Insurance company NFU Mutual is to automate its paper-based claims handling using business process management tools from Tibco.
The multimillion pound project will help the rural insurer streamline its claims-management processes across its regional service centres, maximise claims management efficiency and enhance its customer service.
NFU Mutual will use Tibco's Spotfire analytics platform, Nimbus Control and ActiveMatrix BPM software to optimise the claims-handling process.
The project follows a successful pilot study in York, which demonstrated how business process management (BPM) could improve claims processing at the insurance company.
The pilot project enabled NFU to see how Tibco's ActiveMatrix BPM software could be used to automate the manual claims-handling process.
With the previous system there were work queues and backlogs, said Tim Mann, CIO at NFU Mutual.
"The pilot ran from January to June to handle household claims processing in York. It allowed us to remove up to 4,000 paper files," said Mann.
He said the pilot automated the claims processing and freed up a lot of office space, since paper claims forms did not have to be stored at the York office.
"Previously, a claims form would arrive by post. It would be logged in a database. Team leaders would allocate work on a manual basis. Tibco automates this workflow," said Mann.
Through the pilot study, NFU Mutual gained an understanding of how workflow management with the Tibco software could help it move claims processing to other regional offices. This flexibility would benefit the company, for example if staff at a particular site were inundated by claims following a flood.
NFU uses an imaging system from IBM to scan and log the paper claims forms. Once scanned, the forms are available to the IT system. All the steps required to handle a claim are orchestrated by Tibco.
Information related to the policy is added to the electronic document, although there is little integration with the back-office system, Mann said.
"We have a loose coupling to the back-office underwriting and insurance system, which allows us to pull across information on the insurance policy and cover," he said.
Mann said the back-office insurance application does not include extra information captured on the claims file. The new system uses a web-based front-end, which will enable claims staff to access a variety of information such as telephone calls and emails. These will be associated with the claims form.
“Eliminating paper from claims-handling processes is a sure-fire way to achieve a massive efficiency and quality improvement for any insurer,” said Neil Ward-Dutton, research director at MWD Advisors.
“Using a process platform to at the same time improve self-service and customer feedback channels is a very sensible strategy in today's environment, when customers' service expectations are increasingly set very high by their experiences elsewhere in the online world.”