Groups Sought For Claims Base Beta Test

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By E.E. Mazier

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NU Online News Service, Jan. 9, 4:11 p.m. EST?Aprovider of online insurance claims tools is looking for publicentities and risk pools to pilot test its new Public Risk DatabaseProject-compatible system for automobile accident claims.

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Claims On Line, Inc., based in New York, seeks participants forits Public Entity Claims System (PECS) Beta test. Claims On Linebelieves the system can provide risk management solutions for thepublic sector.

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The company has indicated the ideal participant for the pilotproject is a public entity or intergovernmental risk pool thatwants to collect and code its data using the PRDP standardizedcoding tables for collection of data in a common format.

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The testing entity should have auto claims. However, the companyhas indicated that no minimum volume of claims is necessary toparticipate.

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"If someone only gets a couple of claims a month, that's fine,"said Claims On Line chief executive officer Linda Lamel. "I want ?[the public entity or pool] to have somebody use it, enter a claimmore than once just so you can tell us it works, it doesn't work,here's what we need to change," she continued.

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As explained by Ms. Lamel, PECS is an end-to-end (meaning, fromthe beginning of a claim to its adjudication) virtual claim-filesystem in which all processing of a claim, all data entry and allcommunication is performed on the Web.

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"The claim is entered through any browser," Ms. Lamel said. Theuser goes to a Web site, which could be PRDP's, Claims On Line's orthe user's. After logging in the user can create a notice of lossand enter the necessary information, she explained.

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Additional data such as the full accident report, the policereport and doctors' notes are accumulated as part of the file, shesaid.

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"Depending on what the user has available, the documents caneither be attached as emails, scanned in, or they can be put indigitally," Ms. Lamel added. Digital photographs of the damage alsocan be uploaded into the computer and made part of the claimfile.

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Because the file is on a Web site, any number of people can lookat the same file at the same time, and "it will be the sameinformation so you can't get version differences," Ms. Lamel noted.Updates of any document are easily entered, and the file willindicate that prior versions exist, she said.

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Ms. Lamel noted, "The faster you can resolve a claim the lessit's going to cost and the more satisfied the individual is goingto be."

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Additionally, because the claim is processed through a Web-basedapplication, all the data appears in data fields. This allows apublic entity to cull information from several files to generatereports on, for example, how many accidents it has had on aparticular street, Ms. Lamel pointed out.

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"When you look at your claims on an aggregate basis, you canalso start making decisions about what is cost-effective by way ofloss prevention or loss control," she observed.

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PECS incorporates the PRDP Liability Claims Data Standard--essentially standardized coding tables-- including the "cause ofloss" codes unique to PRDP.

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PRDP is a nonprofit organization based in Columbia, Md. thatcompiles and distributes information about liability claims andexposure from state and local governments and risk pools.

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Claims On Line said it expects the pilot test period to begin assoon as agreed upon by the users and to end after four weeks.

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The company stated that it takes only a few hours to learn touse the necessary tools and that data entry is nottime-consuming.

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After the four-week period, Claims On Line will collect atwo-page test document from each participant by e-mail. The companywill then follow up with the users to discuss specific needs andconcerns.

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Claims On Line said that it will thank the PECS Pilot Testparticipants with a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate.

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PRDP announced its involvement in the PECS project lastyear.

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PECS, based on the existing Claims On Line Reporting System, isdescribed as "an integrated query, sorting and reporting system forclaims" that provides risk professionals quick and efficient accessto transaction and exposure data.

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PECS also is supposed to serve as a "collaborative communicationcenter" for all parties-- brokers, agents, law firms, insurersetc.-- working on a claim.

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As indicated by PRDP, the use of PECS will help reduce storage,filing, copying and other costs. PECS is compatible with PRDP'sLiability Claims Data Standard.

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"I think it also affords a lot of public entities theopportunity to report their data to PRDP and to help PRDP developits data warehouse," Ms. Lamel added.

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PRDP had indicated that it was attracted to the project becausePECS is within reach of small- and medium-sized entities thatcannot afford PRDP systems.

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Users of PECS will not need up-front capital for softwarelicenses and hardware as long as they do not require extensivecustomization or integration of PECS with other systems, Ms. Lamelindicated.

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Claims On Line also is developing PECS for use with workerscompensation claims, she added, " We plan to have it available forall lines of business."

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If it turns out that PECS really does work for a wide range ofpublic entities, "then this is really a turnkey," said Ms.Lamel.

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Information on how to participate in the PECS pilot test can beobtained from Ms. Lamel at [email protected] orShari Beck, Vice President, Information Technology, [email protected], or bycalling 212-949-7000.

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