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Insurance Industry Best Practice for High Volume Customer Communications

May 16, 2014

By Tim Nelms, Business Development and Alliances, EMEA Archiving Division

Tim NelmsSince 1998 I have been working with insurers to find answers to their customer communication challenges. Over this time I’ve seen many changes in the way insurers’ document workflows and customer correspondence. This article will provide some perspective on this matter.

Let’s start with the basics. Common documents produced by insurers include quotations, policies, statements, reporting, renewals, wordings, reminders, cheques and remittance advices, and statutory letters. Typically the underwriting, broking and claims processing systems generate these documents and of course the output generation tools supplied with those systems. Where there exist multiple lines of business systems, you will often find multiple ways of creating documents.

In an average sized insurance company with 800,000 policies this usually amounts to between 25,000 and 30,000 documents generated per day or 500,000 documents per month. In total between 6 and 7 million documents will need generating, printing and posting each year. Common problems insurers face in the process includes:

  • How do you generate document from line of business systems and are these tools and techniques flexible enough to meet changing business needs?
  • Can you react quickly to the need to roll-out new products or existing products into new markets?
  • Do your customer communications meet high standards for quality and presentation? Are they easy to read?
  • Do call centre staff or claims operatives need to generate custom responses to customer calls or do they have standard templates? Is there an approval workflow in place to manage the custom documents?
  • Do you use common templates and wording across customer correspondence in your underwriting or claims systems?
  • Where in the process do you add relevant marketing materials for cross or up-selling purposes?
  • Can you deliver documents through traditional postal channels as well as electronic delivery? Do your customers request or have access to a portal for all their customer communications?
  • Do you comply with industry regulation such as the UK Financial Services Authorities Insurance Conduct of Business guidelines? How do you manage business records?
  • If you have documents coming into your company do you manage these using the same systems as you do for outbound correspondence? Can you automatically action information found in inbound correspondence?

These questions speak not just to the efficiency of the core policy administration and underwriting systems of insurers, but to the end-to-end process of managing unstructured content in form of documents and communications with the customer. That is why so many insurers have not only enterprise systems for policy administration but enterprise systems for document workflow as well.

The challenge is for insurers to automate the processes needed to deliver high-volumes of complex documents to customers, while achieving the highest levels of document personalization and quality. Traditionally the costs associated with delivering high quality and highly personalized customer communications, relevant to risk type, client and product has been too high to justify such improvements. As always the need to control operational costs whilst maintaining operational flexibility and responsiveness to new business lines is a fine balancing act.

The diversification of product portfolios and the requirement to comply with regulatory guidelines that govern what information must be provided to customers has had a dramatic impact on document generation processes. Delivering compliant, branded mass communications without manual intervention or Straight through Processing (STP) as it is known is a significant challenge.

In addition to these best practices, we wanted to share with you a vertical application example that discusses CrawfordTech’s Policy Document and Correspondence Archiving Solution for Insurers in partnership with EMC. This insurance focused brief provides information around communications archiving challenges, universal print-stream archiving, integrations with insurance applications, customer portals and online presentment, and consolidating and migrating legacy archives.

Click here to read our Policy Document and Correspondence Archiving Solution for Insurers Brief >>>.

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