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"We were looking for a system that should really be intuitive. A non-trained co-worker should be able to sit at a desk and use it straightaway, because then we know that we have a user-friendly system that will really help to improve our services towards our stakeholders"
Bart Van Bouwel, Program Manager Digitalisation, P&V Group

Mailroom automation at P&V Group


Belgian insurer P&V Group commits to banning physical distribution of mail as early as 2018

The P&V Group (P&V, Vivium and Actel) offers a wide range of insurance solutions to private persons, self-employed individuals, companies and organizations. The many products and services are distributed through an extensive network of exclusive advisors and independent brokers who act as the privileged contacts for the customers. Inherent to the business of insurance companies is the compulsory, extensive and diverse correspondence (electronic or on paper) that needs to be handled on a daily basis. While scanning for archiving purposes at the end of the document lifecycle was already mainstream, rethinking the processes was deemed necessary. Full digitalization of the process was the logical way to go forward and the mailroom was the first hurdle to take.

Pre-process scanning: the start upstream

Each year >1.000.000 documents are processed by the Claims department. 60 to 70% of these documents are non-structured emails. These +/- 600.000 emails are on average 4 pages long. A lot of these e-mails were very often simply printed. They posed an additional challenge for digitalizing this process.

“Therefore we were looking for a system that should really be intuitive. A non-trained co-worker should be able to sit at a desk and use it straightaway. Because if that is possible, then we know that we have a user-friendly system that will really help to improve our services towards our stakeholders.” says Bart Van Bouwel, responsible for the project at P&V Group.

In this case Docbyte advised P&V Group to use the Captiva software solution to scan the incoming paper flow and insert the documents, together with incoming mails, into the process in order to be digitally handled. That’s 2,5 million pages less to print for P&V Group, with the added advantage that digitized print and electronic mail are now ‘one’.                                                                                                       

Change for the better

P&V Group is not claiming that they are the first in the industry to organize pre-process scanning but what is rather unique is that they took advantage of that solution to change their processes. Next to a specific structure and typology they introduced a matrix that makes it much easier to recognize, let’s say, the type of invoice, the invoice number, the sender, etc. This results in the indexation team being able to distill all useful data and information from the source documents without having to know the ins and outs of the business. Among other things, this makes the handling of dossiers:

  • Easier
  • Faster
  • More efficient
  • Less prone to errors

Ultimately the result is extremely satisfactory to both P&V Group and the customers, whose dossiers will be handled better and faster.

The extra perks of change

Besides the obvious advantages of going digital in order to improve the process flow, it also provides a wealth of usable data that was previously harder and more time-consuming to find, analyze and use. As an example: each day documents are put “on hold”, this is a sort of “holding area” for documents that require additional information, before they can be processed. This can happen for several reasons e.g.

  • Unclear what damage is referred to.
  • Is it actually one of P&V Group's contracts?
  • Is it a damage claim?
  • Is it an unreadable document?

 Obviously it is very time consuming to handle these documents in a satisfactory way. However, now that the Captiva solution analyses the extracted data, patterns can be discerned and it is possible that several occurrences of so called “bad” documents can be traced back to a single sender. By contacting the party involved and reaching a solution beneficial to all parties involved, future time-consuming problem solving can be avoided.

“And it even has more of an impact, not only for our daily work, but also for the way our stakeholders work. We have examples where we have struck a deal with e.g. leasing companies to eliminate paper invoices and to only send electronic invoices so that both parties can improve their process control and reduce the paper flow.” concludes Bart Van Bouwel.

Obviously P&V Group cannot control the form and format of the entire incoming document flow but thanks to detailed reporting, targeted actions can be organized to make improvements where deemed necessary and the same reporting allows for determining whether those actions were successful. For example, they will introduce a pilot asking their suppliers and contacts not to send paper-based invitations, newsletters and brochures anymore.

Do people want change?

Bart Van Bouwel: “This is normally not an easy matter, but surprisingly, thanks to proper communication, involvement and training, everything was implemented relatively smoothly. Let’s not forget that, together with Docbyte, the pilot started in the summer of 2015 and the first project (car) already went live mid-September 2015, with new branches being added every two weeks. A rollercoaster, for sure, and stressful, but apart from the usual bumps it went really smoothly. There is also a clear desire and enthusiasm to continue the process and to ‘change’ the entire company.”

The final goal

P&V Group is resolved to getting rid of physical documents entering the organization altogether by 2018. The organization however does not advocate a paperless office, but a “Less Paper”-organization.

More information on Mailroom Automation can be found here.