This article was initially published in August 2018 and has been updated in October 2020.
A UiPath case study featuring a shared services arm of a major European insurance group boasts reducing processing time by 80% with automation. Indeed, that is the power of robotic process automation in insurance — and your onramp to AI — if you want to improve claims processing, customer risk analysis and virtually any process that relies on unstructured data.
RPA is also lower cost and lower risk, and offers insurance companies a non-invasive way to automate core processes. For an industry that is burdened with repetitive and mundane tasks, automation provides a stable solution to increase organisational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and profitability.
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All the general benefits of robotic process automation have their specific implementation in insurance. The use of software robots has led to significant reduction of processing time, sometimes even by over 70%. After all, robots have no problem being ‘vigilant’ 24/7. This benefit occurred without enlarging the team of employees, which, in turn, led to reductions in the overall costs of document processing.
With the advent of robotic process automation in insurance, large volume claims types can be carried out with only a third or half the people required when the process was manual.
This in turn has additional advantages to offer. For one, because it brings great relief for those working on customer focused tasks. Secondly, less people translates into less human error daunting the automated processes. And thirdly, releasing people, therefore headcount, into areas of the business that need people skills such as sales, new growth revenue streams, etc.
If RPA has served insurance so well in the incipient phase, chances are that its future in the industry is quite bright. Let us now see where exactly this ‘brightness’ sparkles from.
The productive impact of robotic process automation in insurance manifests itself with multiple facets. We introduce and briefly discuss five crucial ones.
Benefits of implementing robotic process automation in insurance
1. Streamlined data processes
Insurance firms need to handle large amounts of data. If human employees are the only available option for data processing, this may take a lot of time and just as much money. Moreover, it leaves space for error which may increase even more the amount of time and money expenditures. But automation is an alternative that can do away with such disadvantages.
RPA makes data processes run more smoothly, let alone faster and error proof. The end result is a much more efficient data processing. This also has a corollary which should not be neglected, namely less bored, and thus more productive employees working on non-repetitive, skillful tasks.
Here’s a great example of how an employee at an insurance agency can save 5–10 minutes of work, per email (!) using an attended bot.
2. Integration of various systems and software
Innovation in the realm of insurance comes with a price, which may be quite costly. Yet no one can deny the necessity of IT improvement and technological development at all levels. Robotic process automation seems like the right solution to handle innovation properly.
According to CiGen founder Leigh Pullen, it is ‘a proven technology that brings tangible beneﬁts to the companies that deploy it and provides a means for companies to remain cost competitive in their market sphere’. RPA can easily handle the challenges of system updates and makes integration of the new much easier because it is consistent with the so-called “legacy systems”. As a result, it may lower the costs as well as the human expenditures involved in system and software updates.
3. Increased compliance
Compliance with privacy regulations, and, relatedly, handling audits — both internal and external — are top requirements for insurance firms. The need to stay updated with the ever-changing laws that prescribe how privacy should be protected, increases the importance of the problem.
Robotic process automation can help a whole lot in this area as well. Because the software generates detailed logs of all transactions, it becomes much easier to track the processes and ensure that compliance with the regulations is in place. External audits thus become much less of an issue for insurance companies that make effective use of automation.