Despite the lifting of restrictions and loosening of statewide lockdowns, the threat of the novel coronavirus is still very serious. Without a vaccine in place, experts predict another wave of COVID-19 and are urging businesses, including those in the insurance industry, to turn to automated processes to ensure preparedness.
“[The second wave of COVID-19] presents a unique opportunity for another pass at managing the crisis, however, the window to prepare is limited and stakes are even higher,” explained Dr. Kelli Klindtworth for ChiefExecutive.net. “Leaders must demonstrate a well-oiled business continuity machine and the ability to continuously adapt and respond to new information and challenges.”
In the insurance industry, preparedness will come in the form of modernization and the adoption of automated processes for tasks that have typically been handled manually. And in this revitalization, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will be imperative.
Today, many insurance companies still use traditional mailrooms, where they process many inbound and outbound customer transactions. This includes everything from application submissions and claim forms to policy changes, all recorded and managed in paper form. These extremely useful, yet time and resource consuming, mailrooms are home to labor-intensive activities including scanning, sorting, indexing, routing, printing, and mailing. And because there’s so much to manage, these processes can be riddled with errors – ultimately leading businesses to struggle in competing with newer and more agile competitors among other downfalls.
To modernize traditional mailrooms, insurers must start by establishing a team – pulling from all areas of the enterprise – that will rely on these newly automated processes. Together, they can take inventory on inbound and outbound transactions in order to simplify processes, including limiting documentation requirements for policy change requests. Once this team, comprised of underwriting, policy servicing, and claims adjudication professionals, has surveyed the landscape and simplified where appropriate, they’re ready to define a strategy and begin integrating automated processes to supplement their mailroom.
The next step includes utilizing AI, optical character recognition (OCR), and machine learning solutions. By putting these into place, data is more easily extracted allowing for a more streamlined workflow. Insurers are then ready to operationalize their digital mailroom by implementing employee training and adding any necessary technologies like high-performance mailroom infrastructure for document scanning, auto-sorting, and data extraction.
“As insurers look to be more resilient and agile to help them navigate COVID-19 and any future disruptions, reducing dependence on manual processes, like those in a traditional mailroom, are of high priority,” explained Michael Wilson, senior director of Marketing at Cognizant. “The key is to use AI and machine learning where possible to lower costs, free employees from routine and easily automated processes so they can be used in areas where automation can’t replace human touch.”
As the pandemic continues automated processes leveraging AI, OCR, and machine learning will be imperative for those in the insurance industry. Even for some of the most critical areas of business, like mailrooms, automation is possible and ultimately helps enterprises focus on their most important mission – meeting customer expectations.
Interested in learning more about modernizing mailrooms? Click here.