Like many companies that had offices in the World Trade Center, Kemper Casualty Co., the New York-based specialty division of Kemper Insurance Companies (Long Grove, IL), received a wake-up call when it came to paper records. Also like many firms, Kemper decided to leverage its imaging and electronic document archiving into a better business process.
On 9/11, Kemper lost thousands of paper documents, including policy submissions that sometimes ran 1,000 pages long. To make matters worse, two of its brokers, Aon Corp. and Marsh & McLennan, also had offices in the two towers, so Kemper Casualty could not request paper copies from its business partners.
"We wanted to get the paper files stored electronically for a safety net," says Ronald H. Roecker, CIO, Kemper Casualty, which has now relocated to 30 Rockefeller Plaza. "But we realized that at the same time we could move to a more efficient process" by developing an e-workflow process where documents are routed electronically, mainly to underwriters and underwriters' assistants.
Luckily, Kemper did not have to search long or far for an imaging system since the personal lines division was already using imaging for photo inspections and in the claims area for medical billing. Kemper Casualty needed the workflow and imaging system for its excess casualty area. The excess casualty area specializes in products designed for large Fortune 200 customers, namely workers' compensation, general liability and auto policies.
"We leveraged the personal lines area's research" on different imaging and workflow technology, reports Roecker. Kemper Casualty decided to follow the personal lines group's successful lead and implement Armonk, NY-based IBM's Enterprise Information Portal (EIP) and Content Manager OnDemand. IBM's products provide Kemper with an enterprise content management infrastructure to store, access and manage digital informationincluding scanned images, faxes, electronic office documents (Microsoft Word and Excel) and XML and HTML files.
"There are many forms that are included in the policies. Some are required by the states and others are optional," Roecker says. "The easy part is the imaging. The trick is breaking down the documents into smaller pieces and creating sub-categories," or bookmarks, so the documents are easier to search. "You have to make sure the index is accurate because...undoing the index and redoing it is very hard to do."
Roecker says determining the subcategories took about 60 days, but there are continual modifications and improvements based on feedback from the users. "First you have to figure out the categories on paper, but then when you go into production, sometimes the categories won't work," he says.
The implementation of the technology, along with Kodak (Rochester, NY) and Fujitsu (Tokyo) scanners, took a little longer than a month, with the imaging beginning in late October. "After the system was in place and the categories were ready, we had to figure out the workflow," Roecker says. The workflow involves "workbaskets and the ability for users to assign it to someone to look at."
80 Percent Electronic Workflow
To date, the project has been very successful, and Roecker estimates that by the end of the year 80 percent of workflow will be completely electronic. "I'd have to say our goals have been exceeded," although he adds it is too early in the process to calculate actual savings from increased efficiency and reduction in paper. "We were able to change the way we do business," he says.
One of the only regrets Roecker has about the project is its origin. "I wish we weren't pushed into the project because of September 11th," he says. However, without the urgency associated with the project, "we wouldn't have learned as much as quickly and we probably wouldn't have done as good a job."
CASE STUDY CLOSEUP
Kemper Casualty Co., New York, div. of Kemper Ins. Cos., Long Grove, IL, $8.9 billion in assets.
LINES OF BUSINESS:
Excess casualty, workers' comp., general liability.
IBM (Armonk, NY) EIP, Content Manager; Kodak (Rochester, NY) & Fujitsu (Tokyo) scanners.
Scan documents for backup and subsequently change business processes.
Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology. View Full Bio