While it seems like the use of digital documents is overtaking the business world, penetration is not as deep as some experts will have you believe. There are still a number of industries that rely on paperwork to handle daily operations.
A recent Property Casualty column looked at one of these sectors, the insurance industry. With a number of mortgage applications and appraisals to claim forms and third-party reports, paper is an important part of the marketplace and will be for years to come.
"Despite the fast-paced, technology-centered world in which we live, insurance is still a largely paper-based industry," the article reads. "While the use of tablets for data capture is on the rise, the use of paper by providers, partners, and customers is part of the lifeblood of almost any property & casualty insurance company."
However, just because many processes are still handled with paper, it does not mean businesses in the insurance sector should turn away from the latest innovation. Instead, there are ways that the company can still embrace the digital future and all the benefits that come with it.
The first step in the process is to implement a document scanning and management system. This will convert the stacks of paper files into a digital format that can be easily and quickly searched for by employees, instead of sifting through thousands of pages of paper. This also turns all of the information on the pages into data that can be analyzed and used to make smart business decisions.
One of the main reasons some organizations are rolling out a paperless approach is because of the speed at which many processes can be handled when information is digital. This makes perfect sense, as electronic data is easier to organize and maintain, especially if you are dealing with official forms.
This has been the reason that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been pushing for a paperless process. According to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki – who spoke with CNN's "State of the Union" over the weekend – there are currently 600,000 claims, or 70 percent of all claims, that are considered backlogged. Since Shinseki took over when Barack Obama was elected president, the number of claims pending for more than 125 days has nearly quadrupled.
"This has been decades in the making, 10 years of war. We're in paper, we need to get out of paper," Shinseki said. "We have commitments that in 2014 we will be electronically processing our data and sharing it."
He added that no veteran should have to wait around for claims.
Florida Rep. Jeff Miller spoke during a hearing last week on the subject and said that there are many veterans that are losing patience as they continue to hear the same excuses about increased workloads and complexity of claims.
The VA has started to evolve. A new computer system is in place in 20 regional offices around the country and all regional offices will be updated by the end of the year.
Streamlining the claims process is a prime example of a way that a paperless approach can help a business. By partnering with a document scanning and management service, any company can start to get rid of the paper and thrive in the digital realm.
There is nothing worse for administrators than a backlog of paperwork, especially if they are in an industry that has a new influx of papers everyday. This has been the problem for the Department of Veterans Affair (VA) for some time as a backlog of disability claims currently exists. However, that may be coming to an end with the help of a paperless approach.
Back in November, the Hartford, Connecticut regional office was the first to officially process a paperless case. It was the beginning of what the VA hopes to be a system wide switch in the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS). The new solution is available in 18 locations and will be rolled out to all 56 offices in the country by the end of the year.
“It feels so good to be part of the 21st century, when it comes to technology,” Diana Rubens, VA deputy undersecretary for field operations, told The Washington Post.
The system cuts the average VBMS processing time from 240 days to 119. While it may not completely eliminate the backlog, it is considered the first and most crucial step in an effort to transform the system.
While the paperless process is the future the VA is still dealing with a mountain of paper. The department is encouraging veterans to file online, but they understand that many older ones are going to continue to use the older physical forms. Also, the claims that have been submitted in paper form will need to be scanned and converted into a digital format. With so many advantages to going digital, including streamlining workflow and increase organization, more organizations, like the VA, are turning to paperless solutions.