The Innovation Track for Subrogation

Expertise in Subrogation is not just about technology but the innovation behind experienced human capital

Subrogration outsourcing

As a business, VWi has spent the last 50 years in the subrogation space, with a deep understanding of the laws and regulations of managing subrogation cases. We are continuously working on our recruiting and finding people who are really enthusiastic about learning the nuances of subrogation. This development of the next generation of experts isn’t so easy for our clients as the people who founded the key processes are buried in a serious time crunch as they try to keep up with the day to day business. So how do you make this sector exciting for the next generation? More important, how do you share the knowledge in a meaningful way to develop the next wave of experts?

Lets start with what’s happening to the experts

A new term has emerged called, claims adjuster burnout. Cases are increasing, claims are getting more complex and the process has become increasing more complicated overtime. Add to this the growing demand of providing an excellent customer experience with a single point of contact, never ending phone calls and a full inbox. It takes an extreme professional with years of experience to manage the end-to-end process. Add to this the complication of age and experience of these industry veterans and you start to understand what will happen next in an industry desperate for the next generation of proficiency.

An evolving job market

The insurance industry has seen a major impact. As the number of claims per year starts to meet or exceed the number of premiums, the industry is thirsty for talent. In a study by the Jacobson Group and Ward Group, they found that from 2010-2015, the number of positions in the claims management area has increased year over year. As the need for more claims adjusters continues to climb, many companies are turning to temp labor, but that merely defers the problem with a lower cost solution, but seldom creates those long-term employees that are now don their way to retirement.

The need for claims adjusters continues to climb year over year.

Using innovation to engage the workforce

Challenging the incoming workforce to be innovative will be essential to keeping them engaged long term. Just as the advancement of technologies has improved our daily lives, innovation in the workplace will be key to keeping them interested and, more importantly, tap into the knowledge of the retiring experts.

As our own business grows, we work with our teams to identify those key employees that show promise in both managing the process and looking for creative ways to circumvent problems. By pulling them into conversations that focus on improving processes or identifying waste within the business, we help them grow to the next level. It also helps them see a path to a career that perhaps wasn’t previously on their radar.

Looking to the future

As the laws that govern the subrogation industry become more stringent, the future becomes more clear that competent people are necessary to foster long term growth and stability. Add to that an incoming workforce that is impulsive and fickle about their employment opportunities and you have a compounded problem. Conversely, VWi sees this as an opportunity to take the subrogation industry to a new level.

By engaging the technology minded Millennials to work with the experience of the Generation Xers and the leadership of the Baby Boomers, VWi is leveraging the key strengths of each generation of the workforce to find solutions that improves the claims management process, reduces risk and increases revenue.

Credit to Cash Automation: Creative Thinking and Technology Bridge the Gap in Transformation

The environment of Credit to Cash (C2C) has evolved and is accelerated as a platform towards achieving continuous automation and deeper analytical insights through innovation. Moving from basic blocking and tackling to a highly automated, analytics-driven platform brings considerable efficiency and accuracy to the enterprise. The most advanced and well-funded enterprise has led the charge with a model of highly effective technology applications inclusive of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and cognitive Artificial Intelligence (AI) learning, but the access to these highly intuitive and productive solutions is quickly coming into reach for all. Maximizing productivity, quality of performance and driving greater value persists. The realization of disruptive technologies brings the few highly skilled domain experts to an automated and proactive credit and collections delivery, which transforms and optimizes C2C.

The use of effective platform automation has been proven to reduce manual processes by an average of 30%, lowering overall cost of credit to cash by 35% when coupled with a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) delivery. If you have not yet moved away from legacy practices or improved your technology platform, this is no longer a novel way of attacking productivity but a competitive must have. Most enterprises have attacked this segment of their business either as a working capital initiative or as a finance and accounting transformation, yet the question remains – How do you achieve the next level of automation to win efficiency and effectiveness in a competitive global business environment?

Let’s start with some of the options: With continuous improvement objectives, collection platforms need to increase efficiency and lower total costs of ownership. The challenge is – Which model is right for your enterprise: ERP Tools, Domain Specific Application (the wrapper) or obtaining the advantage through outsourcing?

• Build Model: In-house IT builds and manages for long-term return on investment
• ERP: Add-on modules and boxed credit and collection software applications
• Wrapper: Purchase a credit and collection tool and customization from a software vendor
• Outsource: Use the credit and collection platform and processes provided by an outsourcing vendor

The in-house option which exists has mostly been discarded except for very specific in-house applications. The build model, while we have seen some excellent results of such builds, most outsourcing relationships deliver these innovations both in technology, as well as with a complete end to end set of integrated processes. The question in this aspect is how much it ultimately costs to start and build from ground zero vs.adopting a mature and experienced implementation solution.

Let’s narrow our focus to understanding the three options of ERP add-on, Wrapper, and Outsource. Assuming you have already taken one of these steps as the enterprise continues to obtain best in class metrics, what would be your choice for next level efficiency?

ERP: Today most enterprise clients complete a major installation of ERP which fit some parts of the business but doesn’t necessarily fit the focus of credit to cash. In satisfying the needs of finance, accounting, compliance and regulatory, some gaps are naturally going to exist. While ERP can’t be all things to all people, module add-ons have been the solutions. With this comes a high price of customization, licensing and support. You still may be in a world which is highly dependent upon the platform to release automation functionality or do some in-house tinkering to find a solution. This is also the least cost-effective manner of reaching your ROI targets.

Wrapper: Readily available solutions and a market which has been created due to the lack of focus on the ERP environment. These tools feed off data in the ERP and augment the lack of solutions as a wrap around the ERP. Due to an industry and process specific solution, the chances with a Wrapper are greatly improved vs.the ERP model.

Outsourcing: The outsource solution makes the most sense in various ways because the providers need to drive value for your business. Tools, technology and domain expertise which has been proven under a multitenant environment accelerates transformation and aligns with the outcomes the enterprise is seeking. The evolution of Order to Cash BPO has quietly separated from the large Finance and Accounting (F&A) BPO engagements and taken on a very pragmatic transition to domain expert providers for these reasons.

Businesses will continue to look for improved cycle times to achieve cash flow or find ways to create flexible risk mitigation strategies. So, where do you obtain next generation efficiencies and gain RPA today? Have you seen this automation in action? Most might answer no, yet that doesn’t mean that the technology doesn’t exist. Auto cash applications, deduction matching, auto credit line algorithms and intelligent workflow exist and are alive and well in more places than you think. These are the basics given the scope of order to cash, so what really accelerates the next level of automation?

Taking into consideration that an important aspect of successful credit and collections practices centers on customer contact, I believe building relationships is a key part of a credit and collections strategy. Utilizing or automating with robo dialers to resolve deduction issues does not necessarily result in resolutions nor is a recommended practice to improve the customer experience. But what happens when you truly understand the behaviors of your customers and can predict their next move? A great example of this comes from enabling call analytics and AI to analyze the customers most frequent behaviors. If communication is being made by phone, email, mail, remittance and other, AI ingests this information and can take proactive steps to furnish the customer with resolution focused efforts before they ask. Simple tasks such as supplying statements and invoices or resolving cash application matching can be set off in triggers just by knowing the customer’s behavior. Repeated calls, requests, and documentation gaps are now solved in a proactive and complete manner, closing the gap and better satisfying the customer experience.

Taking the proactive approach, the capabilities deployed around customer risk management go even further. With the ability to search, locate and aggregate mass amounts of data, predictive credit analytics really comes to life. For small and large businesses, credit analysis was once an area of pulling credit reports, 10K’s, and phone call references. Today with completely automated modeling and deeper insights available to review your total credit exposure, sales may have a better tool at their disposal to maximize sales and outcomes. More importantly, without labor, the automated and insightful nature of RPA brings a more robust set of forecasting and customer targeted strategies to the credit and collection manager. CFO’s embrace this model as highly effective and a means of continuous cash forecasting against potential defaults. Seeing the behaviors of a customer who may possibly default goes from months of monitoring to minutes based on wider trends analysis.

An exciting era of advanced automation in this segment of finance is evolving, as the push for continuous improvement persists and is demanded by both the buyer and supplier. Continuous improvement is the mechanism which drives innovation beyond the immediate challenge towards long perpetual shifts in how we do business. Advanced learning applications make this process quick to the eye and accelerate the reaction time, in some cases saving the credit grantor from serious defaults in both stable and fluctuating markets.

The digitalization of processes in C2C such as with credit applications, invoicing, connecting payments and mass data referencing for reconciliation are no longer fragmented in the enterprise today. Tomorrow, such technical and cultural shifts in business processes will be the standard, allowing for the next generation of automation to emerge and bridging the gap in effective RPA and AI transformation.

Advertising Revenue Optimization is about Customer Connection

Media and Entertainment Advertising Credit to Cash

Media and Entertainment Advertising Credit to Cash

Just within the last few years, media platforms have been expanding before our very eyes. We have seen a dramatic change in media and advertising including the way content is produced, shared and converted to cash. In this new world, media and entertainment companies who are successful in leveraging big data analytics understand the success or failure of advertising and how the personalization of content has become so crucial. The same holds true in the process of servicing the complexities of credit to cash and how the experience using analytics and automated reconciliations are key aspects and expectations of advertisers and media buyers.

As a provider of credit to cash services and 3 rd party collections, we have been working with the media industry extensively. Going back to print media when distribution and advertising were local and a few large media buyers made the difference in revenue for TV, newspaper, magazines and stores or postal carrier were ultimately the path to an end consumer. Some of the same customer needs apply even with the major advancements through digital transformation. As we have grown to expect deeper insights though analytics, transparency in billing is now the most critical component of the relationship. Our job these days is to provide the solutions and recovery to accelerate cash flow for our clients and preserve relationships with advertisers. There are similarities from the print media days but with some major differences in efficiency, effectiveness and the incorporation into digital platforms.

What has changed in credit and collections for Media and Entertainment credit to cash?

What has changed besides everything for me, as an analyst, is the risk. With so many platforms and small transactions, the risk element in credit has increased substantially. With delinquency rising based upon the aggregate amount of these small transactions, how do you recover small balances, which can equate very meaningful margin? The answer comes in the form of strategic VS non-strategic work and a wealth of automation. Top customers need the most handholding and with limited resources, much of your focus should be with the top tier of revenue producing clients. That however doesn’t mean to leave the smaller customers waiting in the wings. Today, small customers account for strategic revenue: This is where we talk about the value of outsourcing and how the non-strategic work gains benefits for a platform based credit to cash process. This also works with 3 rd party collections in an industry-defined partnership to provide a soft approach to customer collections and bringing attention to the customer, focusing on reconciliation and resolution. Besides collecting your revenue, providing a high level of customer service counts!

Why are there so many disputes in advertising collections?

We have a wealth of industry information at our fingertips and root causes come from both our outsourcing and 3 rd party collections clients. The straight answer is lack of information. Some may say disputes are a stall based upon cash flow problems, but that’s not a dispute, that a different problem entirely. Essentially, if the advertiser doesn’t see a sales spike, they assume the ad didn’t run and why would they pay for an ad that didn’t run? So it is our job to build a relationship with the customer, form trust and provide meaningful information, which results in payment. This goes beyond emailing an invoice which is the reason why advertisers will treat us with priority in both reconciliation of disputes, poor cash flow or even just as a matter of process.

Keeping the relationship alive

So let’s focus on a key equation in the credit to cash cycle: To keep your advertisers, keep them satisfied. The customer experience has to be held in the highest regard when dealing in the media space. Your customers need your platforms and quite frankly, you need them. Focus on your customers in the credit to cash process. It doesn’t matter if captive, in-house, outsource or 3 rd party collections. Finding the balance of resolution is good business. Of course all the analytics available help focus upon the customer’s ability to pay and determine probability of payment. Why not use the same to determine accuracy of dispute validity? If truly a financial issue, this is just another way to find solutions for your customers and your business alike. Loyalty comes from going the extra mile, and while it’s our job to collect accounts receivable, creative solutions and partnership bring payment faster than write offs or use of the wrong tactics. Sometimes you just have to pick up the phone and talk to your customer. A strange concept these days I know, but the most effective and appreciated.

Frank Carino, Strategic Business Development

Patient Experience Across Revenue Cycle Management

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Patient Experience Across Revenue Cycle Management: It Counts in Cash

Over the 18 years I’ve been in the healthcare outsourcing field of RCM, I’ve learned efficiency in healthcare billing doesn’t have to be complicated. Although many trends have come and gone, there are 5 key rules that drive highly successful people to consistently exceed expectations and are very straightforward, more so than you may imagine. So let’s count it down:

  • 5. Cohesion – Values and culture act as a North Star on the path to accomplishing our goals. Aligning outsource partners with your internal values creates a unified team with vision and priorities. In our case, as a RCM outsourcing provider, we adopt and look to absorb our client’s culture. A successful partnership is cohesive and transparent with effective communication and trust flowing in both directions.
  • 4. Expertise – Of course, this seems straightforward but healthcare business process outsourcing is immensely encompassing when we delve a little deeper. True expertise in healthcare RCM goes far beyond the hard mechanics such as compliance and efficiency. True expertise includes factors such as empathy (identifying with patients on a personal level, understand to what they are going through). It is having the emotional acumen to respectfully guide a positive resolution, helping the patients, their families and our partners to smoothly navigate the path to recovery.
  • 3. Technology – Pressure will continue to be applied to budgets driving the need for efficiency, automation, and analytics providing insight to the changing conditions ahead. With the right platform effectiveness of a team can be realized, quantified and refined. With the proper balance of People, Process and Technology phenomenal performance gains can be made. Though, in seeking efficacy multipliers such as these, it is important to never lose sight of the patient relationship.
  • 2. Relationship – With the easing of manual processes, it is crucial to leverage human capital intelligently. Performance in the healthcare RCM space and the patient relationship are directly intertwined. The key, focusing the right resources where they count and in turn driving the most valuable level of care and relationship to successfully cure past due balances. The better the patient relationship, the better the payment metrics. The better the payment metrics, the better the client relationship. 

    As we know, patient satisfaction is highly correlated to a patient’s choice physician and facility should they require care in the future. Which leads us to rule #1:

  • 1. Patient Experience – Parents, grandparents, spouses, friends, family and loved ones. The person on the other side of phone calls or correspondence may be anyone these, and under a different set of circumstances it could be you or me on the other side this exchange. Make the conversation matter. Make it bigger than just a call to recover a bill. Raising the bar to what a positive patient experience is. All of the previous rules lead to this point. Patient Experience is the number one priority which multiplies all others including desire to pay. Focus on delivering an informative, helpful, compliant, valuable and pleasant patient experience and all other key metrics will rise as well
  • Patient Experience is the key to greater collections in healthcare, and through my 18 years in the field, these are the essentials to excelling in Revenue Cycle Management that I’ve found most effective for our clients, our teams and myself.

    – Erin Wilson, Healthcare BPO Project Manager of VWi

Customer Centric Solutions

Listening and Understanding Counts in Collections 

For all of us in the services industry, especially my realm of 3rd Party and Order to Cash Outsourcing, the relationship and the trust to solve complex problems is one, which can be missed during the buying cycle. I often realize though the complexity of day-to-day business how critical true partnership is and one, which should not be forgotten in the crucial matching of the supplier relationship.

My main focus, as an owner of the client / customer experience, it is my job to take the complex issues and turn them into quick solutions for our clients. In the world of 3rd party collection and being the support mechanism between creditor and debtor, this can be a challenge. Over the years I have learned to hone my skills and bring experience plus practical solutions for our customer service team, customer and ultimately their customers as a solution provider. This requires a skill, which seems to be lost in some sense, listening and understanding.

Most of the issues and resolution in credit and collections comes in the form of a dispute or financial difficulty on the debtor’s part. While we are at our best when solving a client problem, working with a debtor maybe challenging and our collectors need the support of their client liaison to accelerate a solution evolving our client. In some cases the added stress and pressure to make good on a large balance due and the personal attachment to a business can bring forward some interesting attempts to contort and distort the real issues. As our collection associates and clients provide vast amounts of data and analysis, we need to take into consideration some of the most important traits of working with multiple groups and ultimately, people. The facts and data provide us with the starting point and deductive reasoning and a good network of skilled solutions oriented resources the rest. The needs for these skills and the ability to have mutual trust through actions are sometimes missed in our industry but for me a clear differentiator in the services industry.

Practical thinking and passion for delivering to the client a quality of service with the right construct to their expectations is not an easy task. But spending your time and effort to understand these needs and expectations goes a long way in clearing the path for a long-term partnership. I have spent many hours with our clients, which are valuable hours as to get the process right and ultimately time and cost of ownership savings for both. Understanding their business and listening to their needs as I stated is unfortunately becoming a lost practice as more and more need for speed drives assumptions and ready-made answers. Grounding ourselves in this service based economy and respecting the needs of the mutual business partners and customers is crucial to best business practice.

As a day in the life of working in a fast paced environment and making each customer a priority can be a challenge in most businesses but mutual investments have been made and value relative to revenue large and small can be made a priority. A careful selection of resources aligned to delivering what has been promised and load balancing your infrastructure, as an investment to serve the client is a simplified way of making sure all inquires and issues are handled as designed with the client. Additionally providing the right working environment to reduce turnover and unplanned change is your risk prevention. Change occurs, people move on but the right people grow with your business and clients long term. Your back up plan, always a highly skilled team to move up and continue the consistent quality of service and relationship always..

When specialization is required, collaboration between all is enabled by good customer practices and bringing forward the best solutions and skills. Trying to do it alone will not strengthen relationships but quickly result in disappointment. It has been my 15+ years mission to have this careful attention to detail delivered in each client engagement by using a full network of people and tools to not be seen as the king of all customer service but a practitioner of bridging relationships for the best outcomes. Networking people and the growing of relationships is truly the best part of all, isn’t it?

Some lessons learned across the way of working with diverse customers, sectors, and people globally which I would say are attributes which make for great experiences. My favorite part of all engagement is the respect, which comes with giving respect and gaining the accolades from positive customer retention through solid outcomes. While service providers such as us in 3rd party collections or providing an outsource service can generally be the deciding factor on revenue recognition, reduced write offs or the hand holding agents through a legal process, listening and understanding are what count in professional and personal success. Automation increases the speed of delivery but personalization and care keep a client and bring business growth.

-Matt Stachkunas, Customer Service Manager