What is insurance RPA?

Robotic process automation (RPA) is changing the way insurance companies operate faster than any other technology today. From personal and commercial insurance line underwriting and onboarding, to policy holder services and claims processing, many insurance companies are realizing the benefits of standardized workflows streamlined with robotics technology. Insurance RPA is a new and increasingly popular solution for bridging disparate systems which have had a direct effect on customer experience and back office operations of insurance companies today.

For established insurance providers, the norm for conducting operations has always relied heavily on outdated legacy systems with intricate moving parts and lots of work done in Excel outside of the system to reconcile and transcribe data. Historically, this made it difficult to streamline technologies of the past (without reinventing the entire company’s IT infrastructure for the 10th time).

New insurance providers have faced fewer challenges given the ability to create an infrastructure that relies heavily on the cloud from the start. For well-established insurance providers, it can be costly to implement core systems that time and time again fall short on automation benefit promises. This is why the use of robotics in insurance industry in connecting the “last mile” of the legacy insurance systems together in a way that improves the customer experience and back office efficiency is changing the way insurance companies carry out business operations.

Insurance companies require intricate process and system connections for conducting business across underwriting, managing insurance claims, and analyzing risk. Insurance companies using RPA make these processes more efficient, sometimes by 50%, by reducing mundane and time-consuming data entry transcription tasks across legacy systems. We will discuss a few detailed RPA insurance use cases below to give you real life examples of how surprisingly simple it is to implement – but only if you dive deep into analysis and standardize the processes first.

Benefits of robotic process automation in insurance

When a potential customer is interested in purchasing an insurance policy, they will always first request a quote. This will be based upon information provided by the person to be insured, as well as the specific coverage requests that will be covered under the insurance policy. Different insurance companies use different programs, and they all manually process the work differently.

Some insurance companies may pull driving records manually from DMVs while others might get the data from databases like SambaSafety. Regardless of where the driving record data comes from, it has to be copied from a PDF , a different database, or an email and pasted into an underwriting  system like Applied Rater, Oracle Insbridge, or Ratabase that houses all underwriting info for each customer.

And the work’s not done yet! Manual spreadsheet or email work almost always has to get processed outside of these systems, regardless of what legacy system you run. If your company processes 1000 applications a day, that’s a whole lot of copying and pasting going on.

Here’s the bottom line: all that manual underwriting processing can take up 80% of an employee’s time in some cases.

Think about that, and then think about the fact that we’re not even to the onboarding process of the insurance policy yet.

Underwriting is also susceptible to delays and inconsistencies in workflows and communications due to human error and missing or incorrect data in applications. Thankfully, RPA insurance is streamlined, even if there are several completely different legacy systems that seem difficult to link together. Automating the mundane copying and pasting allows insurance companies using RPA to conduct business faster, reduce labor costs, and speed up quoting, underwriting, customer service and claims processes all in a similar fashion.

RPA insurance use cases and examples

To illustrate robotics in insurance industry at work for an auto insurance provider, we’re going to walk you through a “day in the life of” Dan, an auto insurance claims processor. Much of Dan’s work day is full of copying and pasting claims form data from PDF files into a web-based data management system. Dan must retrieve the PDF claims file from an email, then copy and paste all fields from the PDF into the doc management system. Once this is done, Dan has to create a new document and import all of the information from an invoice into the new doc and attach it to the management system. Dan then sends this to management for approval.

Not bad, right? Dan is clearly a good employee that does good work. But, we can help Dan be better.

Dan’s work life could be easier with RPA insurance. Let’s replay the scene, but with UiPath RPA installed. RPA software can log into Dan’s email app and retrieve the PDF claims form. RPA technology navigates through different screens and controls the mouse and keyboard to copy and paste all of the individual fields of data from the PDF file into the doc management system. Insurance RPA software then creates a new Word document, copies the information from an invoice, pastes it onto the new document, and attaches it to the document management system. Robotic process automation in insurance technology then sends the claim to the back office for approval. Dan is now able to focus on more important jobs around the office without getting backed up with mundane tasks that drain him of his time and energy.

Dan used to spend 15 minutes per claim on the above task. It now takes him 4 minutes with the robot running all the data transcribing work. Imagine the benefits of that rolled out at large scale across the organization!

Steps to implementing robotic process automation insurance claims– you must standardize work before you can throw a robot at it

RPA insurance mitigates risk, improves accounting tasks, reduces the manual work when sending invoices, automatically applies payments to the right general ledger, schedules appointments of inbound leads automatically, communicates with customer’s asking similar questions, and reduces manual efforts of moving data around when process claims. While implementing RPA in insurance claims processes may seem highly technical and difficult, it doesn’t have to be.

Ultimately, the right approach to standardizing work will help you immensely. We’re going to go over some ways to conduct a simple RPA in insurance claims improvement analysis and implementation process for all major processes without breaking the bank or exhausting programmer/developer manpower.

Scope the insurance RPA project in claims

The most effective way to start an RPA insurance project is to first determine a manageable scope of a project. Start small – then roll out at scale. Don’t swing for the fences with an enterprise wide scope before piloting a test across one business unit. No matter what anyone else says, starting huge with RPA never works.

Common divisions in insurance companies include: agency operations, underwriting, new business processing, policy holder services and claims. We always suggest picking one division as your starting point—claims. We love working in claims because you can reduce overhead costs, and reduce claims severity at the same time.

Claims departments are rife with customer interactions, manual work and usually have 4-7 different systems that claims reps must toggle through and move data in and around from. Determine a group of 100-500 employees you know will be open to change to start your mapping exercise on.

In this RPA insurance use cases example, we see that identifying a very specific area suitable for RPA is key in the scoping process.

A key part of building an insurance RPA scope is identifying which areas in your company are good candidates for RPA, which you can see an example of above.

Remember, starting with too big of a scope will almost certainly set you up for quick failure. Start small to see how the organization responds, learn your lessons about the cultural response to insurance RPA, and then scale up.

Determine baseline insurance operations cost to calculate total benefits realized from insurance RPA implementation

Before insurance companies or consultants can even attempt to measure benefits and the total cost effectiveness of robotic process automation in insurance, an accurate baseline of current operations costs must be analyzed. When creating a baseline, you will have to work with the HR department to determine the cost of each fully-loaded employee in scope. This will take a week or two by itself to get locked in, so make sure you allocate enough time to get the scope cost clear.

Showing the ways in which insurance companies using RPA can benefit financially is the easiest way to be given the green light to implement from shareholders and members of the c-suite. Technology might advance and robots might be here to stay, but as you probably know, money always talks.

Analyze current state of company processes to document opportunities for robotic process automation in insurance

It’s time to get your hands dirty – very dirty. This is the part where you get to do a lot of process mapping of the systems and people that you’re considering adding RPA to. Grab your favorite tool for note-taking, and get ready to observe an employee of the back office of an insurance company for an entire day. Note every step that must be done for the systems you want to use RPA on. Take down every detail down to the keystrokes and mouse click levels. There are likely a ton of repetitive actions made throughout the day. Once you have finished that on employee number 1 – do it again on a different employee on day two. Make sure you get a large enough sample size of observations to validate your findings.

By analyzing as many employees as possible, insurance companies using RPA can find the best areas in their processes for automation.

Above you can see the result of our analysis of a top company’s employee activities to determine the best targets for RPA implementation.

We recommend using screen sharing software such as GoToMeeting or Webex to capture a “day in the life” scenario. It’s best to follow several workers over a week or two to get a more accurate sample size for estimating the RPA opportunities in the entire scope.

In this snapshot from UiPath, we see that each sub-process automated through insurance RPA is made up of Activities that can be tracked at the keystroke level.

As you can see above, every surface level aspect of RPA software has to be supported by very specific details at a keystroke level for true automation.

Standardize workflow and procedures before or during RPA insurance implementation—but not after

Don’t even think about RPA in insurance claims if you aren’t ready to analyze and standardize manual processes first.

As we mentioned earlier, insurance processes vary greatly across different companies. But, they also vary internally just as much. Employee A is almost never processing work in the same order as Employee B. The key to insurance companies using RPA successfully is standardizing everyone’s work processing similarly so it can be rolled out across everyone the exact same way.

Project managers with lean and six-sigma experience are the best candidates for creating RPA insurance use cases based on their previous work experience with standardization of processes at scale.

Hire an insurance RPA consultant or vendor to implement and do the coding—or do it yourself

It’s easiest to hire an RPA vendor to both consult with your insurance company on the areas RPA can improve upon, to help map flow charts and plan process standardization business cases, and install the actual RPA in claims processing technology to put said plans into action. The cost of RPA analysis varies greatly by consulting firm, and big names will charge you millions. There are also smaller specialty shops that will gladly look at smaller groups for much less. Contact us if you want to implement insurance RPA with less cost and risk. We won’t try to sell you a space station before making easy to follow blue-prints.

Feeling in a DIY mood? There are options for those who wish to take on RPA implementation with their own two hands. The Community Version of UiPath is free, and RPA certification courses can be completed in one month online. But, if you need a large-scale project and you are in charge of it, you will need six-sigma training.

Benefits of choosing Opsdog for insurance RPA analysis, business case development and implementation support

So, you’ve looked at your choices and have a solid plan for implementing RPA. Now what?

If the decision is to hire someone to help, we’re pleased to present a variety of solutions for robotics in insurance industry. We offer “a la carte” services of workflow analysis, process mapping and all the dirty work analysis and requirements gathering needed to successfully implement RPA . If you want a head start for your own mapping efforts, we offer many insurance RPA mapping templates which are on our website here. Interested in using the power of RPA for your insurance company? Feel free to get in touch with us to learn more.

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