LEAN Techniques Cut Claim File Processing Time in Half
CATIC has been providing high-quality professional services to its policy-issuing attorneys, insured lenders and home-buyers, and other members of the real estate community for more than 50 years. CATIC is an underwriting member of the American Land Title Association (ALTA), the New England Land Title Association (NELTA) and the North American Bar-Related® Title Insurers.
CATIC offers standard ALTA policies and expanded protection policies for both residential and commercial properties, and annually insures mortgages issued by more than 1,300 lending institutions. For its stability and dependability in the market, CATIC has earned a B++, Stable from A.M. Best, an A’ rating from Demotech, and a BBB+ rating from Kroll Bond Ratings.
CATIC has offices throughout New England and in Florida and issues its policies through a network of more than 2,000 attorney agents. The company currently operates in Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Its sister company, CATIC Title Insurance Company (CATIC), is licensed in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Jim Czapiga, President and CEO, CATIC and CATIC Title, established a 2020 Vision which stated, “Through a network of independent title agents, become the largest regional title insurance company east of the Mississippi in terms of gross written premiums by December 31, 2020.”
To support this key strategic effort, Damon Carter, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, recommended utilizing LEAN methodologies to begin cultivating a continuous improvement mindset amongst all employees across the organization. According to Mr. Carter, “In addition to identifying various productivity improvements, LEAN provides a dynamic set of tools for driving employee engagement and facilitating change management effectively.” With the approval and full support of the senior leadership team, the company decided to establish a strategic partnership with CONNSTEP to begin implementing LEAN practices at CATIC.
CATIC recognized that the journey to achieving its growth goal would require greater efficiencies with its claim file processes. The Rocky Hill, Connecticut office took the initiative to look at ways to reduce the amount of time it took to open and deliver a claim file as well as reduce the volume of paper used in the process. To help bring about that outcome, CATIC’s Senior Business Analyst, Chris Cooper, participated in the Continuous Improvement Champion Certification (CICC) program. The CICC program is conducted by CONNSTEP, the state’s leading LEAN consulting firm, which strategically enables companies in Connecticut to grow their businesses and improve operational methodologies.
A mentored project is part of the curriculum of the CICC program. For his project, Mr. Cooper’s business case was in direct alignment with CATIC’s 2020 Vision Growth goals. His problem statement indicated that claim files have an average processing lead time of 2 days and 89 minutes which negatively impacts paralegals, finance, claimants, and agents. Essentially cutting the processing time in half was one of his stated goals.
As part of the CICC project, a series of current state and future state continuous improvement exercises were conducted. This included value stream mapping (VSM), spaghetti diagrams, cycle time vs. takt time, observations, kaizen bursts, and improvements.
The current state VSM uncovered several unnecessary steps, with data entry taking the longest time in the process. Future state questions reassured staff that the new process would not turn their jobs upside down and focused on workload, flow, improvements, and concerns.
Kaizen bursts were helpful in identifying what the office wanted to change and what the solutions were. More automation was introduced into the process where its application would be most beneficial, such as adding scanners directly within the administration area to reduce processing time.
Goal metrics were set and they were either met or exceeded. Most notably, the total processing time in the claims department of the Rocky Hill CATIC office was reduced by 50% from the previous average processing time. And it beat the stated goal by more than a half hour.
These are the metrics accomplished from this LEAN continuous improvement project:
There was some initial resistance to the idea of implementing continuous improvement measures at CATIC. According to Chris Cooper, “The team was initially reluctant to believe that LEAN principles could be successfully applied in our work environment. I explained to them that, like manufacturing companies, each office has numerous processes and various opportunities for continuous improvement.”
Through this project, the CATIC Rocky Hill office was able to streamline its claim file processing time, virtually eliminate paper usage, and create capacity to accommodate future growth. Cooper added, “team members have embraced LEAN and continue to present more ideas on their own for additional process improvements.” Attention has now turned to improving the onboarding process of new hires, including increasing digitization and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
Although the project is done, it is key to sustain the activities resulting from it. And CATIC is doing just that. From weekly meetings, to standardizing work, to documenting new processes, and tweaking where necessary, significant progress has been made to make the company more efficient and more productive.
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