By Fahim Kazi-Oracle on Dec 08, 2014
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.
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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