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Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) for Insurance

Automating underwriting and claims intake for insurance providers


Increase capacity and reduce costs by automating insurance processes involving unstructured documents, including submission triage, underwriting, claims, and more

Property & casualty insurance providers know the business relies on vast numbers of documents and images, whether for underwriting, servicing policies, processing claims, or claims adjudication and subrogation. At the same time, providers are pursuing digital transformation efforts, searching ways to automate document processing for property & casualty insurance.

It’s a tall order because many of the documents contain unstructured data, making them difficult to deal with using insurance workflow automation approaches that rely on keywords, rule-based methods and templates. What’s required is an unstructured data intake platform that uses artificial intelligence technologies to “read” unstructured documents much as your employees do. Such a system makes it possible to automate processing of insurance submission documents and claims, bringing immediate value to all P&C insurance lines, from auto and home to commercial, workers’ compensation, and more.

Consider how an AI-based platform enables companies to automate the insurance submission triage process. Rather than having associates open emails and myriad attachments, intelligent document processing for claims processing does it for them. The model can “read” each email, open any attachments, and categorize all relevant documents. It can also extract key data values and format them for entry into downstream underwriting systems. 

By automating the submission process, insurers can tackle more requests with the same workforce, reduce submission backlogs and underwriting leakage and generate more revenue.

Property & Casualty Insurance process automation key benefits

Capacity expansion

Grow property & casualty revenue without adding expense

Cycle time improvements

Get work done faster, from underwriting to claims processing

Increase efficiency:

Free up employee time for higher-value work

Knowledge capture:

Codify and streamline property & casualty processes

Compete effectively:

With stalwarts and insurtech startups alike

Customer satisfaction:

Improve customer response time

Limitations of early P&C insurance automation attempts

For years P&C insurers have been trying to automate various processes with limited success. That’s because these attempts often used rule- or template-based approaches that don’t work well with the unstructured data that dominates P&C insurance processes.


The commercial insurance underwriting process, for example,  involves collecting various documents describing the property in question, so the underwriter can accurately assign a value to it and calculate replacement costs.


Customers may submit various forms to aid in this value analysis, many of them in unstructured and sometimes complex formats, including PDFs and Word documents as well as photographs. Typically, a front-desk team reviews these documents as they arrive, typically by email. The team reads each document looking for relevant information, then rekeys it  into a downstream underwriting system.

This data entry job is labor-intensive, time-consuming, and monotonous, making it prone to error. That’s why P&C providers have been trying to automate it, initially by using rule- and template-based approaches that look for specific keywords.

Such an approach is all but futile given all the unstructured data involved in the P&C underwriting process. Templates and rules work only on highly structured data; they rely on the data being in the same place from one document to the next.

Learn how MetLife Found $100M in Savings by Applying intelligent Document Processing to Unstructured Data


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What about OCR and RPA?

Optical character recognition (OCR) is another approach often touted as a P&C insurance process automation solution. OCR is a machine learning technology that can be used to convert documents such as PDFs into a machine-readable format. While that’s useful, it doesn’t address how to extract the relevant data.

Using robotic process automation (RPA) for P&C insurance likewise suffers from limitations when it comes to unstructured data. As its name implies, RPA uses software robots to repeatedly perform highly structured and repetitive tasks involving the same keystrokes.

But that’s not how the P&C underwriting process works. It requires a human to read documents and make judgments about which data to extract. Any other P&C insurance process involving unstructured data, which is most of them, will suffer the same fate regarding OCR and RPA. (RPA can complement intelligent document processing in insurance automation, more on that below).

P&C Insurance process automation with Indico

Indico Data’s approach to intelligent document processing in insurance is fundamentally different from RPA and templated approaches because Indico can understand document context much like a human does. Our unstructured data intake platform is built on top of a database containing 500 million labeled data points – enough to enable it to understand human language and context. It would take the largest P&C insurance carrier years to accumulate that much data and build its own model.

Intelligent Document Processing for P&C Insurance Providers: use cases

IDP can be applied to a number of property & casualty insurance use cases and in a variety of insurance categories, including:

  • Auto
  • Homeowner’s
  • Condominium
  • Renters
  • Landlords
  • Commercial property
  • Workers’ compensation
  • “Toys” including boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, RVs, golf carts

Submissions and Underwriting

Automating the P&C insurance underwriting process requires reviewing numerous documents, with relevant data extracted and entered into a downstream processing system. An effective intelligent document processing solution automates processes by “reading” these documents much like a human would find the relevant data. It can also automate data extraction and data entry, saving an untold number of hours to dedicate to more valuable work.

P&C insurance policies

Numerous processes may be involved in servicing a P&C insurance policy over its lifetime, including:

  • Initial policy processing and printing
  • Processing any endorsements or riders to add, delete or otherwise change coverages
  • Audits to ensure P&C premiums are based on the correct level of potential exposure
  • Handling customer queries about their policies or claims

Many of these processes involve dealing with various forms of documentation, making them ripe for intelligent document processing.

First notice of loss (FNOL)

The claims process is rife with documents coming in from various stakeholders, including customers, adjusters, brokers, appraisers and more. The documents may arrive via email, fax, websites, or traditional mail. Here again, the traditional manual process requires claims representatives to review the documents to find relevant data and manually enter it into the claims processing system.

The P&C claims process involves numerous steps including:

  • Accepting the initial claim (FNOL)
  • Validating the coverages in the insured’s policy
  • Assignment of an adjustor to validate the claim
  • Assignment of reserves to fund the claim
  • Disbursal of payment when the claim is settled

Many of these steps are transactional in nature, involving discrete steps and document reviews. Intelligent document processing for claims processing can help automate the review of a FNOL, including the document review process, extraction of key data points, and setting up the claim in a P&C claims management tool. It can also validate that all required data is present before sending the claim to an adjuster. Simple claims may be automated end-to-end based on pre-defined business rules, perhaps with only a final review and sign-off required at the end of the process.

Claims analysis

The claim adjudication and subrogation process likewise consists of a number of steps that can be at least partially automated, including:

  • Claim validation, or the process through which the company decides that a claim is legitimate
  • Verifying proof of loss, through documentation, photos and interviews
  • Determining whether the firm can subrogate the claim and recover some losses
  • Investigating the claim to ensure it is not fraudulent
  • Legal review of the claim to ensure compliance

Applying intelligent document processing to claims processing can speed resolution of the claim, thus improving customer satisfaction.

How IPA complements RPA

For some P&C insurance automation use cases it may make sense to use robotic process automation to complement IDP.

RPA works well on processes that are highly deterministic in nature and involve structured data. In that sense, it’s well-suited to automating repetitive tasks, making a process less labor-intensive for humans. IDP, on the other hand, is able to automate processes that involve unstructured data.

A common IDP and RPA use case, then, is to use IDP to “read” unstructured data and translate it into a structured format before handling it off to an RPA tool. For example, the RPA tool may perform the initial document intake, then send the documents to an IDP tool for classification and data extraction. The IDP platform can then translate the extracted data into a structured format, such as a spreadsheet. The RPA tool can then take the now-structured data and automate the process of entering it into a downstream system, such as a claims processing system.

P&C Insurance process automation: key benefits

It’s challenging for P&C providers to keep up with business requirements under the best of circumstances. But it’s imperative if firms are to achieve digital transformation. Indico’s intelligent document processing platform helps you take a big step in the digital transformation journey while delivering significant benefits, including:

Capacity expansion:

Automation enables P&C adjusters, appraisers, examiners, investigators and other employees to be more productive, enabling the company to increase revenue without adding headcount.

Cycle time improvements:

Automating P&C insurance processes empowers companies to get work done faster, even while increasing accuracy.

Increase efficiency:

By automating mundane tasks, you can free up employee time for more rewarding work that’s also more valuable for the company.

Knowledge capture:

Part of the value of a P&C insurance process automation exercise is codifying processes that may have existed for years with no formal agreement on how they are supposed to work. It’s also an opportunity to streamline processes to make them more effective.

Compete effectively:

Intelligent document processing ultimately makes your organization more competitive, putting you on equal footing with the most nimble insuretech startups and largest industry players alike.

Customer satisfaction:

Customer expectations are at an all-time high. Intelligent document processing allows P&C providers to exceed client demands by improving the speed and accuracy they can react to customer needs.

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