11 Important Areas Where Robotic Process Automation Improves Insurance Operations

BY: Chad Spivack
JANUARY 13, 2022

From underwriting to claims processing to data analysis, RPA is on the rise among tech-savvy insurance companies — and it’s giving them an edge.

Key Takeaways:

  • RPA is revolutionizing the way insurance companies operate by providing greater efficiency, automating manual tasks, and enhancing customer service.
  • RPA can help every area of insurance company operations, including underwriting, claims processing, sales, and regulatory compliance.
  • RPA bots gather data from disparate sources and ensure its quality to drive the engine of your business.
  • RPA spurs innovation, and its scalability makes insurance companies more agile and adaptable.

Insurance industry leaders are increasingly looking to robotic process automation (RPA) as a driver for digital transformation. In fact, RPA, which uses software bots to perform everyday keystroke-level tasks, has been deployed by 60% of insurance companies.

RPA is changing the way these companies do business by increasing efficiency, accelerating processes, and improving the customer experience, all of which improve their competitive advantage. It does this through a wide variety of use cases from underwriting to onboarding to customer service to claims processing.

It also provides a great ROI. A McKinsey report found a 200% increase in ROI in the first year after deploying RPA. The overall goal is to sell more, better manage risk, and lower operating costs. This is how insurance RPA can help you reach those goals.

Why RPA is so valuable in the insurance industry

RPA streamlines daily routine business processes that drain the time, energy, and morale of your workers. By deploying RPA software robots across multiple systems, efficiency is not only increased, but so is accuracy, and staff can be assigned more strategic tasks. Together with artificial intelligence, robotic process automation can boost the accuracy of underwriting, create the best in customer experiences, and power increased efficiency.

Insurance companies are notorious for relying on a mix of legacy applications and systems that don’t work together. RPA links these disparate systems with minimal coding, so insurers can speed operations, cut labor costs, and innovate.

Where RPA can work its magic for insurance companies

RPA doesn’t break the systems you already have in place. It works by automating actions at the user interface or API level, and it doesn’t require changes to applications or processes. IT teams can test and adapt RPA at scale with few resources and without risking an insurer’s existing processes and platforms.

While RPA offers the ability to reduce menial workloads, it also spurs imagination, creativity, and innovation by empowering employees to focus on activities that have the highest value for the company – those tasks that can’t be replicated by machines. RPA makes room for innovation, which brings an impact that reaches far beyond quicker and more effective business processes.

It’s an exciting prospect. Here’s are 11 ways RPA can be applied by insurance companies:

1. Underwriting

Because underwriting requires collecting vast amounts of information from disparate sources both internal and external, it’s a prime area to implement RPA. It’s normally a tedious process that takes three to four weeks, and that time can be dramatically reduced with automation.

RPA bots gather and process data automatically much faster than a human being. They collect unstructured data, including handwritten notes, and process them automatically from inside and outside sources. Then they can present everything on a central dashboard that enables much faster and more accurate decision-making.

Insurance RPA also streamlines the process of risk analysis and evaluation for your underwriters. It can populate multiple fields in the internal systems with appropriate data and automatically create a report and offer recommendations while assessing the loss runs.

Faster underwriting is a customer pleaser as well. Because the normal underwriting process is so long, in the life insurance sector, 18.7 million people never complete the process. With insurance RPA, you have the speed you need.

2. Claims Registration and Processing

With RPA you can integrate all of your claims processing information from different sources to overcome legacy application data silos. Other manual claims processes can also be automated, including verification, identification, and detection of fraud.

This means your employees won’t spend hours looking for information they need across disparate systems, and RPA bots streamline the entire process from first notice of loss through settlement. Automating high-volume claims filing processes means your claims inspectors can resolve key issues and exceptions while standard claims are handled within minutes.

Implementing RPA for the claims processing journey launches bots that use intelligent document processing to pull data from claim loss forms, damage estimates, and physician statements, and then automatically update claims files. RPA expedites coverage verification, triage and assignment of claims, settlement notifications, and payment.

The smart analytics built into the RPA platform includes real-time dashboards that offer insights into claims volume, frequency, severity, type, status, closure time, and any other metrics that you define.

RPA can move large amounts of claims data with one mouse click, speeding up the process, which results in a better customer experience.

3. Regulatory

RPA is a great risk mitigator, and not just for underwriting — it can also help you avoid the serious consequences of a regulatory breach. The highly regulated insurance industry is infamous for its strict and ever-evolving guidelines for both audit trails and documentation.

Manual processes are error-prone, which adds another element of risk. RPA automates these procedures and ensures that data is free of errors by implementing pre-defined instructions while maintaining a complete log of changes for an audit trail. You can also use RPA to automate compliance report generation, validate customer data, perform client research, and enhance data security as well as delivery of account closure notifications.

4. Sales and Distribution

Insurance sales are highly regulated, which can make them quite the challenge. RPA can create an automated workflow for a seamless, completely compliant, efficient sales process that also offers a superior customer experience.

Automated workflows let sales agents easily put together product presentations that are optimized for mobile devices, can be co-reviewed digitally, feature the products the customer is interested in, digitally share terms and conditions for instant approval, gather eSignatures, and implement automated billing.

Because RPA is low-code, admins can easily update business rules and automated processes as regulatory, product, or market conditions change, with no need for IT involvement. Incorporating automated workflows into sales brings a number of benefits that include:

  • Simplified processes: A single platform orchestrates the end-to-end sales process with easy and intuitive conditional rules that are set to ensure your business logic is followed between and within each step as well as in form fields.
  • Digital tools that work together: Business rules trigger the sending of requests for customer signatures, ID for verification, and consent to terms and conditions.
  • Greater visibility: RPA provides dashboards to give agents and executives complete visibility into how sales are performing and what’s driving or preventing them.
5. Manual Processes, including Finance and Accounting

RPA bots can easily press buttons, perform clicks and keystrokes, copy and paste, autofill templates, and execute more interface tasks with complete accuracy. Manual entry leads to inconsistencies and errors, and it is also time-consuming and expensive.

Replacing manual processes with RPA increases the reliability of data, which is important everywhere, especially in compliance but also for finance and accounts. Your RPA bots can take on most of the work for daily bank reconciliations as well as minimize the policy cost footprint and transactional expenses.

6. Data Quality and Analytics

Insurance companies that use their data correctly consistently outperform their competitors. If you do not have a way to measure performance, you cannot improve processes. Every process and workflow involving RPA can be tracked and recorded at every step. This provides an audit trail that enables precise, business-driven process improvements that impact now only how you do business but the overall customer experience.

Good-quality data is the fuel that drives the engine of your organization, empowering sales, generating growth, and enabling a stellar customer experience. RPA reduces the incidence of bad data by identifying and intercepting it before it even enters your systems.

By setting rules, RPA performs validation of input data, checking formats, field lengths, data types, and more. Then it transforms that data into the correct format for your business use, as well as:

  • Verifying the absence or presence of data
  • Verifying low-level attributes like length, character set, and data checksums
  • Performing complex pattern matching and transformation

This gives you highly accurate data that informs better decision-making throughout the organization.

7. Policy Servicing and Administration

Account servicing and administration involves form registration, policy cancellation, and identifying policy premium discrepancies as well as creating claim payments, settlements, risk capture, credit control, and more. Upkeep on legacy policy administration software is both time-consuming and expensive, as well as difficult to scale as you grow your customer base.

RPA means staff can complete various operations without extensive toggling between different applications and processes – navigation is optimized. Software bots automate updates to personal and account details, reject or cancel policies if a payment isn’t processed by a given deadline, identify policy premium discrepancies, and resolve duplicate partner data.

When it comes to policy cancellations, this time-consuming process can be done in one-third of the time with RPA, which can interact with email, your legacy policy administration system, your CRM, spreadsheet software, and even PDFs at the same time.

8. Customer Service

We’ve talked about how improving and accelerating processes helps create happy customers. Insurance RPA can also directly affect customer service by making it faster, easier, more consistent, and error-free 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

RPA offers a number of advantages. Speed of issue resolution is an important part of the customer experience, and for insurance companies, this must be achieved with a reduction in the cost of contact center operations in order to maintain a competitive advantage.

Because RPA can mimic humans, chatbots can be deployed to process transactions, manipulate data, and trigger responses, all while communicating with a connected internal system that provides the information they need.

The same applies to human customer service agents. RPA enables insurance contact centers to gather customer information from every channel for seamless and unified customer service that can be delivered on any device. Complete, comprehensive customer information, as well as the information needed to solve problems, is at your CSRs’ fingertips.

In addition, RPA provides the means to offer faster service by streamlining back-office functions. This reduces time-consuming errors, provides a more personalized experience, and improves first-call resolution.

Automation also means contact center agents spend their time on high-value customer interactions instead of repetitive tasks. Agents spend 30% to 40% of their time documenting transactions – RPA eliminates 80% of this tedious work.

9. Registration form handling

Because RPA integrates with optical character recognition, insurers can automatically interpret content from registration forms and add the information into the appropriate workflow, which increases accuracy, data quality, and eliminates backlogs. This saves manual input time and its associated errors.

10. Innovation

Automation via RPA means you have both the time and resources for innovation. RPA supports customer portals, policy management and other apps, and on-demand quotes.

One of the things that makes RPA so appealing is its efficiency and proficiency at producing positive business outcomes. RPA doesn’t replace humans with bots; it automates high-volume, repetitive tasks — like copying, pasting, gathering, and verifying data — which means insurance companies can leverage the full brain power and focus of their staff. By enabling higher-level job responsibilities, RPA helps stimulate innovation through augmenting human ability, delivery of ROI, and scalability.

11. Scalability

It is all about adaptability and agility. It’s easy to scale with RPA – you can add or subtract bots and modify their responsibilities when needed. This is especially valuable to keep pace with today’s modern insurance customer and their need for speed from an industry that is, by nature, slow-moving. RPA can automate any process or task that is rule-based, repeatable, and definable.

Today’s insurance market is crowded, which means insurers must embrace technological change. RPA development is revolutionizing the insurance industry through automation by streamlining processes, connecting legacy systems, boosting operational efficiency, and providing the means to give customers the fast, personalized service they demand.

We’re the RPA experts

At RD Global, we empower insurance companies with high-impact technology solutions rooted in a 5-star customer experience. Our unrivaled team of in-house technical experts can solve your most complex digital challenges with state-of-the-art custom insurtech software to power your digital transformation.

Only the digitally strong will survive and prosper in the future insurance market. Schedule a discovery call to learn how RG Global can partner with you for success now and in the future.

Written by Chad Spivack

"Process Architect @ RD Global. IT professional with expertise leading an Intelligent Automation practice. Chad has managed multiple end-to-end, automation projects and currently holds 5 separate RPA certifications."

JANUARY 13, 2022
RD Global Empowers Insurance Companies to optimize total digital experience, unify data, and harmonize processes by developing high impact technology solutions infused with a 5-star customer experience.