Few words hold as much sway in corporate America these days as “collaboration.” But at Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, a Warren, N.J., homeowners, commercial property and liability insurer with more than 4,500 independent agents and brokers scattered across 50 states—plus 8,500 agents worldwide—sharing documents and data is more than a productivity goal: It is essential to business.
“Collaboration is at the heart of what we do,” points out Linda Dodson, e-business manager at Chubb Group. “Our brand revolves around claims, and our reputation depends on handling them efficiently.”
The company is no stranger to ambitious IT initiatives. For the past quarter century, it has relied on computers and specialized software—including electronic data interchange (EDI)—to ratchet up its ability to speed claims processing and develop a closer relationship with agents.
However, beginning in 2004, Chubb Group began building a sophisticated internal claims management system that would create the foundation for sharing information with agents and help build a competitive advantage. “It has become the focal point of our business and IT strategy,” Dodson explains.
A proprietary collaborative platform offers the firm’s agents and brokers the ability to automatically view personal and commercial lines claim information at the click of a mouse. Those using the system are able to provide more responsive claims service to policyholders throughout the entire claims process—from loss to final resolution. Although the system is already fully functional, Chubb Group continues to add features and hopes to roll out more advanced capabilities by early 2009.
It’s an ambitious program that has helped the company take the lead in moving the insurance business online. Executives at Chubb Group believe that its agency claims tools provide a state-of-the-art environment for handling the complexities of the insurance industry on a day-to-day basis. Already, the company has captured industry attention and awards with its e-business initiative.
Let’s Work Together
As the Internet and online communications have become integral to the business world, the need to provide faster and better service has grabbed the spotlight. Unfortunately, many organizations talk a good game when it comes to providing superior customer service, but few actually deliver. Chubb Group aims to break away from the pack and distinguish itself as an IT innovator. “Our core goal is to deliver information to people when they need it,” says Cecelia Puglio, claim IT solutions manager for Chubb Group.
A variety of systems—including claims service solutions, e-applications (including e-forms and e-signatures) and e-business solutions—have emerged as the foundation for Chubb Group’s business and IT strategy.
“We have worked within the industry and internally to drive new technologies that support the way we need to communicate with our agents and disseminate information to them,” Dodson explains. “Our vision has been to put all the data and information they need in their hands—as they need it. We want business to take place quickly and efficiently.”
New agency tools handle an array of claims-related tasks. They provide automatic updates, including initial loss notifications, payments and key status updates. Agents and brokers receive near real-time (every two hours) information about important claim activities—including loss notifications, status information and changes in adjustor assignments.
The e-business platform also reduces phone calls, faxes and written exchanges between the company’s service center and its agents. By using the Agency eLoss module, agents can submit a loss form, along with PDF and TIFF images, and receive an immediate reference number, which automatically passes into an agency’s management system for future reference.
In addition, Chubb Group has simplified the claims inquiry process. Agents can use a Web interface—from a desktop or notebook computer—to view detailed information about a customer’s claim status, along with any notes an adjuster has entered into the system.
Agents can also monitor payment information about claims within 24 hours of the company’s issuing a check; view historical data dating from Jan. 1, 2004; and conduct custom searches.
“Only a few years ago, an agent or broker would call in to a customer service representative and have to wait minutes, hours or days for required information,” Dodson notes. “Today, they are able to get immediate service through their computer, and we are able to use the phones to resolve more strategic issues.”