How we helped a P&C insurance company expedite data entry into their Policy Administration System using Robotic Process Automation
There’s a reason so many people own automatic coffee makers. Before those countertop time-savers were invented, people resorted to the old-fashioned process of measuring water temperature, pouring, waiting, and then pouring some more. Without the ability to click a button and automate the sequence, you essentially lose valuable time forever. This concept of saving time and money is exactly what helped our client increase their productivity using Robotic Process Automation.
Headquartered in downtown Columbus, Ohio, Encova (formerly Motorists), is a super-regional property and casualty insurance company offering personal and commercial insurance through 2000 independent agents. Encova has been a client of Centric Consulting since we established our Columbus business unit in 1999. We have worked on many types of projects spanning from portal development, mobile development, merger and acquisition activities, and data analytics strategy work.
In this case, Encova was experiencing massive amounts of lost time and productivity when agents emailed applications for quoting. For example, to initiate the workflow, an associate had to open the email and scan through the attached PDF form to enter the account data into the Guidewire Policy Administration System and then create an activity to kick off the workflow. It would typically take a full day for someone to open the email and do the entry.
Encova was aware of the challenges of extracting data from PDFs using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) but did not have the bandwidth to investigate. The application form had multiple versions and the formatting was inconsistent between agencies.
Encova partnered with Centric based on our strong insurance knowledge along with the emergence of Centric India and our RPA (Robotics Process Automation) factory.
We started with a Proof of Concept (POC), and the first step was to analyze their PDF form and determine which fields needed to be extracted. The Centric developer then tested various methods to extract data through OCR to determine the best solution.
OCR is highly dependent on finding anchors within the document. Variances between servers, Acrobat settings and screen resolutions can break the process. Many PDFs appear similar to the human eye but have different anchor positions. Running large batch cycles multiple times dramatically impacted the success ratio while accuracy was in the 90% range.
To keep things on track, we initiated daily standups with Centric India and created a Kanban board to track status. We also made it a priority for our developer to produce a video at the end of each sprint to show progress.
The Results: A Faster, Streamlined Data Entry Process
By utilizing RPA with UiPath and Google OCR, agents now mail new business submissions to Encova as usual — then the magic happens. The bot monitors the inbox, automatically creates an account in Guidewire, and then initiates the workflow. What would often take over a day, the bot can now do in a few minutes. It runs unattended and can process an email anytime, day or night.
The first phase entails simply speeding up the process. The bot doesn’t add additional data into Guidewire. Future iterations will include more data being added to the account to reduce the amount of manual entry done in downstream processes.
RPA has already reduced the number of new business accounts being manually set up by 33%. New business applications are getting to underwriters sooner.
Encova had the following to say about how RPA has created value for their business:
“Offering a new business quoting service that accepts PDF applications from any number of independent agents who are using a verity of platforms comes with a cost. Historically, that cost has been hours of manual data entry. With this project, we were able to shift resources away from data entry allowing higher allocations to more value-added tasks in the underwriting process. This was achieved by significantly reducing the hours spent completing manual data entry tasks through robotic process automation.”
Encova has already signed up with Centric for new RPA projects and to augment their staff with two additional RPA developers. Having achieved increased productivity using RPA, Encova plans to automate claims settlements as their next endeavor.
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