Bromwall is a fast-growing, speciality insurance broker focused on providing coverage for various businesses, including many in the construction, engineering, commercial buildings, movie props, retail and warehousing fields. Headquartered in Old Hatfield, Hertfordshire in Eastern England, Bromwall has grown from a small company to a successful 15-employee organisation doing business well beyond the British Isles.
- Enterprise Content Management
- Over 2,000 documents a month
Bromwall‘s rapid growth presented itself with many challenges, the main one being the flood of paperwork occurring on a daily basis: from policies and claims, to client presentations and new business, it was all streaming in from a variety of sources. The need for an ECM (Enterprise Content Management) system became inevitable. The solution would manage the flood of paper coming in, for example, handle incoming phone calls. At the same time, it would eliminate the need to invest in larger office premises.
After evaluating several systems, Bromwall found the best candidate on the Internet. There were several companies providing specialty software for the insurance industry, but none of these could meet all of Bromwall’s requirements. Finally, DocuWare offered the solution Bromwall was looking for.
After an elaborate demonstration and solution proposal, the decision was not hard to come by. “All of the other solutions were not for us, as we were looking for one specific document management system that would suit an insurance brokerage and fulfill the rest of our needs. Really, we needed a software with which search dialogs could be customised to our business and the terms we use,” according to the Bromwall Director. “We did not want to invest in training our staff for too many hours; that‘s why we were looking for easy-to-use software with a simple screen format. In the long run, the ECM should increase efficiency and reduce our overhead.”
On a monthly basis, the company processes over 2,000 documents, mostly consisting of e-mail, presentations, photographs, insurance policies, applications, etc. Many documents, such as signed policies, are filed in TIFF format as they are brought in by the sales team. Before implementing DocuWare, files on all clients and insurers were kept in paper format taking up a large amount of space and accessing those files proved difficult at times. Because inquiries about insurance cases usually come in by phone, employees often had to return the call after first identifying the case and matching the pertaining records. Therefore, it was important to Bromwall that the solution chosen could easily provide all of the necessary information in just one simple step – that would also free up time for further improvements in customer service.
Solutions and benefits:
The system was set up on a Friday and was up and running the next Monday. All employees had been previously trained using DocuWare’s eLearning programme, which could either be completed via CD or online. In the previous paper based system, files were hard to track, especially when someone was sick.
Now claims can come in and anyone at Bromwall can retrieve the matching records for processing, simply by entering the name of a company, contact or number. The new electronic workflow mirrors the paper-based workflow, but also makes it easy for a supervisor to identify any possible shortfalls by observing the outstanding documents in the individual staff baskets. Moving documents between baskets and placing them in the filing cabinet has come down to a simple click of a button.
Regardless of the format in which they originate, documents now become a part of the centralised DocuWare repository where they are instantly available to all authorised users. By using DocuWare Professional Server, everything is accessible online. Ten licenses are shared by all 15 employees giving most of them direct access to the one central document pool, engaging the system for about 75 man-hours per day. In addition, some of Bromwall’s personnel use two computers and/or screens. This allows the programme to be open on one screen and the filed document to be opened on the other, providing a full-screen display for easy comparison.
After adding two large scanners (a Minolta C450 and Panasonic Workio DP 2330) and a few small desk scanners to be used locally, any documents received by fax or post are now scanned immediately.
Faxes are automatically converted by MAPI Interface into e-mail, then sent directly to Microsoft Outlook via ACTIVE IMPORT, which in turn sends them directly into a DocuWare basket. Here they are filed, distributed with the help of automatic indexing. Some e-mail’s are printed in a TIFF format, which stores them in an unalterable format.
Retrieving is simple by entering a company name or a claim number into a Search Dialogue. The senior staff even have the ability to record phone conversations.
The log is annotated with the caller’s details, then saved as a WAV file and archived in DocuWare.
Two other standard software systems have been seamlessly integrated with DocuWare: ‘Act! by Sage’ and ‘Paperport’ by Nuance. Since Bromwall is now only relying on electronic workflows, an automated backup to the Internet was arranged in order to secure all documents (whether in PDF, TIFF, JPG, etc.) including a backup. This security spells relief for the directors of Bromwall: no documents are lost, even small notes are scanned and filed. Since all their information is readily available, the number of discrepancy cases has been reduced. A significant portion of contracts and applications are uploaded from two sales executives through mobile access, speeding up their internal processes further.
The DocuWare workflow was set up to allow anyone Bromwall employees to open one document at a given time
– at that moment no one else may edit the document. This eliminates the risk of multiple users making concurrent changes to a document. This means that the system grants some users full rights to a document while others have read-only privileges. In addition, one single part of the process solution was designed to allow certain employees to work on some files concurrently in order to speed up the underwriting process.
This ensures that Bromwall meets internal standards as well as those required by the Financial Services Authority
(FSA). An insurance brokerage must archive documents for the long haul, especially since an Employer’s Liability Claim can still be dealt with by insurers some forty years later.
Another added advantage is how simple it is to update documents – very much a necessity in an insurance business, since customers often extend, renew or upgrade their policies. Mandated claims can always be met on time, ensuring Bromwall a well-deserved reputation for taking excellent care of its customers.
The DocuWare Solution has improved the day-to-day workflow to such an extent that now Bromwall’s employees never want to work without it. In fact, from time to time Bromwall’s customers are given a tour of how DocuWare has enhanced its work processes, giving them a glimpse into their future and how they might use it to provide great customer care. An important question was recently asked by one of them: ”When did the investment break even?” Docuware was quick to respond: “I saved on extra staff, so it could be said we broke even almost immediately.”