Document Management: How Purging Paper Boosts Bottom Line
Maya Assurance Company, based in Long Island City, NY, provides liability insurance for taxis, limousines, and related vehicles in New York City's five boroughs. The company was founded in 2005 and acquired its office space in 2006.It was quickly obvious to management that the most pressing problem was lack of office space for document storage. One reason was that regulatory requirements are such that documents must be retained at least six years. The company had originally reserved 20 percent of its space for document storage, but soon needed more. It would either need to move to a larger office, and thus slow its growth, or find another solution.
Besides a lack of office space, efficiency was another challenge. "I was hired to do the IT," says K.J. Singh, vice president. "I quickly realized the importance of creating an efficient system for handling document workflow."
Singh and one of the company's claims adjusters, who was a self-taught programmer, began looking for a technology solution. "He provided a lot of information from the workflow perspective," says Singh. "We looked at several different options together."
Ultimately, they ended up selecting a document management system from Cabinet NG. Cabinet NG's Shared Access Filing Environment (CNG-SAFE) is designed to consolidate all information into one organized system. While the solution is not specifically designed for the insurance vertical, its core platform is flexible and easily customizable.
It was very easy to roll out, according to Singh. "One reason is that I made sure we didn't reinvent or change the existing workflows and processes," he says. "We just wanted to make things more efficient with the technology." To achieve this, Singh and the claims adjuster documented all of the workflows and processes, and then implemented the technology one stage at a time.
Another reason for the ease of roll out was that the claims adjuster who helped select the technology was the first to use it. "He was able to begin processing all of his work electronically, and everyone else began to realize how much more efficient and less stressed he was," says Singh. "After that, they began to ask for it."
Training was easy once the staff overcame their resistance to giving up paper. "It was difficult at first for people to shift from relying on paper to getting started with their work directly on a screen," Singh says. "They kept wanting to rely on their physical 'in box' and 'out box.'"
Leaving original workflows and processes intact helped facilitate the transition, notes Singh.
According to Singh, the financial savings have been significant. As of September 2010, he estimates that the company has saved $1.8 million. "These are solid cost savings," he says. "There are no 'soft' costs in there. Every new file we open, the technology saves us $150 to $200 from the get-go, because we don't have to invest in storage space, filing supplies, and staff time." Among the savings:
- The cost of leasing the additional office space that would have been required for more filing cabinets and shelves.
- Staff positions
- Claims department expenses
- Office supplies (paper, toner, ink and related consumables)
Auditing has become easier than it was with the paper-based system. "We have 3,500 folders," says Singh. If auditors wanted to come in and check even just 10 percent of these, it would take them several weeks if they were still in paper format. "These days, they can check 40 percent of our files in just a few days," he says.
While Singh tallies hard-dollar cost savings, there are also some important "soft" benefits. "Some of our people have 10 to 30 years of experience in this profession, and they continue to tell me how much more efficient and less stressful their jobs are these days," he says. "Especially when they are dealing with customer service, clients, and insurers."