„If suddenly, for whatever reason, we couldn’t access our company’s nearly 200 million documents, it would be a catastrophe.“
Georg Gfrerer, UNIQA
No more bottlenecks through powerful document conversion
Document management (DM) is a sensitive issue at UNIQA: Approximately 10,000 employees access more than 200 million policies, damage reports, and letters, etc. for processing. One critical factor for the business is the system’s processing speed. To safeguard against delays or failures, the insurance group built its DM system on a state-of-the-art technological base – that includes DocBridge Mill Plus, for powerful conversion of high-volume files.
40 Million new documents annually
Swift project implementation
More than 10 Million customers
Wide range of data formats
What can you do when your company’s document management system has reached its limits and is on the point of failure? For UNIQA, one of the largest insurers in Central and Eastern Europe, it was time to ponder a fundamental upgrade. DocBridge Mill Plus, the conversion solution developed by Compart, had a key role in that process. Compart’s partner Docolution implemented the complex requirements for UNIQA.
“If suddenly, for whatever reason, we couldn’t access our company’s nearly 200 million documents, it would be a catastrophe.” Thanks to professional operations and constant technological advancement, this worst-case scenario never came to pass for the UNIQA Group, one of the largest insurance companies in Central and Eastern Europe (see box 1). Georg Gfrerer, CEO of UNIQA IT-Services GmbH, is alluding to one of the company’s pain points: UNIQA runs a document management system that employees need to access anytime and anywhere, including from the country companies.
And the documents come in many different formats, ranging from PDF and HTML to the traditional image formats (PNG, TIFF, JPEG, GIF, BMP, etc.). So reliable conversion is needed to display every type of document in the desired format. Not only is speed a concern (on-the-fly) but also bandwidth: Several thousand users must be able to access the documents simultaneously.
In that regard, UNIQA’s old system had reached its limits, not to mention that its Web interface was based on Java applets, a technology that fewer and fewer browsers support. Because the manufacturer of the old system simply had not developed it further, it was clear that UNIQA needed to extricate itself from this technological dead end.
They decided to base the Web front end for the document management system (DMS) entirely on a modern and forward-looking technology. The system also needed to retain its usual, user-friendly operation.
Together with Docolution GmbH (www.docolution.com), a proven expert in software and services for customer communication and document output management, the real-time conversion component was integrated into the document management system on the basis of DocBridge Mill Plus.
The scalable and platform-independent solution developed by Compart, Docolution’s partner of many years, is the tried-and-true “Swiss Army knife” of document conversion and a key player in this use case. Working closely with UNIQA’s development team, Docolution embarked on fine-tuning the rather complex requirements.
40 Million new documents annually
Considering the sheer volume of documents in the insurance company, you can well imagine how powerful the new DMS – with DocBridge Mill Plus as a core element – must be. Consider the following example. Every year, about 40 million new documents need to be saved in the system: policies, damage notices/reports, applications, legal correspondence, etc. Not only are these documents in different formats but the volume of data they contain is usually very high. One of the strengths of DocBridge Mill Plus is the ability to handle high-volume files easily, which in turn ensures fast and uncomplicated access.
And that’s not all. The employees also have to annotate the documents with comments, sign them, combine them in an electronic record, archive them in read-only form and, if necessary, forward them to different parties (incl. technical experts, lawyers, legal authorities).
So an employee in claims settlement, for example, selects the relevant files (e.g., correspondence, photos, scans) in DMS, stamps them electronically, adds any needed graphic or text comments, and merges them into an electronic record. Pages and comments can be scaled, rotated, mirrored and inverted. The result is a compressed, annotated PDF that can be printed and sent electronically.
Constructive and swift project implementation
The employees like the broad functionality of DocBridge Mill Plus, which extends well beyond simple conversion. The processing speed of the Compart solution is the biggest advantage. “It can be seamlessly integrated into existing structures, which is a big plus,” adds Georg Gfrerer. UNIQA did consider open-source software alternatives, but ultimately decided that a commercial, state-of-the-art solution was the best route – based on investment security alone (ongoing future development).
The implementation of the new DMS Web front end itself went very quickly. After the work was commissioned at the end of 2016 and the subsequent proof of concept (PoC), the initial prototype of the new DMS was available the following spring. An extremely comprehensive test phase, which brought to light further optimization potential, was then conducted on the Web front-end level as well as on the interfaces to the mainframe applications.
Georg Gfrerer praised the excellent cooperation between Docolution and the employees of UNIQA Raiffeisen Software Service, the Romanian subsidiary of UNIQA IT Services (UITS), the company’s internal IT operation. “From the very beginning, communication was very constructive and certainly a factor in the project’s success.”
Gfrerer also welcomed the constant exchange of ideas. Problems were usually resolved within 24 hours, and there were employees dedicated to processing, prioritizing, and monitoring tickets. Overall, the entire Docolution team stood wholeheartedly behind the project, added the manager.
In July of 2015, the modernized DMS went into production in the key areas. Other departments came on board gradually. In the meantime, 10,000 users are working with the new system. Most of the development was done by UNIQA Raiffeisen Software Service in Cluj (Romania). UNIQA IT Services und Docolution in Vienna were responsible for the implementation.
UNIQA Insurance Group AG
The UNIQA Insurance Group AG (UNIQA, for short) is the parent company of one of the largest insurance companies in Austria, the UNIQA Group. As an administrative and sales organization, UNIQA runs the indirect business for the operational insurance companies of the group and is the main reinsurer. Company headquarters is located in UNIQA Tower in Vienna.
The UNIQA Group has approximately 40 insurance companies in 19 countries in Central and Eastern Europe and serves more than 10 million customers (incl. in Austria, Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Hungary). There are more than 20,000 UNIQA employees, 6,000 of whom work in Austria. It also maintains numerous sales partnerships.
On December 31, 2016, the Group’s total assets were 33.63 billion euros. With UNIQA and Raiffeisen Versicherung, the Group has the two strongest insurance brands in Austria. UNIQA has repeatedly been voted the most trusted brand in Austria.
In light of increasing digitalization in the insurance business and the concomitant changes in the related business processes, UNIQA has launched the largest renewal program in its history. The investment of approximately 500 million euros is earmarked for the redesign of its business model, employee competence development, and the necessary IT systems.