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Case Study

Old Mutual Pays 99% of Funeral Claims in Less Than 8 Hours

43% improvement in one-day payments
3 months to implement and generate value
500 employees use Chorus daily across the business
"I've been delighted to see my team celebrating the benefits of Chorus in public forums. Chorus is becoming the one-stop shop that helps us understand where each case is in the process and is an important tool for customer communications.”"
Craig Bestall Head of corporate administration and servicing, Old Mutual

In 1845, Old Mutual was established to offer financial security in uncertain times. They’re South Africa’s oldest mutual life insurance company and offer services like personal finance and insurance products for clients across a diverse range of income levels. The company aims to help customers thrive by delivering innovative products and services. Old Mutual is focused on innovating business operations too and recently moved several of their systems and services to an Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud environment. This shift has enabled them to reimagine key business processes and better serve their customers.

Maximizing the Benefits of BPM

Old Mutual Corporate has a longstanding relationship with SS&C Blue Prism and has utilized SS&C | Blue Prism® Chorus business process management (BPM) to streamline workflows for many years. Recently, as a part of their shift to the cloud, Old Mutual teamed up with SS&C Blue Prism to execute a large project to upgrade to the most recent version of Chorus and to migrate over 30 years of data and documents to the cloud. Since nearly 500 employees use Chorus daily, the project team immediately got to work promoting new benefits like increased service response times and enhanced communication capabilities. And the team helped their colleagues understand exactly how to make the most of the new capabilities. Once employees were comfortable with their new way of working, the team turned their focus to reengineering existing processes.

Re-Engineering a Critical Client Process

When selecting the first process to re-engineer, Old Mutual’s administrative team looked for one that would provide immediate and impactful benefits to clients. Funeral insurance claims were an obvious choice, especially after the extreme difficulties experienced during the global pandemic.

The company aimed to pay funeral-related claims as quickly as possible to ensure funding didn’t get in the way of families moving forward with funeral services for their loved ones. However, it was difficult to process the claims within the industry’s standard 48-hour timeframe due to the manual nature of the process. Employees had to manually monitor the claims’ mailboxes, download the information, print it to a PDF, and then upload the documentation for indexing and additional processing.

Since many South African families bury their loved ones within just a few days, having rapid access to funds is key. Often payments were slow in reaching families and communications were inconsistent, which led to poor customer experience.

Rapid Turnaround Time Improves Customer Experience

In just three months, the combined Old Mutual and SS&C Blue Prism project team completely re-engineered the funeral claims process. The secret to success was taking a step back to review the process from end to end and have honest conversations about any potential roadblocks like resource constraints, appropriate IT knowledge, and clear project timeline definitions. The project team made sure to involve key stakeholders early to add value to the conversations and help the team achieve its goal.

I want to sincerely convey my gratitude to your department for their fantastic service in paying this funeral claim in such a short period of time. I really wish other insurers could see how super-efficient SuperFund funerals are and that they too could learn from yourselves and follow your example of efficiency.”
Old Mutual Customer

The blend of technical expertise and business knowledge from Old Mutual and SS&C Blue Prism ensures that the new funeral claims process now runs quickly and effortlessly. When a family needs access to funding from a funeral policy, they submit a claim form to Old Mutual, which is automatically routed to Chorus for review. Next, Chorus confirms key information from outside agencies, first checking with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm the claimant’s death. This is a welcome service for family members since they’re not required to request and submit a death certificate. Chorus also checks with the client’s bank to confirm account details so that the payments can be made directly to the account. Additional validation checks occur in Compass, Old Mutual’s internal policy administration system, to ensure the correct beneficiary receives payment. If the claim passes each of these validation steps, the claim is submitted to Compass for immediate payment. If any issues arise, the claim is sent to a servicing tray in Chorus and investigated by an employee. Once validated by the employee, the claim goes back into Chorus for completion and payment. Each claim is given a unique reference number which allows Chorus to send out automatic responses to customers, keeping them apprised of their claim’s progress.

Old Mutual Funeral Claim Payment Process

The results of this new process have been stunning — 99% of funeral claims are paid within eight hours of receipt with most of them being paid within four hours. The turnaround time has improved by 43% and has significantly enhanced the customer experience. In fact, customers are so pleased with the new process that they’ve directly contacted Old Mutual to thank them. As a result, the company has increased operational efficiency and redeployed employees who previously handled these claims to other areas of the business.

What's Next for Old Mutual?

South Africa is moving to a new method of disbursing retirement funds where clients will be allowed to access a small amount of their retirement savings once a year without a penalty.

This means Old Mutual will need to issue nearly 400,000 payments in differing amounts each year. The volume would be impossible to manage without hiring many new employees, so Old Mutual plans to use Chorus to orchestrate those payments. Since the corporate administrative team has seen the success of the re-engineered funeral claims process, they now have a long list of other processes to evaluate and re-imagine in order to generate greater business efficiencies.

It's been an incredibly great journey to witness, and this is just the start. We've got some great building blocks in place and some important learnings from the funeral claims process. This will be extremely helpful when we move into new programs with claims that have much higher volumes, workflows and benefits.”
Craig Bestall Head of corporate administration and servicing, Old Mutual

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