As every insurance professional knows, an inefficient state filings process can have a major negative impact on day-to-day operations and the timely filing of submissions. Problems related to organizing, sorting and tracking state filings consume time and resources and can create frustration and friction between departments. During our decades of providing insurance support services, we hear regular mentions of these challenges. As a result, we have identified five useful strategies to improve your company’s state filing process starting immediately.
Strategy 1: Stop relying on local storage and MS Excel.
Files stored on network drives, personal computers or on individual hard drives that are organized by MS Excel spreadsheets can lead to significant problems due to accidental erasure, data overwrites and inaccessibility by others. Local storage failures can stop your state filings in its tracks and render your team powerless to obtain vital information. Under audit, digging through old drives for information can waste days or weeks of manpower. Centralize your files in a cloud-based system and ensure your information is always safe and available.
Strategy 2: Say goodbye to your internally developed insurance software systems.
While it seemed like a good idea to develop an in-house state filings management system a decade ago, you might now realize that sustaining the software and hardware required for a secure and reliable system eats up more resources than your company can handle. These outdated systems can slow down the very processes they were developed to enhance. Maintenance and upgrades on legacy systems can get expensive and pose scalability challenges. Often only a few people on staff understand the system’s complexities and must personally resolve hiccups, thus stealing their attention from other duties. Switching to reliable hosted state filings software can ensure that your technology keeps pace with your business needs.
Strategy 3: Enable secure access by more individuals.
An insurance company’s state filings are often handled by a single department comprised of a few employees who manage all filings and issue all status reports. This employee involvement can slow the process down due to the time it takes to request information and generate reports. By storing your state filings in a web-based central location, you can issue log-in credentials to various stakeholders who have the ability check the status of filings at any time. Accessible and transparent data empowers users to get the information they need without running the risk of missed communications or slow-downs caused by human oversight.
Strategy 4: Maintain updated forms libraries and filing status information.
Old or outdated state filings status information can result in time-wasting confusion and policy issuance of incorrect forms. Rather than risk this unnecessary runaround, invest in insurance software that displays status and other forms data in real time and can be searched easily using relevant text. This enables all interested parties to monitor filing progress and obtain accurate, time-critical data at any time.
Strategy 5: Take immediate action to enact change.
“Business as usual” operations avoid rocking the boat today at the expense of tomorrow. While it is easier to continue relying on a broken system and delay necessary improvements to your state filings protocol, you do so at your own risk. Chasing missing paperwork, sifting through email chains and calling emergency IT support to extract data after hardware failures takes time, attention and energy away from your staff–and only gets you as far as the next process failure. Generate a realistic timeline to improve your state filings process then stick to your benchmarks and watch your process improve.
Letting go of old systems and processes that no longer serve your business can be a daunting task. At Perr&Knight, we have seen these challenges affect scores of clients who watch their state filings systems become more and more fractured but lack a viable alternative. We enhanced our own state filings services by developing StateFilings.com, a cloud-based insurance software that streamlines filings process by directly addressing many of the pitfalls described above. In addition to using this software internally for our insurance support services, we offer StateFilings.com for license to insurance companies who seek a single, reliable solution to address their state filings challenges.
No matter which of the above strategies your company decides to employ, the first step to improvement is recognizing the limitations of your current processes and resolving to make a change. For questions about how to streamline your state filings process, call Perr&Knight at (310) 230-9339 or contact us today.