How OCR Is Transforming the Insurance Industry for the Better

Integrating OCR and IDP allows the insurance industry to gain a huge advantage as they can help automate document processing, a process that plays a significant role in the industry.

Published on
June 20, 2022

The insurance industry is one of the most data-driven industries in the world. Unfortunately, it hasn't always been the quickest to adopt technologies that might make that information easier to leverage. 

Optical character recognition, or OCR, is changing the paradigm, but not just for insurers. Instead, this critical technology is improving life for stakeholders, consumers, and regulators alike. In this blog post, we will be talking about how the insurance industry can greatly benefit from incorporating OCR into their workflow.

The Insurance Industry in a Nutshell

In its most basic form, insurance is a kind of risk management. An insured party transfers the cost of potential future losses to the insurer, or provider, in exchange for a premium. In the event they actually incur a loss, they can count on their insurer to help them absorb the financial or material burden.

For such a relationship to provide mutual benefit, insurers must make heavy use of data. More often than not, this data takes the form of documentation. 

Profit Motives

The insurance sector comprises many different types of insurance, such as life, health, auto, and homeowners insurance. Each variety has its own set of data that is used to assess risk, determine premiums, and compute coverage terms.

Regulatory Adherence and Governance

It's also worth noting that the insurance industry is heavily regulated. The laws and licensing requirements that insurers must comply with vary from country to country, and so do the rules regarding things like premiums, payouts, and settlements. Many governments require that insurers maintain exhaustive documents detailing their operations – and retain them for set timeframes.

Another regulatory burden involves privacy and consumer protection. For instance, health insurers who keep information on patients in the U.S. or the EU must comply with laws such as HIPAA and GDPR, respectively. Failing to maintain such records properly can expose companies to severe penalties.

Litigation Potential

Due to the nature of insurance, many providers face higher-than-normal odds of being taken to court. In these cases, documentation serves as vital evidence for arguing cases and limiting legal fallout.

How Do OCR and Intelligent Document Processing Work?

Optical character recognition (OCR) is the process of converting scanned images of handwritten, printed, or typed text into digital text that can be edited, searched, and stored on a computer. Unlike traditional methods, such as reading and transcribing, OCR works without needing to have a human at the controls. 

OCR uses special software to analyze images and identify the letters and characters they represent. While this may be the first time you've heard of it, the technology actually has a lengthy backstory, at least in technological terms – It's actually been around since the 1980s! However, the texts extracted from documents using OCR are not organized since OCR engines do not understand the texts. Without the proper organization, computers or software still can’t make use of the extracted texts. 

Intelligent document processing (IDP), on the other hand, is a broader technology that incorporates OCR alongside other techniques, such as natural language processing and machine learning. By combining these tools, IDP accurately transforms images of documents into text that carries useful meaning. In other words, IDP solutions can convert images of documents into structured data that can be directly used by other software for further processing.

Unlike the scanned source material that produced it, text can be copied, pasted, and edited. Most importantly, it can be integrated into other software tools and searched based on semantic meaning. 

The Benefits of Incorporating OCR and IDP Into Your Workflow

So how are insurers using IDP and OCR to improve their industry? Here are just a few of the ways it's creating positive changes:

1. Improving Customer Experience to increase customer retention rate and attract more clients

Incorporating OCR and IDP into the workflow allows you to automatically intake supporting documentation, such as IDs, vehicle titles, and a host of other information your clients must submit to manage their policies. This helps you relieve one of the biggest consumer pain points of dealing with insurance: Doing the paperwork. 

Nobody likes filling out the same information twice – getting coverage and filing claims are no exceptions. IDP imbues your information-gathering process with vital context. From there, it's straightforward to eliminate repetition. 

One of the nicest side effects of transitioning to an IDP-powered workflow is that doing so is effectively a PR coup. When people discover how much more convenient it is to work with you than with your competitors, they'll be sure to spread the good word.

2. Reducing costs and lead times

Traditional forms of document intake demand time and money. In addition to requiring people to decipher images of dubious quality, these methods are error-prone, meaning you'll spend more resources on corrections. 

IDP's proven accuracy and automation make it a significantly less costly alternative. What's more, its near-instantaneous speed minimizes the amount of time policy claimants and applicants spend waiting to hear back.

Another hidden cost of traditional intake is its tendency to reduce job satisfaction. Skilled workers who spend the bulk of their time on administrative and secretarial work tend to lose their motivation – no matter how many office perks you offer! 

Switching to an automated workflow can help you cultivate a workplace culture that makes your employees feel like they're doing something worthwhile. There's no better way to foster positive attitudes, and doing so ultimately translates to better customer service.

3. Powering strategic planning by extracting high-quality data from documents

Insurance is a highly competitive industry, and it's up to you to differentiate yourself. Using IDP to process legacy documentation lets you close the gap between raw information and actionable data. For instance, you can translate census info, studies, survey feedback, and historical claim documentation into data streams that prove ideal for feeding into AI tools – making it possible to discover patterns with minimal manual legwork.

Automate Your Document Processing with FormX

Intelligent document processing and optical character recognition make it possible to enhance your insurance offerings and glean more valuable information from your data. Migrating to a smarter automation-powered workflow is about more than just going paperless – It's a way to stay competitive in a continually evolving market. 

FormX has helped businesses automate data extraction for them to gain competitive advantages. See how you can make customer onboarding and document processing more efficient with FormX. Contact us or sign up to see how you can make customer onboarding and document processing more efficient with FormX.

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