July 18, 2012
As a company obsessed with our relationship with our Embraced pet parents, we have been going through a painful experience over the last few months as we work to improve our claims process.
To put it plainly, the time it takes to process an Embrace claim has been far too long and in many cases well over the 15 business days we promise our pet parents. This is not like Embrace; not like us at all.
In the spirit of openness and honesty, I thought I'd go over how this happened and what we are doing about it so everyone is in the loop. This is not about excuses (because in the end, it's just not good enough; there are no excuses long enough for that), I'm just presenting the situation as it happened and what you can expect going forward.
During Spring 2012 and through until now, we've experienced a backlog of claims that was initiated by a system change that went through in February. That change temporarily slowed down our document processing (to slower than molasses - it was so awful), which diverted our claims folks from claims processing to claims staging in an effort to help work through that queue.
That initial slowdown (that lasted about a month - ack!) led to a back up in open claims; that, combined with the very nice growth we've had in our number of insured pets in 2012, meant we had a much larger backlog than we have been staffed for, which you have been experiencing ever since, and we've been working on quashing as best we can.
We have now reduced that backlog to the point where we are within the 15 business days for most claims (finally!), but we continue to push hard to get to our internal standard of 10 business days. We're not there yet though.
Where do we go from here?
In the short term, we are hiring more staff to cope with continued growth (know of any veterinary technicians interested in a change in the Cleveland area?) but we've also started a major overhaul of how we handle our claims to make things much faster, more consistent, and with fewer Embracers needed, but with the same personal but professional approach you have come to know us for.
To put the claims process in perspective, while everything we do is electronic, greatly helping the physical management of a claim, there are far too many electronic places to gather information from and far too many clicks needed to get a claim through from the original fax received to processed and completed. This is what we are focusing on.
Where are we in our overhaul process?
We have had some mini releases over the last month that has helped a few areas but our first big release will be early September. That release should have a significant impact on reducing the amount of time to close a claim. And this is just phase 2 of the overall claims process review (Phase 1 was the document handling capabilities we started off with early in 2012); the plans for further phases continue to develop.
So that's where we are at. The Embrace claims process is our number one priority internally through to the end of the year and likely beyond.
Feel free to talk about your experience in the comments below. I have appreciated all the feedback we have received over the last few months on this painful situation. We take all your comments to heart and use them to guide us in what is important to our pet parents.
Thank you so much for your continued patience. We have asked a lot from you and appreciate all your support and encouragement.
Your Chief Embracer,
Laura Bennett FSA CFA