Claims management has long been a cumbersome and time-consuming component of insurance firms' daily operations. Keeping all files and information organized, up to date and conveniently available is frequently a challenge, and many carriers still stuck in silo mode are losing valuable time and energy as management and oversight are fragmented among different departments. At the same time, high expectations for insurance providers means that claims processing must happen at a much faster rate. Many firms have been migrating to enterprise cloud solutions in efforts to consolidate unwieldy systems and drive up their return on investment.

For claims management professionals, wrote Claims Journal contributor James DeRosa, enterprise clouds offer a combination of speed and accuracy that meets the heightened requirements of 21st century workflow environments. The insurance sector is a fledgling cloud adopter, utilizing the technology for more peripheral applications like bill review and damage estimation. The advantages seen from the migration of these programs has instilled confidence in firms, who are now moving more mission-critical business applications to enterprise IaaS clouds.

One advantage of cloud adoption is an expedited delivery of system applications and processes, DeRosa wrote. Claims professionals constantly work to improve the efficacy of their process with new and upgraded components, and the cloud enables them to seamlessly integrate new features. Scalable storage and reduced need for in-house IT support allow claims professionals to operate with more independence, able to store and share data without worrying about going over capacity or having to halt their workflows while an IT employee troubleshoots a hardware or software problem.

Enterprise clouds bolster accessibility and collaboration
A streamlined chain of command is key to making insurance operations more efficient. Without increased interactivity between departments, repetitive actions and conflicting objectives can curtail productivity and slow claims processing to a crawl. Many organizations in the financial sector have struggled to boost their collaborative capacity, as different departments have entrenched procedures and legacy hardware that could be difficult to reconcile across silos. A systemic overhaul to get everyone on the same page often is not a viable option if departments are just as likely to become stratified with what amounts to short-term fixes.

However, enterprise-class cloud computing can increase the speed and spirit of collaboration and communication for insurance company personnel, and particularly claims management professionals. According to Insurance & Technology contributor Aaron Weiss, collaboration is critical not only for increased productivity, but for diminishing risk and ensuring regulatory compliance as well. Any insurance claim will likely have several different professionals involved in its assessment, restoration and resolution, and the involvement of outside agencies complicates the matter. The paperwork for any one case can easily escalate, and there may end up being multiple, conflicting versions of the same document. This can cause difficulties when the claim is being finalized, and it may be difficult to pinpoint from where the confusion originated.

"The creation and sharing of content is no longer geographically bound or limited to filing cabinets – in today's world policyholders have access to tablets, cloud solutions and mobile devices, and so should claims adjusters," Weiss wrote. "Utilize the cloud to make collaboration between agents, vendors and policyholders easy."