Like many insurance operations, the Alternative Markets division of Great American Insurance Co. faced a mountain of inefficient workers' compensation claims processing tasks. Simply put, the division needed to selectively apply modern information technology to become more competitive and improve customer service while working within the limitations of its legacy claims system.The claims system, for example, couldn't handle electronic data interchange (EDI) between Alternative Markets and any of its outside vendors. Therefore, routine payments to both medical service providers-doctors, hospitals and physical therapists-and bill review vendors were locked in a time warp of old-fashioned snail mail.

Because its legacy claims processing system was based on paper rather than electronic files, tens of thousands of claims-oriented transactions had to be manually entered by staff each month.

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