Andrew Holt finds how a pen could revolutionise the work of loss adjusters

A pen is hardly the most radical way of dealing with faster, more efficient claims. But EYE Write used by GAB Robins is no normal pen.

The loss adjuster has developed a new digital pen, in an attempt to revolutionise the approach to personal lines claims.

What it does is simple. Loss adjusters, on the site of an event, still fill out a paper claim form, but they do it with a digital pen. The pen contains a special camera which records the pen strokes . The images can then be sent via a Nokia handset back to the office for immediate processing.

John Castagno, GAB Robins UK chief executive, says there is evidence to prove it isn't just a gimmick. “EYE Write has dealt with over 2,500 claims since its launch [in February] and has trebled the number of new claims settled within 10 days of instruction compared to the same period in 2004.”

The fast turnaround of a claim is the proof that it works adds Castagno: “There are increasing demands for faster claims turnaround. We have been able to agree costs on site, transmit data and quickly issue a settlement cheque.”

GAB Robins says it can now processes claims within 24 hours, and in many cases pays them on the day they are filed. That speed supports GAB Robins' strategy of using fast service as a customer retention strategy.

“We know from experience that customer loyalty is enhanced when a claim is verified on the same day. Through our digital pen technology we have experienced a trebling of our claims settled within a 10-day period. This, we believe, will further enhance customer satisfaction,” says Derek Coles, GAB Robins managing director.

But it's the focus on quality and technical issues that is making a big difference. “This is where customers have told us we add the greatest value,” says Castagno

Technological option
The technology is not new. It emerged in the mid 1990s but has only been fully developed since 2002. GAB Robins tested a range of technological options to deal with more efficient claims before settling on the pen.

Barry Wetherilt, GAB Robins IT director, adds: “We have tried laptops in the field but they have shortcomings. They are intrusive in the claims process and you lose the personal contact. You don't get that with forms and a pen that everybody uses.”

In its initial development phase, though, everything didn't go to plan. “We worked with a third party supplier to develop the application and it went very wrong because the supplier wasn't up to it,” admits Wetherilt.

The problem was with the six-page form. . “Nobody had done six pages before and all the complexity that went with it. We went through a painful period which didn't get beyond the application being tested,” adds Wetherilt.

A company called Magicomm came to the rescue to deliver on time early this year.

The six-page claims form didn't prove to be an obstacle. Broken into segments and text boxes, the user fills it in with the digital pen and Magicomm's software even prompts the user to finish the form correctly.

“Gathering data in the field and getting it back instantly into the system has cut a whole chunk out of the settlement process, especially for the simpler claims,” enthuses Wetherilt.

“And the feedback from adjusters in the field and for policyholders is that they like it. Good news for the adjusters is they do not need to know much more than they know already as they are used to filling in forms,” he adds.

The client sees the application has been submitted and it is sent via the Nokia handset to the Robins Affinity Management central office in Bradford. The loss adjuster then keeps a hard copy until he or she knows the information has been fed into the system.

The aim is to eventually expand it out into the whole of the personal lines side as it currently just focuses on low cost claims for housing associations and right-to buy schemes. “We are now developing the second phase by September,” says Wetherilt.

“We are not having to train adjusters with some weird and wonderful gadget. It is pretty much a pen. And it is not a case of moving chunks of gear around,” concludes operations director Vic Noble. IT

Key features of EYE Writ

  • Built-in Bluetooth support enables the Nokia Digital Pen to send data to the Nokia handsets without cables
  • More than two hours of writing time between charges gives adjusters time to complete forms without interruptions
  • Magicomm's library achieves high accuracy for handwriting recognition. The library also facilitates very high resolution print quality.
  • Topics