Helphire Group plc is the UK’s leading provider of accident assistance services to drivers involved in non-fault accidents. From humble beginnings in 1992, Helphire today employs over 1,700 people across 5 locations and offers a range of services including vehicle repairs, replacement hire, uninsured loss recovery and injury claims management.
Helphire is a first tier supplier under the ABI General Terms of Agreement and is the preferred claims outsourcing partner for many UK motor insurers. Almost 600 Helphire staff utilise Proclaim Case Management software. Group IT Director, Russell Allen, talks us through his experience of Proclaim.
Large claims management provider, Albany Assistance, was acquired by Helphire Group in 2004, that business unit having successfully used Proclaim since early 2001. In 2009 Helphire, as a group, implemented a strategy to streamline our operations and remove the IT duplications that a series of company acquisitions had brought us.
Across the three Helphire businesses that dealt with claims management and hire services, we had a grand total of five separate software systems. This was far from an ideal position, providing multiple points of data entry (difficult to control quality), multiple ways of working (making internal training long-winded and expensive) and a lot of duplication of effort in terms of moving and manipulating data between five places.
An in-depth systems assessment was carried out, to find which system was the best fit for Helphire moving forward. Proclaim had been tried and tested at Albany (with over 300 concurrent users), and we saw it as having the most functionality and flexibility when it came to our plans for service expansion. Susan Howe, Group Operations Director, found that productivity benchmarking tests showed Albany as being the most efficient of the three business units. This ultimately sealed our decision to roll out Proclaim as a replacement for the other incumbents.
The system transfer project was completed in July 2010 and saw a total of nearly 600 Helphire Group plc employees using Proclaim.
Providing an end-to-end solution
Proclaim is used to support the full end-to-end accident management and vehicle hire process. The system gives us a holistic approach to case management – one integrated and consistent way of processing files, and one core data repository meaning a truly centralised approach.
Data integrity, and the resultant management information we can extract, are both of huge importance to Helphire. Proclaim enables us to accurately analyse performance in real-time, and extract precisely what we need from the system. Nothing is ‘lost in translation’, and there is no need for guesswork or leaps of faith.
Given that we are controlling large outsourced services from major financial services organisations and insurers, the confidence Proclaim gives us in our figures is invaluable.
Secure, robust and flexible
Given our scale and our fluid operational requirements, system resilience is vital. To aid our development team, we run three environments internally; the live one, a development area, and a test area. These three sections are perfectly in tune, and the setup allows us to have a ‘sandbox’ creative attitude to system design which will not impact upon our live systems should we change our plans. This helps us to be extremely reactive to business requirements and quickly deploy bespoke screens, fields and workflow steps.
We recently started to use Proclaim’s Web Services functionality to support full, real-time integration with our core business partners, using Microsoft BizTalk as a messaging layer. This will provide us with a deeper level of (fully reliable) realtime interactive intra-system messaging.
For overall system resilience, we utilise the ‘OpenEdge Replication’ toolset, which provides fast and accurate failover, should disaster strike. In fact, we have managed to create a strategy that will enable us to be up and running – all 600 users – just 10 minutes after an event that renders our primary systems inactive.
Our Group Operations Director, Susan Howe, rightly places great emphasis on the ability to induct new employees quickly. Proclaim provides an extremely familiar Windows environment and ‘look and feel’, meaning that new users buy in to the system very quickly. This continues when they find that Proclaim is genuinely straightforward to use, and as a result training is blissfully cost-effective for us. We can run sessions internally without the need to bring in external assistance.
Proclaim enables us to seamlessly link with case referrers to automatically import cases and updated details. The time savings here are immense – data inputting is made redundant, and mistakes (the ‘human factor’!) are greatly reduced. This makes for much closer and more valuable business relationships, reducing waste and frictional activity.
In addition, we use Eclipse’s FileView tool to support our online Hire Agreement process, giving our customers the ability to electronically sign their rental agreements. Again, this streamlines our processes immensely and speeds up our overall service offering.
Following detailed internal analysis, we are actually able to put a figure to the productivity gains we see using Proclaim. We estimate that the system has reduced our ‘cost per case’ by approximately 20%. Considering the volumes we put through the system, that adds up to one very large annual cost saving.
The decision to standardise on Proclaim as our overall claims management platform has been truly validated. The system is by some distance the leader in the claims sector.