Monday Dec 08, 2014

Group Billing Made Easy With Oracle Insurance Policy Administration for Life and Annuity

For many insurers, billing is no longer just a process of generating bills, but an important part of communication between the carriers and their customers. A majority of insurance carriers find themselves constrained by aging and inflexible legacy billing systems, which limit their ability to improve operational efficiency. Also, cumbersome or inaccurate billing has led to customer dissatisfaction, creating difficulty in selling additional insurance products to existing customers/accounts.

In order to address this problem, insurance carriers may be considering modern billing systems to be integrated with the policy administration systems. However, the addition of these systems creates complexities and limitations – in addition to increased investment for an external billing system – and also makes maintenance and further enhancements painful.

The Oracle Insurance Policy Administration 10.1 release introduces unified Group Billing functionality to better align the solution’s capabilities with market needs and trends.  This new functionality provides an excellent billing solution that can significantly impact an insurer’s processing expenses, improve cash flow, and increase customer satisfaction, especially in case of Group Billing where reconciliation becomes overwhelming. This solution also supports efficient and effective batch processing capabilities, eliminating the need for any external billing solution.

Group Billing in Oracle Insurance Policy Administration has been designed and developed with wide range of capabilities:

The solution uses a two-stage process in generating a bill, which allows it to capture granular details and makes Group Billing configurable.

  • Generate Bill Details

    This is a rule attached to a transaction that generates the bill details as various entity levels – usually at the Policy, Client or Coverage level.

    These bill details hold the most detailed information pertaining to any policy, client and coverage that can further be grouped together to generate Group Bills as required.

  • Generate Group Bill

    This is an attached rule configured to find mapped bill details to a Group Customer in order to generate a single Group Bill.

    The system allows the ability to define a billing group, which can be a company, government agency or other organization that handles billing for individual annuity or life insurance policies held by their employees or members. This billing group will be the recipient of the Group Bill.

    It is also possible to aggregate bill details to a Group Bill, based on bill details generated over a period of time, or based on set levels of bill due amounts. Search capabilities are available and can be performed at various levels. The Group Bill can be searched and accessed, so all bill details associated with the Group Bill can be viewed.

    The system can be setup to automatically generate a Group Bill on a given billing date and can be configured to support multiple client billing cycles (e.g. weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, annual or any other client defined frequency). The system is also capable of defining a configurable or system status with the Group Bill (for example Pending, Active, Released, Deleted). The status is changed as billing activities are processed for a specific Group Bill.

Group Bill Reconciliation

Once a Group Bill is generated for an entity (such as a Group Customer) and payments are received from the payer, these are adjusted against the individual Bill Detail entries and reconciled. The Billing Reconciliation enhancement introduces new screens, business rules and other functionalities needed to process the reconciliation and generate the required policy level activities to ensure the payments are adjusted to the policy.

User-friendly screens allow the billing/payment representative to easily find a bill and reconcile it manually and provide the ability to do adjustments anytime in future.

The system allows the addition or removal of a policy for a member that has already been generated, and reconciliation handles the associated adjustments needed.

The system has the ability to produce periodic discrepancy reports at the participant level, providing insight to into which employer-billed premium payments need to be resolved (e.g. may be missed deduction or underpayment) and to produce a periodic past due report, based on remittance frequency, to communicate the receivables that are not paid and past due.

Oracle Insurance Policy Administration’s Group Billing functionality can also identify and track unallocated cash (through suspense) and support retroactive enrollment, retroactive termination, and reinstatements. It also allows reallocation of payments or adjustments to individual receivables within system.

After reconciliation of the amount received, the bill can be released and the status changed. The system will automatically generate individual remittance activities for the policies included in the list bill for the amount received (reconciled amount). If there is an amount that is not reconciled, it can be applied to the appropriate level of suspense at the lowest level known, which can be at Group Customer, invoice, billing class or policy level.  The system also allows reversal of reconciliation in cases of erroneous payments (over payments, under payments or incorrect allocations).

Batch Processing using Data Intake

Oracle Insurance Policy Administration can receive an electronic format file from the employer or payroll provider for employee payroll deductions at participant (member/dependent) level – within a benefit by employer selected schedule (by pay period, weekly, monthly or any client-defined frequency) – and batch process it to generate scheduled Group Bills.

The system has the ability to support tracking, research and follow-up of unallocated payments (i.e., a batch of suspense items where all of the money was not applied as premium to contracts in the group, the unapplied suspense detail would be available). It is capable of receiving payments by means of lockbox, EFT, payroll deduct or manual check.

The system also supports search capabilities for missing or improperly applied payments in order to provide corrective processing to address improperly applied payments located in search. This includes the ability to remove payment, apply to another account or reopen suspense.

Learn more

Oracle Insurance Policy Administration provides a highly configurable and flexible platform that enables the carriers to innovate to keep pace with changing demands, simplify their IT environments and transform the business into an agile, cost-effective enterprise. The addition of Group Billing functionality offers an excellent billing solution that can significantly impact an insurer’s processing expenses, improve cash flow, and increase customer satisfaction

To learn more about Oracle Insurance Policy Administration for Life and Annuity and how Oracle’s solutions can be used to support your business, visit oracle.com/insurance.

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Wednesday Sep 14, 2011

Why Your Proof-of-Concept Should Be a Proof-of-Capability

Policy administration systems are core to a carrier's operation. Replacing these systems presents more risk than nearly any other IT project. Carriers should carefully weigh the risks against the benefits as they build the business case for embarking on a modernization project.

In a previous Oracle Insurance Blog I highlighted best practices recommended bySecurian Financial Group's Denise Smieja about the company’s successful approach to replacing its legacy policy administration system. Smieja along with Roger Soppe, Oracle Insurance, were among Insurance & Technology magazine’s virtual roundtable of industry experts that recently weighed in on this topic. While Smieja offered insight on criteria carriers should consider when developing a request for proposal, Soppe focused on another critical step in the evaluation process: the proof-of-concept (POC).

In the article, Setting the Stage with a Solid Proof of Concept, Soppe noted that while many insurers are familiar with the idea of a POC, they may skip this important step due to time or budget constraints. He cited how a leading North American life insurance carrier demonstrated the value of a POC in proving the capabilities of the “people, process and technology” of the vendors and systems integrators being evaluated for its policy administration migration project.

“Other carriers can adopt this idea of a ‘proof-of-capability’ in their own policy admin transformation projects,” advised Soppe in the article. “This process reduces risk and helps build buy-in across the organization. This approach can be crucial to receiving a green light -- it is the final validation of all of the research and decision making that the carrier has done to date and sets the stage for success.”

Click here to read more or click here to download the Oracle Insurance strategy brief, “Proof-of-Concept Done Right: Mitigating the Risk of Policy Administration System Migrations.”

You can also learn more about Oracle Insurance and how insurance carriers are leveraging its solutions to adapt to change, better service customers, and better manage their business for compliance and growth at Oracle OpenWorld, next month in San Francisco, Calif.

Helen Pitts is senior product marketing manager for Oracle Insurance's life and annuities solutions.

Monday Sep 12, 2011

Building the Business Case for Policy Administration Replacement

Proof-of-Concept Done Right: Mitigating the Risk of Policy Administration System Migrations

How can insurers build an effective business case for policy administration system replacement? Insurance & Technology magazine recently asked a virtual roundtable of insurance industry experts, including Denise Smieja, Securian Financial Group, and Roger Soppe, Oracle Insurance, to weigh in on this hot topic and share recommended best practices for success.

In discussing Securian Financial Group’s successful policy administration transformation project, Smieja explained that the carrier’s business goals for new product development focused on flexibility and the ability to rapidly develop innovative, market-standard products—capabilities that were lacking in Securian’s previous legacy system.

“One of the critical changes we wanted was a consistent release cycle for new products,” noted Smieja in the article. “We struggled to introduce one product per year—we needed to improve that and be able to quickly launch new products, enhancements and regulatory changes. We are now committed to four product releases (either new products or enhancements) annually.”

Smieja also advised carriers to gather input from various disciplines across the company, including IT, actuarial, new business and in-force administration, when embarking on a request for proposal process. Important factors for consideration when evaluating a policy administration system include usability, technical fit with the corporate infrastructure, and configurability to support unique business rules and processes.

You can learn more about the best practices discussed by Smieja by reading Securian Financial Group Supports Innovation. You also can read the full article in last month’s print edition of Insurance & Technology.

Highlights of the best practices offered by Soppe will be covered in an upcoming Oracle Insurance Blog.

Helen Pitts is senior product marketing manager for Oracle Insurance's life and annuities solutions.

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Oracle's flexible solutions can help insurers navigate the change necessary to meet today’s challenges and have the business agility to be prepared for the future.

For mor information, visit oracle.com/insurance.

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