RPA in the Insurance Industry: Benefits and a Before-and-After Scenario
  • Deborah Cromwell

RPA in the Insurance Industry: Benefits and a Before-and-After Scenario

RPA Benefits for the Insurance Industry

Operational inefficiency in any organization results in wasted spending and often translates to wasted time for customers. Manual processes contribute greatly to inefficiency and the more an organization relies on them, the more likely it will realize poor productivity, slow response times, high error rates and dissatisfied employees – all of which are sure to drive customers away!

For the reasons listed above and so many more, there are ample opportunities for RPA to integrate with existing systems and technologies to drive processes in the most efficient way and work alongside employees so that they might focus on more complex tasks.

Here are a few advantages of adopting Robotic Process Automation:

• Create an immediate cost savings by automating human tasks

• Deliver 100% accuracy

• Increase staff productivity, service levels and capacity

• Reduce process cycle times

• Reduce average handling time

In the next few weeks, this blog will look at the benefits RPA can bring to the insurance, banking and telecommunications industries and we’ll outline scenarios that breakdown the impact of RPA before and after implementation.

Top 7 Benefits of RPA for the Insurance Industry

1.) Faster Claims Processing

Claims processing requires employees to gather information from various documents and copy/move that information into various systems. It’s a time-consuming process, which delays the timely response that customers desire when they file a claim. RPA can move large amounts of claims data with one mouse click.

2.) Easier Policy Cancellation

The process of cancelling policies is time-consuming due to having to interact with email, a policy administration system, a CRM, Excel, and PDF documents. RPA can toggle through these interactions all at once and eliminate the need to move data through each of them manually.

3.) Simplified New Business Onboarding

Sometimes companies grow faster than they can manage. Robots can support growth with minimal growing pains. For example, manual inter-departmental data movement from new clients being onboarded can be reduced by at least 50% within weeks.

4.) Increased Data Accuracy

Using RPA increases the reliability of data. That’s because, unlike humans, robots are unable to key in data incorrectly; nor will their “minds” wander while performing repetitive tasks. You must resolve bad data being received on the front end for it to work right.

5.) Standardized Processes

A side effect of using robots is the necessary standardization of processes. In order to start using a robot, a company’s processes need to be standardized, which in turn, increases worker efficiency and then greatly increases the speed at which the robots can do their work as well.

6.) Legacy Systems Compatibility and New Implementation-Friendly Systems

Robots can be configured to use old systems that might be replaced in the next few years and updated to work with the new ones. Robots are easily reconfigured within days to point to new systems as they get implemented.

7.) Easy Transition

Working at the familiar desktop level, robots are easy for employees to understand and to use. They can be installed quickly (unlike traditional IT projects) and work with existing technology.

Given this new frontier and their legacy ways of doing business, most insurance companies struggle to find places to get started with RPA. Many experts recommend starting with simple processes first. Attempting to conquer complex processes first often leads to delays, frustrations and failure. Choosing a lower complexity task allows you to gain a foothold and establish ownership of the internal process and practices and then evolve future automation.

6 Examples of RPA for Insurance

1.) Underwriting

At one company, underwriting processing time was slashed by 80 percent thanks to the elimination of manual copying and pasting of client information from inbound customer emails into one cloud-based underwriting system and two on-premise core insurance systems.

2.) Quoting

One insurance company used RPA to turbocharge policy quoting speed by automatically copying contact data from requests on the company website and validating it on government websites such as the DMV and third-party databases.

3.) Property & Casualty Claims Analytics & Reporting

Another insurer increased the speed of its analytics insights by automatically moving automotive claims transaction volume data into its business intelligence application without human wrangling or intervention.

4.) Life Insurance Claims

One insurance company slashed the cycle time of its life insurance claims processing by 40 percent. They were able to automate what had been the manual entry of claims data by empowering their bots to validate death certificates on government websites.

5.) Insurance Premium Accounting

Another insurer reduced home office error correction for payments set up at agencies by a staggering 50 percent. How? They were able to automatically copy and move information from the new policy applications into the core insurance system, eliminating manual transcription of data by agencies.

6.) Life Insurance in Force Customer Service

Another life insurance firm reduced the overhead of customer service by 25 percent by automatically transcribing data from emailed policy change requests into core systems.

Insurance Claims Process Scenario: BEFORE RPA

Looking at a mock scenario helps identify in what ways exactly RPA can have an impact on daily activities. In this instance, we’ll use the mundane task of a Claim Processor working through a typical workflow for processing a claim with no level of automation in place.

Claim Processor receives an email with a new claim.

Each claim form (a PDF) includes a new claim number. The Claim Processor Outlook is set up to find these emails and send them automatically to a dedicated claims folder.

Claim Processor transfers each claim form into a queue folder on a shared network drive to be processed in order of receipt. This generates a backlog of 10 to 20 claims or more.

Claim Processor opens the oldest claim in the queue. First, Claim Processor copies the account number from the form into the company’s system and finds the policyholder’s account.

Next, the Claim Processor opens the company’s insurance claims program and compares the information in the claim and policyholder’s account to make sure everything matches.

Claim Processor tediously copies the policyholder’s name, date of birth, social security number, address, claim number, account number and any other required information into the claims system. Then Claim Processor attaches the PDF to the claim in the claims system.

Claim Processor moves the PDF from the queue folder to the finished folder. Claim Processor then emails the claim payment processing department, notifying them that this claim is complete and ready to be paid.

Claim Processor processes a few more claims before breaking for lunch. When Claim Processor returns, 10 more claims have arrived via email. Consequently, Claim Processor never catches up; the queue continues to grow, causing a bottleneck in the claims process.

Manual efforts involved in this scenario are tedious, slow and leave too much room for error or steps in the workflow that could easily get overlooked by an inattentive employee.

Now we’ll look at this same scenario aided by RPA to drive the process and assist the Processor.

Insurance Claims Process Scenario: AFTER RPA

Claim Processor receives the claim email just as before, only this time, the Claim Processor opens all the relevant systems and runs the robot.

RPA searches the Claim Processor’s claims folder in Outlook. It finds the new email and pushes the attachment to the network drive folder.

RPA opens the oldest claim in the queue, searches for policyholder’s account in the company’s system and compares the information. If it finds any discrepancies between the claim information and the account, the robot stops and saves the claim to a new folder named “Needs Review.” Claim Processor can then concentrate on these exceptions.

Because this robot runs on a loop, it continues to the next claim. If the information in that claim matches the account information in the system, the robot copies the claim information into the claims system and attaches the PDF.

Next, RPA uses a pre-built email template to send the claim to the claim payment processing department, notifying them that it is complete and ready to be paid.

Claim Processor goes to lunch but leaves the robot running.

When Claim Processor returns, the robot has finished processing claims. It received, saved and processed all new claims that arrived while the employee was away.

After lunch, Claim Processor opens the “Needs Review” folder to rectify any discrepancies between these claims and the associated accounts.

In just this one example, it is easy to see how RPA can perform to the advantage of the insurance organization on many levels. When applied to all claims processing agents and like departments across one or multiple locations, it is not hard to imagine the substantial cost savings resulting from optimized productivity.

When integrated seamlessly with other systems and processes, RPA can maximize investments already made in established systems while improving overall workflows. What’s more, RPA delivered through a no-code platform lessens the burden on IT and often eliminates the need for extensive engineering resources.

And finally, benefits to both the organization and the customer due to a reduction of errors results in improved accounting and less frustration for the client when inquiring about a claim or payment. All of these benefits from RPA foster a positive experience for customers with a goal of long-term relationships and loyalty.