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Many paper-intensive industries, like insurance, see the operational benefits inherent in efficiently receiving arriving content such as email, fax, video, paper, and photos into the right claim case. With the proper insurance document storage, employees can get to work sooner and complete work without having to rely on error-plagued or missing files. As the volume of disparate content grows, insurance carriers must answer the question “Where is the best place to store all my content?” For the sake of this blog, let’s concentrate on a claims department. 

A System Of Record for Your Documents

One option is to store content in the claims system of record (SOR), such as Guidewire ClaimCenter. These kinds of systems typically do a good job collecting and storing claim data, and most of them have rudimentary workflow capabilities to manage the content collection part of the claims process. SORs typically treat content as business data and provide a way to upload and insert content into the SOR’s operational database as a binary object. The content directly links to a particular business transaction, and any employee wishing to view the content must do so using the specific SOR user interface.

From the perspective of a claims manager, the SOR seems to be a sufficient solution. The SOR keeps everything in one place, provides a single user interface, and initially meets the insurance document storage needs of the claims department. However, limitations in the ability to capture and store content in the right claims will be a nuisance, and eventually, the sheer volume of content and exceptions will slow claims processing and access to content.

And what happens when your business needs to leverage the same content across multiple departments? For example, when your legal department needs specific information for subrogation. All users from the legal department wishing to view and use the content will need access to the Claims SOR. Plus, they must know the context of the content to locate it. Storing content in the SOR can be a huge unanticipated cost and headache when the content needs to be made available beyond the Claims Department.

A Content Repository?

The second option an insurance carrier has is to store content in a content repository. We suggest IBM FileNet Content Manager. Content repositories support intelligent capture systems, store large volumes of unstructured content in multiple formats (audio and video), and provide a set of metadata to describe the content. Tools to navigate, manage, and monitor are also available.

But how will your Claims Department get to “their” content? From the Claims SOR, like Guidewire ClaimsCenter from our example above, each document has a unique entity that defines it in the content repository. This unique entity is retained in the SOR wherever the content is used so users can always get to it. Strict rules on retaining the content in the repository ensure that content does not get lost or deleted. Finally, interfaces are created between the content repository and the SOR to make sure content remains synchronized and users can easily find and view their content in the context of their SOR.

What If My Organization Has Multiple Business Lines?

Insurance carriers consisting of multiple business lines, (claims, policy underwriting, etc.) must leverage and share content between and among departments. From an enterprise perspective, a central content repository provides not only the capabilities of storing and retrieving content, but also system monitoring, records management, and content analytics. Different from departmental SORs, an enterprise repository allows content to be stored once and shared across the different business lines, with differing retention regulations and separate interfaces per department.

Advantages Of An Enterprise Repository

One of the key advantages of content repositories lies in the ability to integrate a document capture solution. Incoming content may be captured from essentially any source and file type and ingested into the content repository. For example, when a claims representative is out in the field and wants to record details of an incident, they can quickly snap a picture with their smartphone and instantly upload the content into the repository.

Each capture method can have its own processing path, invoking tools such as automatic document recognition, OCR, ICR, data extraction, rules, and straight through capture and indexing. Content may be activated by triggering specific business workflows based on the arrival of content or the data contained within the content. Until recently, the implementation of a content repository was viewed as a large investment in infrastructure and dedicated support staff.  Hosted or cloud-based repositories are now available and are limiting the investment required to get enterprise insurance document storage up and running.

Content Management For Insurance

For anything but the least complex single department insurance carriers, content should be stored in a content repository. As mentioned above, storing content in a content repository allows for you to integrate into your existing systems, store large amounts of content in different formats, apply metadata to your content, enable a capture solution to automate and trigger activities, and provides tools to search, monitor, and manage documents and other content from an enterprise level.

We invite you to see how Great American Insurance Group utilized an enterprise content strategy to shorten the time it took to process client applications and quotes.

electronic document storage solutions for insurance