Leveraging SpearClaims’ Seamless Integration with Microsoft Outlook
Today, claims management has been going through a digital transformation—one that’s aimed at eliminating manual, labor-intensive processes in favor of functions that can be handled electronically and in an automated manner. This trend aims to help adjusters become more productive.
However, when digital processes aren’t properly configured or integrated across an enterprise, the tools that are aimed at creating efficiency can actually generate additional administrative burdens. As a result, the need to streamline processes in the right way has become more urgent, especially in light of today’s tight labor market.
Since our claims system—SpearClaims—is built on the Microsoft Power Platform, it has seamless integration with Microsoft tools. In particular, its ability to work hand in hand with Outlook provides several administrative assists for busy adjusters, especially in the following three areas:
According to recent studies, the average businessperson receives around 120 emails a day, and no doubt adjusters see more than this average amount. And as a result, email has become an unwieldy monster they’re trying to tame.
Productivity gurus suggest strategies to manage emails. However, some of those approaches won’t work for adjusters, simply due to the nature of their responsibilities. For example, some experts recommend not checking email first thing in the morning, and instead to check it only at set times of the day. This can allow a person to take actions on key priorities, rather than being responsive to other people’s demands.
However, responding to other people’s demands—such as claimants—is a key role of adjusters, and a prompt response helps facilitate timely closure of claims. As such, claims staff must often remain vigilant over their inboxes, as they want to be available to handle urgent requests, such as rescheduling a doctor’s appointment or processing a late payment.
In this area, Spear’s integration with Outlook can provide a much needed assist to help streamline email communication, as well as email organization. For example, let’s say an adjuster receives an email from a claimant John Smith. Within Outlook, using the Dynamics 365 plugin and a feature called “set regarding,” the adjuster can link the email from John—and all subsequent emails from him—to his claim’s file. The adjuster can do the same for all emails related to John’s claim—such as those from a supervisor, doctor, or vendor.
Consequently, the following benefits ensue:
When adjusters are in a claimant’s file, they can see all relevant emails for that claim.
If someone like John’s supervisor has attached forms to an email, those documents are also automatically saved to the claim’s file.
Adjusters can choose to reply to an email within SpearClaims. Or, if they reply within Outlook, the resulting email response is automatically embedded in the claim’s file (as long as the “set regarding” features has been setup).
This integration helps to improve documentation of emails in the claim’s file, and if an adjuster leaves, all of the previous emails remain part of the claim’s file.
The integration minimizes shuffling between applications, as adjusters can easily transfer claimant, vendor, and other contact information from SpearClaims into Outlook. In many ways, the two applications can then begin to work seamlessly together.
Managing & Automating Tasks
Perhaps more than any other occupation, adjusters must master the art of task management, which is the practice of following a task through to completion. Claims organizations will see tremendous benefits when they provide adjusters with the appropriate tools to strengthen and assist in building this skill.
Today, SpearClaims offers a sophisticated diary system to remind adjusters of their most urgent tasks. And with the seamless integration with Outlook, items from their diary can automatically be populated into Outlook—or even into Teams or Microsoft’s “To Do” app. By tracking and continually reprioritizing tasks—such as following up with a claimant after a doctor’s appointment or establishing a return-to-work plan with a claimant’s employer—adjusters can always be focused on the most time-sensitive, high-value task. This not only improves a claimant’s experience but can also enhance the claim’s outcome as well.
Here are several other ways SpearClaims helps with task management:
Prioritization. Adjusters can use SpearClaims and its connectivity with Outlook to easily move tasks up or down their queue, as tasks become more or less urgent—or if they see the potential for a certain task to have a more significant impact on a claim’s outcome. In other situations, they may want to quickly take action because another stakeholder is waiting on that task before they can perform their own role on the claim.
Automation. Beyond task management, SpearClaims also leverages Power Automate to further streamline operations, even enabling straight-through processing on routine claims that don’t require human intervention. Being able to also automate redundant, low-value tasks is important to efficiency, and it also ensures that claims professionals are focused on the type of work where they can bring to bear their knowledge and personalized attention. This goes a long way to ensuring that they can garner a sense of satisfaction from their role in the company.
Workflow & Best Practices. Organizations may find it beneficial for all adjusters to follow a standard set of tasks when certain events occur on a claim or particular conditions exist. This can help ensure a consistent approach and higher quality results. Organizations may wish to setup a workflow or checklist for such situations. This will allow a claim departments to operationalize best practices from more experienced claims handlers, and moving forward, it can serve as a guide for entry-level staff.
Accurate appointments and scheduling of activities are critical for adjusters in terms of optimizing what time they have available in their workday.
In insurance, many processes must occur within specific timeframes. For example, in the state of California, an insurer has 15 days to acknowledge that it has received a claim. Many timeframes can be automated within SpearClaims by configuring business rules and workflows, but there are many time-sensitive actions that adjusters must simply try to remember. They may attempt to track these items in their head or use sticky notes on computer screens to remind themselves.
SpearClaims offers a helpful assist, as it allows adjusters to incorporate their SpearClaims calendar—filled with claims-related appointments and activities—into their Outlook calendar, which may include general office meetings as well as personal appointments. With all events calendared in one place, adjusters can better ensure that missed appointments and overbookings don’t occur. Such missteps could result in wasted time and ill will if adjusters have to reschedule meetings. With the Spear/Outlook integration, adjusters can select the best available time for new appointments, ensuring a good experience for claimants and other stakeholders.
A Boost in Productivity and More
The claims industry has made significant strides in digital optimization. Many organizations have been able to automate and accelerate claims processing, but we don’t want to overlook simple integrations, such as this one, which can deliver a significant boost for claims teams.
As this article shows, there’s tremendous value in a claims system being able to integrate with common productivity tools that adjusters are already using. We’ve shown how the SpearClaims / Outlook integration can enhance email, task, and calendar management.
This integration provides significant convenience and a more powerful ability for adjusters to manage their workday. As an added benefit, they often experience greater satisfaction in the type of work they’re able to handle. This is because these high-tech tools minimize redundant, low-value tasks—that can often lead to burnout—and instead enable adjusters to stay focused on more meaningful interactions—ones that can have a greater impact on claim outcomes, the company’s bottom line, and how adjusters feel about their work in terms of being able to make a difference in claimants’ lives.
As a result, claims organizations reap tremendous benefits, as these are factors that are critical to retaining skilled adjusters during today’s tight labor market. At the same time, organizations are able to leverage artificial intelligence, workflow automation, and virtual agents that come out of the box with SpearClaims.
To find out how you can start to leverage SpearClaims on the Microsoft Power Platform, give us a call (925-366-9296) or send us an email (email@example.com).