Automation and workflow pose two of the biggest challenges to the modern insurance industry. According to Property Casualty 360, in a report on the 2014 AAMGA Automation Conference (AAMGA stands for American Association of Managing General Agents), insurance agencies and their IT departments can often be at odds. As the Property Casualty 360 article discusses, in insurance, technology “cannot exist only in the purview of the IT department.” Rather, technology and workflow automation need to be spread to every corner of an organization, giving employees better ways to automate documentation processes, collaborate with other employees and communicate more efficiently with clients and customers.
For the most part, the benefits of technology and workflow are the same for insurance companies as they are for other organizations. The insurance industry, though, has been slower to adopt workflow technology and other key information technology systems. Some of that lethargy has to do with internal reluctance to adopt new systems or learn new software. Other reasons for the delay are more external and industry-wide issues. For instance, Insurance Noodle cites the lack of data standardization across the entire insurance industry.
Solving the Insurance IT Issue with Document Management Software
So how can insurance agencies start adopting new technologies to improve their business process management and create better communication and collaboration across the board? The first steps are to embrace document management software and to make it readily accessible and usable for every employee—not just those in the Information Technology department.
Already, insurance companies are starting to use business process management or document management software to automate individual bits and pieces of their operations. For instance, many agencies have set up automated workflows to process employee invoicing, social media posts, and more. However, the problem right now is that these uses of automation in the insurance sector are few and far between and typically focused on only one or two parts of an organization. The result of this spread is what we call “silos.” Automation and workflow in the insurance world are mostly isolated into these small, concentrated areas of use, instead of being expanded across entire organizations.
Needless to say, this “silo” system makes DMS and BPM less effective than they could be overall. Ideally, document management software should be able to establish workflows that can span an entire company. For instance, the eFileCabinet document management system allows users to design workflows that can send files automatically from individual employees to department heads, onto supervisors or company higher-ups for approval, and then finally onto clients or customers. When automated processes are locked into these smaller silo-like clusters, there is inherently less they can do to improve a company’s efficiency and quality of work.
Three Ways DMS Can Improve the Insurance Industry
So how can document management software take the insurance industry to the next level? What can individual insurance firms gain from investing in programs like eFileCabinet? Here are just three of the many ways that DMS can help to improve the insurance industry:
- Going Paperless: By not taking full advantage of Information Technology solutions, many insurance agencies are still stuck in the era of paper files and physical file rooms. Not only does it take a long time to find client policies or claims documents when digging through a filing cabinet, but it also costs a lot of money for companies to print and store paper documents. Adopting document management software makes it possible for insurance agencies to go paperless at last—thereby cutting costs and improving efficiency.
- Easy Collaboration: One of the issues raised by the Property Casualty 360 piece cited at the beginning of this article was that, without proper integration of IT solution, employees within insurance firms have a difficult time collaborating with one another. With a good DMS, files can be accessed anytime, from anywhere, on any device, making it easier than ever before for multiple people to work on the same file or case. One agent can access a client’s policy documents from the field while preparing an adjustment while the other can get the ball rolling on preparing the insurance claim for that client back at his office. This easy collaboration aids efficiency and accuracy and helps ensure that clients are getting the best service possible.
- Better Workflows: We already talked a bit about workflow above, but it bears repeating. Without DMS, files are typically either being faxed or sent via email—neither of which are secure or efficient methods of communication. With DMS, a file’s path through an organization can easily be automated in a secure digital fashion. Whether the file in question is an invoice, a receipt, a claim, an adjustment, a policy document, or a report, you can set up a workflow to make sure that those documents get where they need to go for approval or reception. Add secure client portal technology and e-signature capability, and every step of the insurance claims process is made faster and more convenient by DMS.
Are you interested in learning more about what document management software can do to take your insurance company’s business process management and automation functions to the next level? Click here to read about eFileCabinet’s specific benefits for insurance industry businesses.