Jeff Rauscher is director of solutions design for Redwood Software.

The primary focus of an insurance company is the customer, but with so many customers generating so much data, it can be a challenge to accurately collect, update, and analyze customer information across locations and platforms. For efficient claims processing, you need to eliminate bottlenecks and human error wherever possible.  Automation gives you the speed, consistency, quality and efficiency you need to provide the best possible customer service as your organization grows. But to really be beneficial, you need to implement it across the entire enterprise.

Many Offices, One Company

As insurance brokerages become more successful, more satellite offices also spring up.  With more offices, more employees naturally follow.  The good news is that your company serves more customers.  Unfortunately, that’s also the bad news. With more customers you now process more claims with more employees and more offices.

This situation wouldn’t be much of a concern if each individual office operated completely autonomously and serviced only customers within that geographical region, but in reality that’s not what happens at all.  Instead, your billing department is in one location, claims processing is in another, and technical support is somewhere else entirely.  Different time zones, geographic boundaries and poor communication can mean that your critical processes take more time, involve more people and generate more errors.  Ultimately, it’s the customer who suffers, but you do, too.

Localized automation doesn’t offer much of an advantage to a complex company. In fact, if records and processes aren’t well connected between locations, there’s really no difference between electronic processing and the old-fashioned paper records we’d never dream of using anymore. To be truly beneficial to the customer and the company, systems should also be automated and connected like any other business-critical information.

Instead of looking at each individual office or department as an individual entity, you need to connect and orchestrate your processes together—in every location. Automation is the key. With one unified automation solution deployed across the entire enterprise, installed on-premises or provided through the cloud, you can link these locations and automate many of the complex processes that stretch between them.  With automation implemented across your entire company, you can speed processes, enforce standards, and support the visibility you need, wherever and whenever you need it.

Good for Customers, Great for Business

Automating and connecting locations and processes supports both effective customer service and staff efficiency. Once files and protocols are appropriately connected across your enterprise, staff in all departments, at all locations, can access consistent and complete data no matter where they are. There’s no more waiting for someone in another office to complete a task, make sense of a unique spreadsheet or retrieve data.  Instead, the conclusion of one process will trigger a command that immediately and automatically, begins the next.  From the customer’s perspective, it is flawless and fast.  For your company’s purposes, it is efficient, accurate and reliable.

Let me give you an example. A large insurance provider with more than 600 branch offices and a server estate of more than 1,000 Microsoft Windows and Red Hat systems needed to share critical data between offices, partners, customers and providers. This was no simple requirement. Layers of localized procedures made coordination between everyone difficult—and mostly manual. This took time and cost them in human error and slow customer service.

To solve this problem, the company implemented an enterprise-wide automation solution that gives them a single platform to control a wide range of applications and tasks. Now all of their management information gathering and distribution processes are linked together and automated in logical, dependent steps that are fast, accurate and easy to manage. The automation platform also helped them standardize procedures so that all of the offices support consistent company policies. Today, they don’t waste time on manual tasks, and everyone’s happier as a result.

Ultimately, enterprise-wide solutions like this provide insurance brokerages the opportunity to improve all of their services. They reduce the time required to check and re-check records for accuracy as well as the time required to wait for information from another department. That makes a stronger company. Automation also erases time required to process claims or establish coverage. That makes happy customers.  Enterprise-wide automation can mean a big win for everyone involved. Take a look at your organization today and see how it might help you. You’ll probably be surprised at how much good you can do.