W&W Gruppe rips through Its backlog in record time with RPA
Wüstenrot & Württembergische (W&W Gruppe) is a financial services conglomerate serving approximately six million customers in Germany. For many decades, it has served as a “pillar of strength” helping customers with insurance (life, health, property, casualty, pensions), financing (home loans, construction loans, and commercial financing), and other financial services.
In 2016, W&W uncovered about four years’ worth of backlog in one of its departments that has been growing year over year. The W&W Center of Excellence team and the top management—dedicated to process improvement—realized the department simply did not have the workforce to reduce the backlog on its own. The COE began investigating RPA, and after evaluating multiple vendors, determined that Automation Anywhere was the right automation vendor that could address their specific needs.
Tasks processed by Bots
Months to reduce a 4-year backlog
Hours saved per reimbursement document
“Our employees understood that RPA really helps them to focus on what’s very important—our customers.”
-Christian Wolf, Head of Business Organization and Process for RPA and leader of the Center of Excellence, The W&W Gruppe
In 2016, W&W COE started to work with Automation Anywhere on deploying RPA to automate several insurance processes in the life insurance department. 18 bots were deployed from August 2016 to December 2016 and, within four months, eliminated the four years of claims backlog. After this significant success, more organizations turned to W&W’s COE team for automation implementation in their areas.
Insurance claims processing
Regulatory compliance validation
in life insurance
THE WHOLE STORY
The insurance and financial services businesses are complicated and generate a high volume of processes and paperwork. A Center of Excellence (COE) within the W&W Group was tasked with process improvements within the company and discovered that one department had amassed four years’ worth of backlog in claims processing.
The COE, together with management, saw an opportunity to implement RPA as a solution for the backlog. Before a process could be running, human processors had to examine the contract for each customer and check it against a regulatory sheet, which was maintained in Excel. Automation Anywhere was first engaged to create a software ‘bot’ that automated that step, removing human error and helped to run the process extremely fast. The first deployments were successful: in the insurance departments, the bots removed that time-consuming task and enabled employees to spend more time serving customers. The COE achieved early buy-in by seeking input from employees throughout the process so that their end-user experience could be worked into the bot solution.
The COE hosted internal “roadshows” to demonstrate the power of RPA and invited all employees to see for themselves that, for example, a process that took someone 20 minutes now could be done in two minutes with a bot. These sessions also dispelled fears that people would be replaced by automation; W&W has not eliminated one position in four years of using bots. Instead, bots made employees’ jobs easier.
The case for RPA was made. Since 2016, W&W has automated more than 50 processes and counting.
RPA has been so successful at W&W that the company now allows departments to build their own bots under the direction of the COE. This is sourcing new ideas for innovation from every level of the company. The COVID-19 pandemic has made employees realize that process automation is needed now more than ever.
W&W is excited about leveraging Process Discovery by the end of 2020 to refine company processes even more. The COE focuses on process mining, and Discovery Bot can reduce the amount of time the team spends analyzing processes.
“That’s the most interesting thing about RPA—it can really be used in every department.”
-Christian Wolf, The W&W Gruppe
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