Top Applications for Automation in the Insurance Industry
July 26, 2019 · 7 min read
Increasing pressure to speed up cycle times, reduce expenses and improve customer experiences is the new normal for insurers.
Insurance companies obviously want to meet deadlines and expectations for customer satisfaction, profit and growth, while maintaining their competitive performance in the industry. Unfortunately, overflow of routine back-office operations, heavy reliance on manual work, and outdated methods and legacy systems make achieving these goals difficult.
Intelligent process automation in the insurance industry is helping companies meet such demands by automating those high-volume, unstructured, manual processes which are too complex for the limits of traditional RPA.
Let’s examine several common use cases where implementation of cognitive automation, also known as intelligent automation, with AI, in insurance can provide solutions to the many challenges faced by modern companies.
Automation use cases in insurance
1. Claims processing
Fast and efficient claims processing is paramount to success for insurance companies — yet it’s often a time-consuming, highly manual process that’s frustrating for both insurers and customers.
Typically, claim processing takes several days as insurance agents have to gather and check data from multiple sources. It may take even more time due to human errors, like mismatched financial data or customer details. Such delays may result in the loss of customers and other financial and reputational damage to the company.
Implementation of cognitive automation in insurance claim processing eliminates friction and cost.
For example, WorkFusion’s Intelligent Automation Cloud software uses a combination of RPA, machine learning and human expertise to automate, streamline and speed up claim processing. First, an RPA bot extracts the information from an email request and enters it into the claim system, and then, if the claim is complete, a cognitive bot validates the claim information and marks it approved for payment. If there’s missing data, the task is routed to an agent and an expert bot observes how the agent handles the exception. When the agent returns the claim to the workflow, an RPA bot automatically sends the verified claim for payment.
By combining all of the capabilities an insurer needs to digitize the payments process in a unified platform, the Automation Cloud automates 70% of manual work. Moreover, incorporating intelligent process automation in insurance claim processing improves accuracy and cuts necessary time by 50% — which allows companies to process twice as many claims with the same personnel.
Underwriting is the process of risk assessment for clients. It involves gathering and analyzing information from multiple sources to determine and mitigate the risks associated with the chosen policy — which can take weeks.
Implementation of Intelligent Automation in insurance underwriting can be applied to functions such as:
data collection from external and internal sites
pre-population of data fields in an internal systems
assessment of loss runs
reviewing history of customers’ claims and producing recommendations based on previous losses
Insurance companies have to comply with a great number of regulations. Amendments to regulations often force insurers to reorganize business processes to adapt. Compliance breaches result in financial and operational damages to companies.
Intelligent automation in insurance is the key to helping companies improve compliance because this eliminates the need for human personnel to manually go through a legion of routine operations to ensure regulatory compliance.
Monotonous manual operations are highly prone to errors, which raises the risk of compliance breaches. RPA bots ensure the accuracy of data and maintain a complete log of their actions. This data allows insurance companies to monitor regulatory compliance in real time through internal reviews and be prepared in case of external audits. A few examples of time-consuming manual work that AI-driven RPA can automate include validation of customer data, compliance checking, and generation of regulatory reports and notifications.
Benefits of business process automation in insurance
1. Data processing
Every day, insurers have to deal with massive volumes of data in various paper and electronic formats. In order to process a claim, for example, or provide policy advice, an agent must gather data from multiple sources and enter it into a database. The process is manually intense and time-consuming. Repetition of the same routine tasks over and over again hinders human concentration, resulting in errors and creating serious inconsistencies in company records. Robots, on the other hand, excel here. AI-driven RPA bots can process such tasks with speed, scale and accuracy.
AI combined with robotic process automation use cases in insurance data handling include:
downloading and compilation of data from external sources
transfer from a database to spreadsheets (and vice-versa)
transcription, reading and scanning
calculations and creating reports
opening, logging in and switching between applications and systems
email opening and moving its content into a database
moving files and folders from desktops to servers
scraping information from the internet
2. Integration with legacy applications
Insurance companies still rely heavily on legacy apps and disparate programs and systems for managing business operations. Implementation of new software, such as BPM or ERP systems, often requires replacement of the existing hardware and employee retraining — which are significant investments of time and money. Due to these difficulties, many insurance companies are forced to stick to the old systems although they no longer provide the support required for company development.
Robotic process automation in insurance can use existing user interfaces, which means there is no or very limited need to change the existing legacy systems. RPA bots can imitate human clicks and keystrokes, which makes them easy to implement in addition to the existing software and hardware. RPA bots create links between legacy and new systems without coding. They switch between various systems and applications and conduct claims processing, underwriting, customer service, onboarding and other operations — all at the same time. Moreover, depending on the product, some RPA tools, such as WorkFusion’s Intelligent Automation Cloud Express or Business editions, can be integrated into company systems with no or limited support from an IT team because they do not require users to have programming skills.
Current insurance administration systems are complex, expensive and high-maintenance. They cannot scale quickly enough to meet customers’ growing expectations and support company expansions. Reliance on old, heavy, disparate and duplicative systems and manual work make it hard or even impossible for insurance companies to scale their business processes.
Intelligent Automation in insurance uses RPA and artificial intelligence to link workflows in a smart, contextual way and provide real-time information on all operations in standardized reports. It overcomes barriers of disparate systems and formats and enables stable governance of reporting and compliance, providing full transparency into processes that previously ran unmonitored.
Since any number of RPA bots can be created within seconds, scalability is very easy to achieve. Likewise, any of these additional RPA bots can be removed just as quickly, at no extra cost.
However, some insurance processes are unstructured, high-volume and ultimately too complicated for traditional RPA. The use of intelligent bots provides solutions to these automation challenges in insurance. It allows all key players within each system of the company to accomplish a host of tasks quickly without engaging complex navigation across systems. Intelligent process automation can be applied to the administrative and transactional parts of complex processes, such as:
sales and distribution
finance and accounting
tax and regulatory compliances
4. Building a successful program
Successful implementation of an intelligent automation program can be incredibly beneficial for an insurance company, potentially allowing an enterprise to:
bring down the cost of automated job functions by 30–40 %, while doubling their efficiency
achieve up to 80–90% accuracy improvement
save thousands of work hours annually
speed services delivery by up to 80%
free up to 30% capacity at the enterprise level
increase overall business productivity and profitability by up to 50%
reach up to 100% regulatory compliance
Regarding costs, a 100% return on investment can reasonably be expected within the first year of implementation and that’s likely to multiply in the years following.
However, if a first automation project goes sour, it can mean resources spent in vain — which may discourage you from pursuing other automation projects for a long time and eventually put your company behind competitors who embrace automation and make it work.
So how to build a successful automation in insurance program?
It’s a complex and challenging task to analyze the best automation ideas in insurance, define the scope of a first project, estimate the investment costs and develop a scalable automation program that will bring high results.
WorkFusion understands this challenge and wants to set customers up for success from the start. This includes:
Expertise to help you identify the best use cases for your business, plan the project scope and budget with an eye toward developing your full automation program, and eventually implement your new automated insurance processes into your workflow.
Free online robotic courses in Automation Academy, which offer hands-on experience in the implementation, strategy, market, economics and challenges of RPA and cognitive automation and enable users to design, implement and manage automation projects yourself.