As competition intensifies in claims management markets, companies are seeking ever faster and more powerful data processing solutions that are capable of handling growing volumes of business.

Crusader is one of the UK’s 10 largest accident management companies by size, handling a client base that produces between 50,000 and 60,000 new RTA-related claims a year. From its offices in Twickenham, Middlesex the company offers a specialised Uninsured Loss Recovery service to motor insurance brokers. The levels of service offered range from handling hire-car cases and solicitor referrals, up to acting as an entire out-sourced claims department on clients’ behalf.

Surprisingly for such a successful business, Crusader came relatively late to embracing PC-networks. Operations Director, John Cosgrove, joined the company in June 2001 with a brief to set up a modern call-centre environment. Up until that time, staff had still worked with stand-alone PCs and paper files that they had to locate and refer to whenever clients called. Word-processed form letters were then printed out and posted in reply. This mode of working was not only very time-consuming, but produced the inevitable consequence of lack of standardisation in document production, since everyone did things slightly differently.

John Cosgrove now tells how, as the business had grown, it became totally bogged down in paperwork, and in some cases staff were hand-writing letters because it was quicker:

“We clearly couldn’t have survived like that for much longer. But coming from a PC-networked environment with my previous company, I was very aware of the pitfalls of systems crashes. There would have been no point in substituting the confusion arising from too much paper with the potential chaos that frequent system crashes can cause.”

Robustness was therefore the prime criterion in selecting a PC network-based software solution. John evaluated several systems and chose Proclaim on that basis. “This is a very robust system that enables us to handle massive volumes of work, and it has never crashed,” he says.

Crusader started with a 12-user network that has grown to more than 40 users. It now uses Proclaim to process over 7,000 new claims each month, as well as the on-going case load, and to service the entire client base of brokers who deal with 20,000 or more clients.

Proclaim is suited to any large-volume claims management application, such as personal injury, accident management or employers’ liability. As a total claims management solution, the Eclipse software suite fully integrates a very sophisticated case management database with accounts, diaries, reporting and word processing.

It offers numerous powerful features, designed to enable users to deal with larger volumes of claims than standard case management systems allow, and at the same time reduce the time spent processing each individual case. Though simple enough to be operated by multiple users, the system is also powerful enough to speed up document production, reporting, monitoring and marketing functions many fold.

Russell Thomson, Sales Director at Eclipse, says: “Just like solicitors who are experiencing substantial growth in claims related business, Proclaim gives claims management companies the capability to monitor the progress of very large volumes of cases continuously and to generate huge volumes of related documentation. The way the system is designed means that users have a low level of secretarial support and vastly improved client satisfaction.”

The database stores all contact by voice, electronic or document mail for each case on Crusader’s system, and upwards of 300 incoming documents a day are scanned into the system in the administration department and assigned automatically to the case files concerned. Any operator speaking to clients in the call centre can therefore access case files, view all the contact and correspondence relating to the cases in question, answer questions accurately, and print out copies of documents to attach to outgoing letters or email.

At the end of each working day, the system’s advanced reporting facility sends to every client, by email, the up-to-date status of all their cases ? a key competitive capability in Crusader’s experience. Outgoing documents can also be sent to the fax server and transmitted to clients that way. The system similarly allows clients to be sent SMS (text) messages with a single key-stroke, and they also have on-line access via the Internet to their own case files using Eclipse FileView, as is becoming expected more and more in claims management markets.

“Proclaim has increased our ability to deal with files by up to 80%,” says John Cosgrove. “It is also a very flexible system that can be continually evolved to do what we want it to, and it has been easy to integrate the technological developments such as email, SMS messaging and document scanning that clients now demand.

“The system is very user-friendly, and our staff with previous PC experience picked it up very quickly at Eclipse’s training courses,” he continues. “We have likewise had no problems in training new staff to use it. Eclipse is easy to get on and deal with, but at the same time a very professional company; and they are always available to discuss new system features then guide us through them.

“We are close to becoming a paperless office,” John Cosgrove concludes. “Our clients judge us on fast service and knowing exactly what is happening, and with Proclaim we meet those criteria. With hindsight, installing it was the best business decision that we ever made.”

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