Margaret Cubley & Iain MacDonald discuss the value of IT driven crisis management.

The Turnbull Report and the codes laid down for compliance under corporate governance are placing a further burden on already overworked risk managers, financial directors and their controlling boards. Complying with these regulations effectively means harnessing technology so that you can generate instant information throughout your organisation.

If you want your company to be at the forefront in its sector, you need to forge better, stronger business relationships. This involves

  • giving your customers access to the precise information they need
  • allowing them to see the information in the way they need to see it – anytime, anywhere
  • enabling them to share that information instantly with their own customers and suppliers.

    Using appropriate technology allows you to maximise your effectiveness and to capitalise on new opportunities. Specifically, technology-based claims management solutions can enable you to outstrip competitors who cannot match your speed of planning to speed of execution.

    You should ensure that information is available in a way that helps drive your business forward, allows greater understanding of current and future risks, and ultimately ensures control of these risks. This will protect shareholders and achieve compliance with relevant corporate governance codes.

    How can technology assist in managing these risks, and how can you make it work for your organisation? Computer systems and the data they produce are only as good as the information that is input. Traditionally, claims managers have tended to supply standard types of bordereau (multiple list) reports, setting out numbers of claims, class of business and the finances involved, with some cause and effect codes. Now, organisations are starting to work more closely with their service providers to define exactly what information they need as a business and when. As a result, you can achieve a great deal more from the valuable statistics captured during the process. This is particularly the case if you use business intelligence technology to analyse and manage this information.

    IT-driven claims management solutions can help to analyse key trends in claims and finances, identify potential business risks, and add value to your overall business performance. However, this is a specialised area. Software has to be sophisticated, detailed, and flexible enough to meet any bespoke requirements. Further, to move with technology, claims management systems need to do more than just record data. They must proactively drive the claim to a conclusion at the earliest opportunity. Workflow engines are invaluable in doing this.

    Viewing the range of claims management systems on offer will ensure that you choose a solution to meet all of your company’s analysis and reporting requirements. A demonstration of the capabilities of each system is essential. Just expecting a new system to meet specific performance criteria can be an expensive mistake if it fails to deliver.

    Once you have chosen the right claims management system, the programme should capture and store invaluable data. In order to gain real business benefits, you need to manage and use this effectively. This entails working in partnership with your service providers to ensure complete transparency in reporting all claims activities, with key performance indicators agreed right from the start. The ultimate aim is that risk managers and all relevant people within your organisation will have data, appropriate information and business intelligence at their fingertips - instantly.

    Business intelligence solution
    Barry Wetherilt, GAB Robins’ IT director, advocates a business intelligence solution incorporating a data warehouse in order to resolve these issues and provide the level of service expected by corporate customers. “It was evident that what we required to respond to our customers’ needs was a sophisticated date repository holding all claims data, and activity that enabled fast and flexible on-line, on-demand analysis,” he says. As a result, the company has developed a web-based business analysis and reporting solution which is pre-agreed and customised to meet the reporting needs of any business. This was done in association with its strategic partners, Cognos, the world’s largest electronic business intelligence company.

    Graham Walter, Cognos’ managing director, comments: “Cognos has been working in partnership with GAB Robins since 1999 to create a business intelligence solution tailored to the insurance sector. GAB Robins correctly identified that the use of the internet would revolutionise the way in which clients would access claims statistics and other data. This in turn allows clients to analyse more effectively, and therefore manage their business. We have launched a business intelligence solution which is truly unique and which will provide a platform for many developments in the future.

    Online solutions allow information to be made instantaneously available to all authorised personnel via a bespoke web-based portal. Reporting is conducted in real time over the web. This solution has been developed to provide risk managers with

  • bespoke static reports which are refreshed once additional data is input
  • interactive reports, updated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, allowing access to up to date information which is captured on a customer’s behalf
  • built in drill-down facilities to specific groups of claims, or individual claims
  • l immediate access to measure compliance with pre-agreed service standards and key business performance indicators

    How flexible is this type of system? The development of interactive reporting technology has provided a powerful business analysis tool in the form of data “cubes”. These cubes can assist in analysing risk by identifying cause and effect, recognising peaks, dips and performance issues within a company, together with accurate financial reports. Cube technology allows data to be “sliced and diced” so that the resulting information is available in any shape or form required, as a comprehensive data view, or by producing charts or graphs.

    For example, a company may require information on one particular area of risk for a certain period of time. Clicking a couple of buttons makes this information immediately accessible in any format. It can be printed off or e-mailed to other people at any time. The ability to make them instantly aware of all important claims, risk and finance related issues means that they can act on these issues before they escalate. This proactive approach also ensures compliance with Turnbull and provides companies with the tools to address their key business risks and drive their business forward.

    Margaret Clubley is claims management director,GAB Robins UK Ltd; E-mail:

    Iain MacDonald is business intelligence manager, GAB Robins UK Ltd; E-mail:,