The next step in digitization offers market gains for first movers

Employee with papersEditor’s note: This blog post was originally published on cio.com.

The health insurance sector has enjoyed significant efficiencies from digitization in recent years, but it is high time we extend the paperless revolution to the most important people of all.

Most firms understand that a smooth and reliable service is the best way to gain and retain customers – hopefully there was no doubt that’s who we’re talking about – in an otherwise hard-to-differentiate market. However, there is only so far a company can go within the traditional, paper-based model.

At the same time, most firms have embraced the customer-focused approach and friendly, efficient operators are becoming the norm, rather than a way of standing out from the crowd. The digital revolution that has happened in consumer devices provides a way for the most forward-thinking insurers to regain the initiative while making further improvements to the efficiency of their back office functions at the same time.

Go paperless, your customers will thank you

Many consumers are now more comfortable filling out a form on a tablet than on paper, and some firms are already going paperless to ensure maximum efficiency and seamless customer service across all aspects of the business. A truly up-to-date system  goes further, as some banks and insurers are looking to do, and offers a health insurance app that sits on the customer’s smartphone or tablet, providing a guarantee of instant access to the claims system with maximum user-friendliness.

Of course, an app is only as good as the system behind it that processes the information. This is where enterprise content management (ECM) comes into its own, as it can become the interface between the customer-facing digital system and the files of the policies and claims departments, which the organisation hopefully has already digitized – at least partly.

Your staff will also thank you

Placing ECM at the heart of the digital strategy allows both the policies and claims processes to become paperless and instantaneous in their entirety, giving staff access to all the current information they need on a single screen. This is particularly attractive to insurers, as it helps meet increasingly stringent regulations on both data retention and security. It also helps increase the speed and accuracy of the claims process.

In terms of data, ECM gives managers straightforward tools to control who accesses what, and is clearly auditable to provide the required insight. At the same time, with workflow management, your organisation can automate part of the claims process as it flows from one digital input system to another. This allows you to instantly flag and send tasks that do require human decision-making and approval to an appropriate staff member. Should you not act on the task in a given timeframe, workflow automatically alerts the right people or reassigns the task, with a suitable red flag.

This not only ensures clear compliance with regulations on claims processing, but also allows differentiation through customer satisfaction in a market that is notoriously hard to compete in without sacrificing profitability. Further benefits of this fully digitized approach include a new avenue of communication with customers – through the app or similar portal – and the possibility of building a digital strategy by carefully analysing customer trends.

The right ECM system has the flexibility to work with developing digital platforms as well, so you can bring together new interfaces and devices as soon as they emerge. It also works smoothly with the systems of hospitals and medical centres, which are also adopting ECM.

For the customer, a swift approval of their claim – communicated to them and appropriate medical partners – is what they most desire at what is typically a very worrying time. Your organisation can ease their stress and deliver exceptional care by providing reassurance that this will always be the case should a customer find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to call on their insurer.

Are you ready to take the next step? Your customers are.

Colin Dean

Working from Hyland's London office, Colin brings more than 30 years of corporate experience ranging from enterprise content management (ECM) to natural language processing (NLP) for clients ranging from the Lloyds Banking Group to BUPA. Over this period, he has seen many changes in system and solution approaches, some successful and some that should not have seen the light of day. As someone who can remember when legacy systems were mere young kids on the block, you can guarantee he will have a point of view.

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