How does an insurance giant adapt its mail system during a global health ascare? Here’s some insights from SPS, who delivered a two-week mail digitisation programme, powering a move to remote working for Zurich in the UK.
“The whole of Zurich’s UK business was relying on us rapidly implementing a digitised mail solution that would allow for secure remote access. This was no small feat and SPS came to the table quickly, bringing the right people on board with the understanding and solutions needed to make a successful transformation happen amazingly quickly,” says Alex Pollock, Zurich UK, Head of Document Logistics.
In late February 2020 Zurich began to prepare for the possibility of a UK-wide lockdown of its UK offices. Key to these preparations was the ability of Zurich’s 4,500 staff to continue to service customers remotely and still have access to all the physical mail and documents received into Zurich’s offices daily and held in its archives.
Everyday Zurich’s UK offices receive high volumes of mail containing hundreds of different document types from customers, brokers and intermediaries relating to claims, underwriting, its legal team, customer services, accounting, and other back office support functions. Most of this mail was being received at Zurich’s offices for delivery as a hard copy to individual desktops on-site or scanned and forwarded to the appropriate location and team. Similarly, hard copy archiving was carried out by local teams.
Zurich knew that for the business to continue operating efficiently through a lockdown and incorporating homeworking, it would need to rapidly deploy a mail digitisation programme across its UK operations. The challenge was for Zurich to implement a solution that would allow safe, secure and timely remote access to a large range of incoming documents for a dispersed workforce, in a matter of days rather than months.
Prior to lockdown the mail digitisation programme had been focused on Zurich’s core processes but it had yet to be rolled out across the business. As a result, only 50% of the incoming mail to Zurich’s UK offices, including claims and underwriting, was subject to digitisation.
The remaining 50% was still subject to manual handling and desk delivery. Whilst a two-year implementation plan was underway to achieve full mail digitisation across the UK, in response to lockdown Zurich took a bold and ambitious step. They set about implementing the two-year digitisation programme in just two weeks.
SPS had already worked with Zurich to implement a successful solution to centralise and automate the scanning and processing of a range of inbound mail. Zurich and SPS now worked together to plan and execute the rapid expansion of these services and SPS‘ Digital Mail solution across all incoming UK mail.
All incoming mail is now received directly into SPS’ ISO-certified Digital Transformation Centre (DTC) near Swindon where it is sorted, digitised, classified and indexed before being delivered to the business users’ desktop.
SPS‘ Digital Mail solution combines several document management capabilities delivered through a simple web application. Users can receive, view, process, share, and archive digital mail documents, replacing the physical delivery process without introducing the complexities of integration and process change that often accompany traditional workflow solutions. This makes the solution quicker and simpler to implement, avoiding disruption to business processes.
Zurich employees can access their assigned mail via a secure application and see all the new items of work for their area, team or department. Users can see the status of work items and ensure that all service levels are met, and customer queries are handled promptly and efficiently. Powerful management information tools allow supervisors and managers to see the overall status, enabling them to react to changing workloads and to ensure all items are efficiently processed, reallocating work as needed. SPS has automated the process, accelerating the speed at which incoming mail reaches the teams, making it easy to manage, and allowing users to spend more time focusing on responding to customers, whether they are in the office or at home.
Equipping staff for transition
On the 23rd March 2020, the British Government announced a national lockdown, with the Scottish government announcing similar measures. This resulted in almost all of Zurich’s UK staff rapidly moving to remote or homeworking across the UK. Just over one-week later Zurich went live with a UK-wide mail digitisation solution managed and delivered by SPS. A successful culmination of a rapid two-week implementation project.
The project is ongoing, with Zurich’s Document Logistics team working with SPS to automate further the extraction of data for indexing and the automation of onward tasks. The service also supports a digital scan-on-demand service for legacy archived paper files and microfiche which replaces over 300 daily physical deliveries. Every document is now available digitally to Zurich’s employees with many being searchable, further helping Zurich get to the right information to make decisions and support its customers.
Delivering valuable benefits
· SPS‘ Digital Mail and archiving solution has underpinned Zurich’s operational resilience and business continuity in the face of crisis
· Remote, secure and instant access to documents through Zurich’s network
· Platform to extend automation and process efficiency
· Reduction in the time to receive customer documents, enabling faster processing of physical mail items combined with reduced administrative burden
· Simple user experience with automated controls to ensure compliance and security
· Full audit trail of activity and automatic management information on status and compliance
· Reduced need for physical storage and automated retention schedules support GDPR
· Millions of documents securely delivered, on time, every day
· Reduced carbon footprint