In 1968, following destructive riots in New York, it was revealed that many inner-city residents lacked adequate insurance. That led to the formation of the New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association (NYPIUA), which offers basic property insurance to people who can’t get coverage in the voluntary market. Since its formation, it’s been tested by terrorism and hurricanes – especially 2012’s Hurricane Sandy – but that doesn’t mean its business challenges differ that much from traditional insurers.

Like most carriers, NYPIUA has been working hard to deliver on customers’ rising service-level expectations and respond to the flood of digital communications. But as the largest insurer of last resort in the United States, it still receives an extraordinary amount of paper-based documentation, and its workflows and business processes long have been oriented around the mailroom. In short, NYPIUA needed a cost-effective way to improve service levels, digitize and modernize internal processes and ensure that customer information and case files were secure and easy to access – especially in case of disaster.

“Document management is the first step in our administrative overhaul,” says Dane Austin, NYPIUA’s president. “We set up a hierarchy of needs, and document management allowed us to function immediately in a more efficient manner,” he says, adding that they will be deciding on a core systems replacement in the very near future.

Before and After Enterprise Content Management

“Previously, NYPIUA was using legacy mainframe systems that required users to memorize keystrokes, and it was all keyboard driven,” says Christy Lewis, a project manager and technical architect for Technology Services Group, the integration services provider that helped manage the project. “They had inboxes around the office and were literally walking paper around. So a lot of this was finding ways to digitally replicate the workflow.”

NYPIUA selected the Alfresco One enterprise content management solution and TSG’s High Performance Interface for ECM -- a web-based user interface -- to create NYPIUA’s contemporary case file management system. Using HPI, a browser-based product, digital documents and other content now is uploaded into Alfresco One, and claim folders are generated automatically. And, through integration with TSG’s OpenMigrate software, case-related emails are sent to specific addresses and automatically uploaded.

TSG also migrated content from NYPIUA’s legacy image-based document management system and enabled NYPIUA’s website to receive claims and other requests from third parties and help the insurer to move away from paper-based legacy processes and increase user and customer satisfaction by managing policies and claims more effectively.

“It’s state of the future; it’s affordable and relatively easy to install,” Austin says. “Rank and file people were telling me this was a great system; this is easy to use, and it works.”

As part of the project, NYPIUA purchased a large-volume, multi-purpose digital scanner to process the inbound paper-based content, Lewis says. The company then put in place a process that migrates that content from the scanner into Alfresco and initiates a workflow for indexers. NYPIUA employees then review and classify documents and file them in in the appropriate folders, a process that they are automating.

Alfresco One also offers NYPIUA the ability to better organize content and control access through configurable security profiles determine who can read and modify which documents while tracking document changes. Another benefit of the modern web-based graphical interface is the ability to pop up and view documents side-by-side, and to create and review document notes, which users find particularly helpful.

“The old system had a lot of limitations for notes, but now users are able to use that effectively,” Lewis says. “We also have a way to show related files. So if I am looking at a claim, I can see the policy and navigate to it, and I can see the customer to which that claim belongs. It’s much easier to navigate than to search for it.”

Lewis says the implementation took fewer than six months. Four NYPIUA employees worked on the project part time along with three TSG consultants. The next steps, she says, include more custom workflows and the implementation of Ephesoft scanning and capture software, which will identify certain document types, pull metadata from them and prepare them for the Alfresco ECM system.

With TSG’s implementation of Alfresco One, NYPIUA can increase customer satisfaction while continuing to leverage its legacy infrastructure, explains David Giordano, TSG’s president.

“You don’t need to wait and do it all at once,” Giordano says. “For all of the old content, we did a full migration from their mainframe system to Alfresco One. You can have modern document management capabilities available for your legacy system and then they’ll be consistent when you roll out the new one.”

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