One thing I love about ECM projects is the direct impact they make on our users and their customers. Often we don?t quite get opportunities to be among the end customers and experience the changes our solutions make to their lives. I was fortunate to be involved in a transformation project and spend a considerable amount of time on the floor where actions happen.
The scene is at an insurance company in the Middle-East. This organization wanted to automate their motor claims management process as a first step in their automation endeavors. After long discussions on pain points, process improvements, implementation strategies etc., we told the customer of our desire to witness what is happening on the floor. The claim process in this company (and it is very similar in most of the insurance companies in the middle-east) has multiple sub-processes such as claim registration, repair management, settlement etc. What I would like to discuss here is claim registration.
If a vehicle is involved in an accident, the police will issue a report with all relevant details to the drivers involved. The vehicle owner then approaches the insurance company with the police report and registers a claim. Claim registration is often a lengthy process and at an average it takes 30 to 40 minutes to registers a claim. There are a fixed number of claim registration counters at the branch office. Each customer service agent at the counter performs all the tasks required to register a claim. When a policy owner approaches the agent, s/he checks whether it is legitimate policy first. Then s/he verifies the police report, makes copies of the relevant documents, and then walks out with the policy owner to inspect the vehicle and take photographs. Once the photographs are taken they come back to the counter and the agent connects the camera to his/her computer, transfers the images, prints and attaches them to the claim folder, writes his/her observations of the damages, estimates the claim amount, and finally registers the claim in the back-end system. Then s/he prints a claim receipt and hands over to the customer. This was the process the company was following for all these years. Since each customer takes quite a long time to register his/her claim the queues were pretty long and the wait time for other customers were in multiples of hours.
It didn?t take any effort to figure out where the issue was. We suggested that the process be split up and handled by multiple agents, each specializing in one aspect of the process. It was not an easy discussion as the business management felt that with one agent processing all the steps the context will be maintained till the end of the process. It took us quite a long time to convince the business management that a true ECM/BPM implementation can improve the situation and they should not be worried too much about multiple agents working on the same case.
Three months later, our team was ready with an ECM/BPM solution for the customer. I spent half a day at the floor again after a week of switching over to the automated claims processing system. The first visible change was that there were not many people waiting. I could see customers walk-in, going from one counter to another without having too much time to sit in between. A customer comes in and straightaway goes to a desk where an agent verifies the police report and initiates a claims process and provides a token number. The customer then walks to the next counter where an agent scans the documents. The scanned documents are attached to the claim case automatically by the system. Then the customer goes to the desk where an agent is ready to inspect his/her vehicle. The agent walks to the vehicle, inspects it, takes photographs on a tablet, types in his/her observations on the tablet itself. The images and the observations are transferred automatically to the system and attached to the claim case. The customer then goes to the next counter where s/he is apprised of the estimates and collects the claim receipt.
From the time the customer walks in to the time s/he walks out with a claim receipt the wait time is practically eliminated. It could take about 15 to 20 minutes or so to register a claim, but it is perceived much less because the customer doesn?t have to sit and wait. Intelligent use of workflow, document and data capture, and case management techniques allowed the insurance company to reduce the actual customer wait time by half, and increase the perceived claim registration efficiency a lot more.
The half day I spent at the floor experiencing the changes this technology brought to many auto policy owners is etched in my mind as one of the best in my professional life. I could see the technology that I?ve been dabbling with for over a decade helping people to ease their real-world woes. Kudos ECM.