less drive has hit a pair of grand slams. The company
initially purchased two cabinets, with Bennett and
Krooglik thinking they would be needed regardless.
But when employees started using them to store
their purses and other objects, “We decided it was
time—they had to go,” Bennett says. “We sold them,
and we used the money to pay for our staff Christmas
Embrace is a bit different than most insurers in
that although the company processes applications, is-
sues policies, processes claims and handles customer
inquiries, it doesn’t underwrite the policies. Instead,
it acts as a pet insurance program manager, handing
off the insurance risk to RLI Corp. “We do everything
an insurance company does regarding interacting
with customers,” says Bennett, whose background
includes experience in asset-liability management,
strategic planning and business development at The
Canada Life Assurance Company.
Bennett offers some advice to other insurers con-
sidering a paperless strategy, cautioning against mak-
ing inefficient paper-based processes paper-free. “If
you just copy what you did in the paper world, you
could be wasting your time.”
Instead, she recommends taking a broader view.
“Being paperless is just a step in the process. It’s a
great way to make your processes more efficient,
because things like barcoding and faxing save time.
There’s a lot of inexpensive technology out there that
can help. For instance, we took a barcode reader and
put it onto our CRM system as an interface” to speed
up the processing of incoming claim forms.
It’s not surprising that Embrace is expanding at a
greyhound’s pace. One reason is that the pet insurance business overall is growing at a 25-percent annual clip, according to an estimate by consumer goods
market research firm Packaged Facts.
To help meet that growth, Embrace recently conducted a search for a full-time IT staffer. Although
resumes are important, for the sharp-eyed Bennett,
who is in her second term as Chairman of the Board
of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, choosing employees often has as much to
do with how candidates behave as how they look on
“I knew this one candidate was the right fit for
Embrace when I saw him waiting in the lobby,” she
says. “He didn’t think anyone was watching when he
pulled dog biscuits from his suit pocket to feed our
employees’ dogs that were in for the day. He’s a dog
lover, and he happened to have some treats handy.
He also has a cat, a turtle and a guinea pig.”
Doug Bartholomew is a freelance business writer
based in Berkeley, Calif.
Different types of content presents a number
of unique challenges when it comes to its management.
And, some organizations are struggling to achieve the
vision of a single enterprise content management
(ecM) system—one that manages all types of content
across the whole enterprise, according to the Association for information and image Management’s (AiiM)
“state of the ecM industry 2011.” However, the vision
of “a single source of information for all” can be achieved
through many different strategies. it may involve linking
repositories, integrating applications and implementing
for the report, AiiM surveyed 650 individual
members of the AiiM community— 7 percent represented the insurance industry. fifty percent of all
respondents described their management of instant
messages as “chaotic,” 31 percent felt the same about
emails, and 28 percent said the same for Microsoft
office documents, making “content chaos” the biggest
trigger-factor for buying or replacing ecM systems.
AiiM’s tracking over the years shows that lack of
confidence in the accuracy, accessibility and trustworthiness of electronic information has remained at 40
percent. However, there is a three-fold improvement in
confidence from those who have implemented a full
ecM system, dropping from 62 percent with no
system, to 20 percent with a system.
Also, 56 percent of the survey respondents are
“slightly confident” or “not confident” that e-mails
documenting commitments and obligations are
recorded, complete and retrievable. for those with a
full ecM system, this drops to 32 percent compared to
66 percent for those without, indicating that e-mails
still represent a challenge, even for those with a wide
Looking at different content types, the most
chaotic types of content are tweets, instant messages, external blog posts and e-mail attachments. in
AiiM’s experience, instant messages are increasingly
being used within the organization to agree or confirm
actions. This bypassing of the e-mail system, poorly
recorded as it might be, creates considerable potential
for lack of continuity and poor audit trails.
The least “chaotic” type of content is paper
records, followed closely by scanned documents,
suggesting that traditional imaging systems are
generally well-implemented and well-managed.