Streamlined reporting saves time, money

Equitable Life of Canada, an 80-year-old independent, mutual life insurance company headquartered in Waterloo, Ont., is saving printing costs while improving service to policy holders and independent producers.

In May 2003, the company began using a document output management solution from Whitehill Technologies, of Moncton, N.B., to expedite producing system-generated policyholder documents and distributing them to policyholders, independent producers and internal customer service representatives.

“We needed a solution that would dramatically improve the distribution of policy documents,” reports Tom Gravenish, CIO at Equitable Life of Canada. He explains that by storing electronic copies of customers’ contracts, statements and letters, they can provide exact copies of the documents to the customer service team’s computers.

Equitable Life reports it is managing its reporting process more efficiently and without errors. It created complex templates for its policy documents, then applied Whitehill Transport to transform ASCII text files into presentable reports and documents for policy holders.

Now, for example, when an agent sells a new policy, a source file is received from Equitable Life’s core business application, providing details associated with a specific policy. The software creates a seamless system where the customer and agent both receive copies of the policy quickly and without errors, while a third copy is automatically saved for company archives.

The policy document creation was coordinated to work as part of a larger technology project at Equitable Life which incorporated a new policy administration application into its infrastructure.

The company needed specific functionality within the reporting template, such as producing odd and even page headers, and printing either on one side (simplex), or both sides (duplex) of a page. Equitable Life can use these options to produce both personalized and generic aspects of all insurance policies. Although not part of the software at the time, Whitehill customized the solution to incorporate the page header functionality.

Now the insurance company quickly gets the policy coverage document in the hands of the customer and delivers an electronic copy of the policy document to the independent producer even faster. Customer service representatives can easily access a copy of the policy document as needed to deal with customer requests. Equitable can define the level of service to each individual agent or policyholder, giving the options of receiving documents electronically only, electronically and on paper, or just on paper. Finally, everyone looks at the exact same document, rather than piecing information from the screen to try to figure out what the end user is really looking at.

By January 2004, the company plans to use the Whitehill technology to print its own annual report after processing information that equates to a seven foot stack of paper.