Plan to Digitize Your Documents? Here Are 9 Steps to Know
As an insurance business, your team works with many different types of documents every day — insurance applications, claim reports, invoices. Each time someone physically touches a piece of paper, it adds time to their day as well as increases the chance of a mistake due to human error or lost documents. Because documents often contain personal and financial information, paper documents can easily be used for fraud or identity theft. Regardless of your protocols, you cannot 100 percent control the access to every piece of paper, which can cause risk and liability issues for your business.
Many insurance businesses are now using document scanning technology to increase efficiency and reduce mistakes. Additionally, scanning documents increases the security of client and employee information because you can control access, both on a network and document level.
Here are 9 steps to moving your insurance business from paper documents to using document scanning technology:
- Inventory all current documents, both paper and electronic. Determine all the different types of documents you currently use, as well as their current location. Think about all the documents that are completed by clients as well as employees. By creating a comprehensive list, you can integrate existing documents into the plan and know exactly what type of documents your insurance office regularly creates and uses.
- Determine what documents will be scanned. While it can be tempting to move to a completely electronic system, a phased approach often works best. One way to start is by addressing the document types that introduce the most errors. Then prioritize the other types of documents to add into the process.
- Create a process for scanning the documents. Decide when in the process documents will be scanned, as well as who will scan the documents. Write out the exact workflow for the process and look for inefficiencies you can eliminate before the process begins. By creating a streamlined process that works with your office’s current workflow as much as possible, your business can see the most efficiency gains with the least amount of learning curve.
- Decide on a document storage strategy. Instead of physical file cabinets, your scanned documents will live on the network or in the cloud. Determine the most effective storage location and organization based on your office’s workflow. You want the storage structure to naturally fit into your workflow to see the highest level of productivity gains.
- Develop an access policy for documents. Look at the different document types and determine who needs access to each one. Work with the IT department to create an access policy at the document level. By controlling access to each document, you increase the security of the information and decrease liability in case of theft or a breach.
- Write a document management plan. It’s tempting to skip the step of creating a formal plan. However, both the process of creating the plan and the act of having a written policy increase your chances of seeing the full benefits of using document scanning technology.
To get buy-in from employees, involve people who will be most affected by the new system to document the new process and have other team members review the process. Be sure to include people from all roles in the business on the team, including underwriting and claims.
- Roll out and implement the plan. Using a phased approach, determine the date for starting phase 1 of the new process. Provide training to all staff members involved, and take time to address any concerns about the process. Explain how document scanning technology and the new process can help them do their jobs more efficiently and give them more time to assist clients. Because the technology reduces errors, they will spend less time fixing problems and handling client frustrations caused by those mistakes.
- Review the document management process and make changes. After phase 1 has been in motion for several weeks, have a team debrief to talk about what is working and what needs to be improved. Update the document management policy and incorporate the changes to improve the process for your office.
- Add additional document types to your document management system. Now that your team has the general process under their belts, add additional document types and begin expanding the use of the technology.
By working together and creating a process that works for your workflow, your team can see dramatic improvements in productivity and customer service.
Implementing a successful document management system can help you reduce errors and increase efficiency. Learn how file management software like Document Capture Pro can help.