In 2007, Aspen Insurance Holdings deployed a new claims workflow solution based on software from Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner K2. The customised solution incorporates Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007 and Microsoft SQL Server® 2005 data management software. Teams at Aspen can now provide faster service to customers and have the tools to help ensure compliance with stringent data accuracy requirements and legal controls.
Aspen Insurance Holdings is a leading specialist insurance and reinsurance company, operating through offices in Bermuda, France, Ireland, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States (U.S.). Established in 2002, Aspen employs more than 550 people. While a large part of the company’s revenue comes from reinsurance—which involves underwriting the insurance of other companies—its strategy for future growth includes the strengthening of different lines of its insurance business, such as marine, energy, and transport. In 2007, its net income was U.S.$489 million, with U.S.$1.8 billion of gross written premium.
The company is keenly aware of the correlation between efficient systems and employee productivity. In 2005—when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in the U.S.—Aspen managed a large number of claims. Lena Papadouri, Programme Delivery Manager at Aspen, says: “In busy times, it’s important that employees can manage events quickly and seamlessly, and that team leaders have instant access to critical data such as how many active claims are in motion, which division is dealing with what, and the staffing resources we have.”
This was a key driver in the company’s decision to look for a new claims workflow solution. “We wanted a more efficient way of managing our claims, especially as we have frequent busy periods where we have to process a high volume of claims in a short time.”
The business also faces the significant challenge of keeping a tight rein on legal compliance requirements, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. “It is crucial that our internal compliance controls are structured, effective, and transparent. We use software to support these processes, and to help manage risk,” says Papadouri.
In 2007, Aspen deployed a claims solution based on workflow software from K2, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. It uses the Microsoft Visual Studio® 2005 development system and the Microsoft .NET Framework version 3.0 to create an end-to-end reinsurance claims workflow solution. Aspen customised the K2 solution to incorporate both its specific business processes and a rich Aspen-branded user interface. The system is accessed through the company’s Office SharePoint Server 2007 enterprise site, and SQL Server 2005 handles all workflow and document data.
Employees log on to the application and are presented with a screen divided into different sections using Web Parts. These include:
Workflow Details. This is an orientation section that runs across the top of a screen and provides employees with details of their location within the claims business process.
Claim Details. This section provides data such as policy information, claim reference, and broker name—all presented via integration with back-office systems.
Document List. This section runs along the middle of the screen and displays a list of documents—stored in Office SharePoint Server 2007—linked to the claim. Documents are automatically indexed when uploaded and can then be “checked in” and “checked out” by the user.
Task Actions and Next Stages. This section runs along the bottom of the screen and specifies the actions employees need to take before they progress the claim to the next stage. Ben Snape, IT Project Manager at Aspen, explains: “You can’t move past this point unless you have completed the mandatory steps. For example, an employee may need to send an e-mail message to a broker, gain an electronic signature, or conduct a peer review of the claim.”
All action features are tightly integrated with Microsoft Office Outlook® so when, for example, employees click on an action button such as “e-mail broker,” the system will connect to the appropriate person in the Outlook Office contact list.
As the claim moves through the workflow, each person can see that the previous part of the workflow is completed and who completed it.
Jon Steer, Group Head of Claims at Aspen, says: “The K2 claims workflow solution, developed using Office SharePoint Server 2007, helps ensure that our processes are all compliant and traceable—essential for directives such as Sarbanes-Oxley.” The system also helps teams at Aspen plan and allocate human resources effectively, and ensure that claims are processed swiftly and accurately.
- The system has eliminated the need for employees to physically gather signatures in most situations—including peer reviews and claims authorisation—so employees can complete transactions faster.
- Only people with appropriate authority can now approve claims. “If a claim is worth U.S.$1 million, the workflow is programmed so that it can only be sent to people who have the authority to sign-off on that amount,” says Snape.
- Employees can easily manage and monitor workloads. In the event that one location experiences an influx of claims, work can be easily allocated to different divisions, rather than resorting to outsourcing or employing people on a temporary basis.
- The IT department easily supports new compliance and legislative requirements—it only takes the development team a few hours to add new workflow rules.
- The system is highly scalable—Snape’s team is using reusable “drag and drop” Web Parts in the claims application to help build a new application for the underwriting business.
- Business overheads are reduced thanks to the elimination of paper processing and a reduction in storage and archiving spaces.
- Aspen claims processing is fully transparent—employees always follow the correct processes as governed by workflow, while all events and activities are electronically documented and audited.
- Employees are more productive now that they work almost 100 per cent electronically.
- Business processes are embedded into the company’s technical framework. Snape says: “Our analysts work side-by-side with the development team, with a user-friendly development interface that integrates with Visual Studio. They provide feedback on development as it occurs.”
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