Accounting Expertise X RPA

One of the top-10-ranked insurance companies in the U.S. and EXL client serves a unique market niche. Instead of selling to the masses, it provides credit unions with investment and insurance products to sell to their members. The credit unions gain an expanded product portfolio; members have access to the life and annuity products they need, without looking any further than their trusted financial institution.  

It didn’t take long for the company to grow into a market leader, with multiple products, and customers in all 50 states. But, while sales were booming, the organization’s accounting department was stagnating; having a difficult time keeping up with the 440 different statutory filings they handled every year, on top of their regular duties. 

Not only was the filing process highly manual and time consuming, but every state had different requirements, timelines and procedures.  So, nothing was standardized or streamlined, with no end-to-end workflow.

When a state filing was due, the staff members ran queries on SAP, SAS or Microsoft Access to get the required information, logged onto the individual state web sites, and physically copied data from the various reports in multiple formats-ranging from PDFs to Excel spreadsheets to web-based forms-into  the templates. Then, after manually verifying that the correct data was selected and copied, they uploaded, emailed or mailed the report-whichever the state required. The only way to get things done on time was to pull more people away from their business-facing work, which caused a backlog in other areas. And, even then, there was no easy way to make sure everything was being submitted on time. 

Something had to change. 

Company leaders wanted a solution that would automate the manual processes and increase  reporting accuracy, as well as provide the visibility and tracking to enable staff to spend their time overseeing the process, not handling the mundane work themselves.    

After looking at a variety of proposed solutions in a proof-of-concept scenario, they chose EXL to develop and execute the framework for transformation. 
  
Context

EXL has strong domain expertise in the insurance sector, and experience applying robotics and automation to previously manual functions, with excellent outcomes.  Our proven methodologies and framework enable strong collaboration with the client’s business stakeholders. As a result, we deliver the right solution the first time, so our clients can start realizing the resulting efficiencies and cost savings faster. 

Our own internal technology architecture Center of Excellence is fully focused on refining best practices for the development and implementation of digital technologies, like RPA, artificial intelligence and other automation tools.  This Center of Excellence standardizes and optimizes EXL’s delivery and support mechanism, and continually improves this framework. So, clients get the optimal outcomes with minimal disruption to their day-to-day business.  

Orchestration

Although the client had a business process management system (BPM) in place, it wasn’t fully utilizing it to manage workflow. So, the first thing the EXL team did was to suggest integration points with the workflow within the BPM to enable seamless automation for reporting. 

When a report is due,  the BPM triggers the reporting bots to pull data from the different sources, populate the report, and either upload the completed report to the appropriate state web site or send it to a member of the accounting staff for final verification. 

If an issue arises, or information is missing, the bot notifies the designated person on both the production team and within the business unit. So, even though the process is now automated, it’s the cohesion between RPA and humans that make the solution work. Although  robots handle the previously manual work, people have full  visibility into the process, every step of the way.  

Obviously, creating a mechanism for each of the 440 individual reports takes time. To ensure this client saw productivity gains more quickly, the EXL team orchestrated the Agile methodology for faster results-automating, testing and going live with 10-to-12 reports at a time over the course of a year, until all 440 reports were completed.  

To ensure that other areas of the company could benefit from automation, EXL also created a Center of Excellence for this client, which could identify other viable candidates for RPA throughout the organization, using its proprietary BluePrintTM tool. That way, the solution doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but is part of a grander, enterprise-wide plan. 

Outcomes

The implementation of this RPA-driven solution has brought significant benefits to the client. Today, the company’s statutory filing process is fully automated. So, the accounting staff no longer has to  physically cut and paste information from hundreds of spreadsheets, PDFs, web pages and other sources of information. The robots handle the work, the staff is responsible for oversight only-and have time to focus on their other, higher-level duties. 

Reports are now processed at an average handle time of 7 minutes-over 40% faster than when done manually-with higher accuracy rates, and greater visibility into the process. If demand increases or the client wants to add more reports, EXL has already put generic modules in place, which enables the business to easily scale, with very little development needed. 

This increase in efficiency also delivered a significant decrease in cost. Because every bot reduces the need for 2 FTEs, when factoring in salaries, hiring and training costs, this initiative will save the company $1 million over a five-year period.  

Just as important, the company can build upon this initiative  by applying automation and RPA to viable processes organization-wide, to further increase efficiencies and reduce costs in the years to come.  

To find out more about how EXL applies RPA and automation  to help insurance companies improve efficiency, reduce costs, and eliminate manual processes while still keeping people in control, contact us .


Summary

Client Challenge

  • Cumbersome, manual statutory filing process
  • No automation or end-to-end workflow
  • No efficient way to handle 440 unique filings each year
  • No effective tracking mechanism
  • No way to scale without adding people to the process 

 Context

  • Deep domain expertise in the insurance industry and with this client. 
  • Extensive experience in applying robotics and automation to streamline manual functions.
  • Proven delivery methodologies ensure the right solution is deployed more quickly.
  • Internal technology architecture Center of Excellence standardizes and optimizes delivery and   support mechanism.

Orchestration

  • Integrated RPA into the automated workflow.
  • Set up notifications that triggered staff when exceptions or issues occurred.
  • Created a reporting structure that offered complete visibility into the process.
  • Implemented the solution in sprints over the course of a year, until all 440 reports were automated. 

Outcomes

  • Fully automated statutory filing process. 
  • Improved efficiency by 40%.
  • Reduced costs by $1M in over five-year period.
  • Ability to scale with growth, without adding headcount.
  • Improved accuracy. 

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