources. A lengthy and manual claims process is both an operations and a customer service issue, not to mention a competitive one. When AFLAC introduced its One Day Pay initiative, they raised the bar for insurance providers around the world.
Claims registration is a good launch pad for robotic processing automation in insurance, since it not only meets the stated criteria, but offers immediate and tangible ROI. According to Kellton Tech, RPA solutions can cut claims registration times in half — if not more. It’s easy to get organizational buy-in right off the bat with those kinds of benefits.
Claims processing is another area where RPA can have an immediate impact. The traditional claims processing workflows require companies to gather a huge amount of information from a number of sources, slowing down service and negatively affecting the customer experience.
Robotic process automation can help insurers to quickly input the First Notice of Loss (FNOL), automatically notify loss adjusters and give assignments to claims handlers, and integrate all that disparate claim information‒regardless of the source‒speeding up the process and creating a better customer experience.
One large finance and insurance provider experienced rapid growth, which most executives would argue is a good problem to have. But this growth necessitated the rapid scaling of processes, which is difficult in a high-touch, manual, paper-based environment. The insurer implemented robotic processing automation and now adjudicates claims 75 percent faster, using a robot to automatically aggregate 86 data points into a centralized document.
3) Business and Process Analytics
You can’t improve what you can’t measure, goes the old saying, and with complex and paper-intensive processes in an insurance company, not measuring can cost you not just in operational efficiency, but also in customer satisfaction.
Once RPA is implemented, business and process analytics allow you to gain visibility into RPA-driven workflows and enable continuous process improvement.
Each task performed by a software robot can be monitored and recorded at every step, which gives you valuable data like the number of transactions processed and exceptions encountered. Plus, you get an audit trail that can help with regulatory compliance and support further process improvement, which in turn benefits customers with streamlined applications, claims and customer service response times.
There are any number of insurance industry processes that could be streamlined and improved with the help of RPA solutions. Introducing more automation will reduce processing times, minimize errors, improve the customer experience and provide employees with more time in the workday.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR -
Vartul Mittal brings over 12 years of global experience in Business Operations & Technology Transformation, across Global Business Services, Shared Service Centres and Business Process Outsourcing. With experience in the Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence space, he has worked as the Lead Technology & Innovation across organisations. In these roles he has been a champion for delivering measurable, repeatable cost savings and profitable revenue growth and driving programs to delight customers. Vartul holds an MBA from SCMHRD Pune, and a B-Tech in Mechanical Engineering.