Royal & SunAlliance's private medical insurance arm Healthcare & Assistance has achieved a 30% increase in the productivity of its claims department – while its workload has doubled.

The insurer said this improved performance is the direct result of a new approach to claims processing.

Quite simply, the 250,000 claims episodes received by the department each year are screened to ensure claims are allocated to staff according to their current level of claims expertise.

It follows a review of the claims handling skills of the department's 60 staff.

Head of managed care Robert Fielding said: “Royal & SunAlliance Healthcare & Assistance has adopted a textbook approach to re-engineering our claims processes.”

He added that its investment in ecommerce will further boost productivity in the longer term.

A survey of its healthcare customers appears to support RSA's claim that it has improved service standards.

The survey shows a satisfaction rate of 95% and that less than 1% of RSA's healthcare customers felt they had reason to complain.

RSA Healthcare & Assistance is forging a co-operative venture with other PMI providers and hospital groups to deliver ecommerce solutions.

The company provides PMI products and services to RSA's corporate and personal customers through its Values range and, has a net written premium of more than £239m.

The PMI provider is also planning to increase its investment in ecommerce particularly in developing electronic data interchange systems for billing and transactions between insurers and care providers.

The intention it says is to increase the speed of payment and reduce the level of administrative overheads for claims.