Insurance Industry News from ProgramBusiness.comThe Paperless Agency - Boom or Bust?
I recently had conversations with two of my ProImage clients. Brooks May of Old Colony Insurance in Crestwood, KY said, "I can't imagine how we were able to get by without it. It has greatly improved our efficiency and our customers love the instant service we're able to provide." Ryan Miller of Miller Insurance in Tualatin, OR states, "I am thrilled at the lack of paper in my office. Now I get upset when a company or customer doesn't have email and demands that we fax something. Why should I pay for a long distance call, let alone a letter and envelope." While these are great testimonials for the ProImage system, others that have embarked on implementing a paperless environment in their office have been less enthusiastic. Why? The main reason is that a vendor or hardware salesperson convinced them to buy the hardware and/or software and have left the agency to implement this new technology on their own. It's the usual "lack of training."
One area that tends to bottleneck the workflow and adds extra effort, training and time, is the use of central scanning. Central scanning leads to filing errors and requires a considerable amount of extra handling. It also requires the introduction of more paper into the process. The CSR has to write a note to the input person with instructions concerning the placement of the image. Adding paper to a paperless process makes no sense at all.
Another process that limits the capabilities of an agency trying to attain a paperless environment is the handling of faxes and emails. We see many agencies printing them and then scanning them into their system. They should be entered or attached directly from the receiver's PC and not printed or scanned.
Many agencies are also scanning in duplicates of policy and endorsement forms. How many copies (paper or image) of a CNA Office BOP form does one need? Why not set up a library for those forms? Then, you will only need to note the form numbers in the customer's file in the agency management system. If the form has to be reviewed, it can be recalled from the forms library.
I also find agencies doing both imaging and transactional filing. What a waste of time, space and money. Much of the inability of agencies to attain paperless status comes from what I call mental garbage. It is a mistrust of the data in the computer. A daily backup of the system and the removal of the backup media from the agency's premises should allay those fears.
Another problem comes from the use of the wrong hardware and/or software. If you don't have an electronic desktop and the ability to assemble, file, fax or email from this desktop, you can not fully attain the paperless environment you desire.
If you are not achieving the success you expected from imaging or would like to avoid the pitfalls of implementing improper systems and procedures, you can email me at email@example.com or call me at (859) 694-1580. You can also download additional information regarding ProView at http://www.jackfries.com/consulting.htm and click on "Learn more about ProImage."
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