Records Management

Insurance industry prime for a smarter approach to records cleanup

insurance-industry-prime-for-a-smarter-approach-to-records-cleanup

Records Management

Insurance industry prime for a smarter approach to records cleanup

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Over the next two years, more than half (58%) of the global insurance companies surveyed by EY plan to initiate a divestment, according to EY’s 2021 Corporate Global Divestment Study. 

Are your records inventories ready to move at that pace? 

Beyond satisfying the terms of the transaction itself, you know there are major benefits to records cleanup. If you’re the divesting company, you’ll spend a lot less money and time digitizing what the acquiring company needs if you defensibly destroy what has met retention requirements. You’ll also spend less on packing up and moving the paper records that need to be transferred. If you’re the acquiring company, you start with clean, compliant file inventory that can be easily searched and mined for insights. You spend less money and space on storing paper records needed for compliance, and less time worrying about risk from holding onto files that have met retention requirements. 

Here’s where you may pause, and say, “we’ve been down this road before,” or, perhaps more likely, “we never even got on the road.” A records cleanup project could have been prompted by a divestiture, or one of the many other trends affecting the industry that are pushing file inventories and paper records into focus: mergers and acquisitions, competition from digital insurance natives, workplace transformation strategies to free up office space, or an office closure or move. Whatever the event, the outcome was likely the same: cleanup was too expensive and too manual to conduct at scale. What’s more, because it was manual, it was subjective, and instead of mitigating risk, disposition conducted in this manner introduced some level of it. 

The result? Records cleanup hit a dead end because there was no real path to business value. Even in light of the cost and risk, your only real solution was to keep everything. 

How can Smart Sort enable records cleanup at scale? 

Iron Mountain Smart Sort changes that paradigm. By using Iron Mountain technology and your records management database and retention schedule, we drastically speed up the process of sorting through records that are co-mingled by retention date to organize them by destruction eligibility. This allows you to defensibly destroy what has met retention requirements, and organize what hasn’t in a way that enables three things going forward: expedited search, on-demand digitization of paper and regular file cleanup. 

Smart Sort uses three essential ingredients necessary to understand and identify destruction eligibility dates: your organization’s database that includes information about records (i.e., identification number, from/to dates, etc.), your records retention schedule and Iron Mountain’s exclusive coding that connects the records to an appropriate retention rule, including event-based rules. Whether the eligible dates are past due or in the future, the calculation method is consistent.

If a file has met retention requirements, it is marked for defensible destruction. If it hasn’t, it’s put into a box with other files with like retention dates. The combination of rules-based technology and repeatable methodology yields a consistent process, and therefore, decisions made on disposition are highly defensible.

It’s now much easier to see records that may have business value beyond legal or regulatory requirements governing retention. These records can be scanned and digitized, and business intelligence tools and even AI can go to work. As one example, you can apply a rules-based methodology to identify responsive records with certain attributes -- such as any policies with claims that paid out more than $1 million. You digitize those files on-demand, and use the industry-specific insurance applications built on the Iron Mountain Insight platform to mine them for information. The AI-powered content services platform structures the information and finds patterns in large amounts of data to reveal things you couldn’t possibly see before to inform decisions. 

Why now? 

As you can see, clean, compliant inventory is the springboard to identifying and digitizing responsive records. The first step to getting there is being able to sort through records efficiently using the business criteria and rules you have developed in a way that is cost effective and standardized.

The benefits are massive. One client estimates that it can clean up as much as 85% of its boxed inventory now that the records are not co-mingled. This organization stands to reduce its risk and costs substantially, and has a standardized process to make quick decisions on defensible destruction and digitization going forward.

You’re operating in a hard market. But it’s no longer too hard to clean up your file inventories, and gain efficiencies that will position you for any market condition or business event.  

To learn more about Smart Sort, click here.

How can Smart Sort work for us? 

Let’s look at how Smart Sort plays out in a few of the scenarios your organization may be facing. 

We are divesting of a line of business, and need to digitize paper files as part of the terms of the transaction. 

The terms of a divestiture require you to digitize paper files, but digitizing everything is too expensive and time-consuming, and you know there’s boxes upon boxes of files that are no longer active, serve no purpose to the business and have met retention requirements. 

Trained Iron Mountain staff take the boxes off the shelves, lift the lids and pull files one by one. Using a mobile device fitted with a native app, the person either scans the barcode on each file or manually enters the unique file ID. That information is matched against the file-level listing in your records database, along with the destruction eligibility date from your records retention schedule. Records that have met retention requirements are isolated and defensibly destroyed, and files that have not are organized by like destruction dates in a box with everything that shares the same destruction eligibility year. Now, you can digitize only the files you are required to retain -- saving time and substantial costs. 

We are closing an office and have a file room that needs to be moved

There’s a lot more to consider in moving a file room offsite than the one time cost of packing up everything and getting it to its new location. You must also think about what you’ll do with the racking, how you’ll budget for the ongoing expenses of storing everything, and, most importantly, the risk involved in keeping files that have met their retention requirements. 

Using Smart Sort, the files that have met retention requirements are identified and placed in a box for defensible disposition. Files that haven’t met retention requirements are organized by destruction eligibility year and boxed up for transport to the new location. Iron Mountain recycles or remarkets your old racking and storage mediums. 

Now, wherever you store the files -- offsite or in your new facility -- your space requirements or storage costs are less. The added benefit is that you now have a standardized process for disposition going forward that allows you to continue to reduce your costs and your risk every year. Because files are now organized by destruction eligibility -- but still easily searchable according to your organization’s criteria -- finding the boxes of files eligible for destruction is simple. 

Our underwriters need more access to data in a timely manner

As part of a push to automate more of the underwriting process, to make it more efficient and effective, along with also improving your customer experience, you need more access to historical data that is locked up in files and on paper. 

Because you have already used Smart Sort and have a clean, compliant file inventory, you can now push records management to a new level. You apply a rules-based methodology to identify responsive records with certain attributes -- for instance, any policies with claims that paid out more than $1 million. You digitize those files on-demand and build a database to access information and analyze it to discover any commonalities or trends from the claims, parts of the policies or more that help your organization make business decisions. 

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