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Life Health > Life Insurance

Scanners Spell Relief For Insurers

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Rescuing paper-intensive insurance companies from tidal waves of claims and other administrative documents, scanner producers meet document management needs with high-speed solutions.

The Xerox Corp., based in Stamford, Conn., offers a family of multi-purpose devices in its Document Center line that allows insurers to scan documents and distribute them over a network of office PCs, explains Mark Burris, manager of the companys Document Management Division.

“We have offerings that allow users to scan documents directly to a clients desktop, e-mail or document repository for document management purposes,” he says.

Devices in the companys Document Centre line are equipped with software recognized by most computer applications, the company says.

For example, the Document Centre 440ST is equipped with CentreWare drivers, which are compatible with PC operating systems such as Windows and Mac.

The software allows insurers to monitor scanning projects directly from their desktops, Burris notes.

The 440ST is cartridge-loaded, employs digital technology and scans documents at 40ppm (pages per minute) with a black-and-white resolution of 600 x 600dpi (dots per inch).

The 440ST model also serves as fax machine and can send and receive information at three seconds per page.

Prices for the high-speed commercial-end devices in the Document Centre line with scanning speeds of 75ppm range between $30,000 and $40,000, Burris said. For the low-speed devices at 20ppm, prices range between $6,000 and $9,000, according to Burris.

Burris says scanning systems provide a centralized electronic means for document use and a tremendous amount of cost savings for insurers in terms of document management.

“It is taking a lot of insurance companies documents that have been traditionally hard copies and using scanning technology to bring them into an electronic form,” he says.

Managing a deluge of documents in an electronic form boosts an insurers operational efficiency, observes Scott Francis, senior product manager for the Imaging Products Group at Fujitsu Computer Products of America in San Jose, Calif.

“Mission-critical paper documents can be moved offline, reducing physical storage space. Imaging solutions give the large
organization the ability to react real-time while decreasing human error and maximizing efficiencies,” Francis points out.

Part of Fujitsus line of production-driven scanners is the SP3091DC scanner, aimed at small workgroups, according to Francis.

The model processes black-and-white and color documents at up to 15ppm and is priced below $1,000.

“This product is ideally suited for workgroups of five to seven people who scan up
to 500 documents a day and require color and duplex for [outputting] documents,” he says.

But for large insurance organizations, Fujitsu offers the M4099D duplex production scanner, which scans at up to 90 ppm and features a 1,000-page ADF (automatic document feeder) for the paper-intensive office that requires 10,000 to 15,000 scans per day, Francis notes.

Priced at $20,995, the M4099D is expected to scan millions of documents over its life span, he says.

One advantage new imaging technology gives insurers is immediate access to documents in electronic form, says Mary Chubin, director of worldwide marketing at Bell & Howell Scanners in Lincolnville, Ill.

“The main benefits of scanning technology are increased information-sharing due to increased availability of documents, increased productivity due to easier retrieval of documents, and cost-savings due to storing documents in an electronic format instead of a hard-copy file folder,” she says.

Bell & Howell offers a full line of scanners geared for both the large- and small-sized markets, according to Chubin.

The company recently introduced the 730DC, under its FB series of scanning products geared for the small-business market.

The 730DC is a flatbed color scanner with 600dpi optical resolution, color depth of 36 bit-input and the ability to generate black-and-white documents at 30 ppm and color at 12 ppm.

It is also equipped with a 50-sheet ADF and offers area extraction, which allows a portion of the document to be scanned separately. The unit is priced at $3,495.

For higher document output, Chubin says the companys Copiscan 8000 Plus Series offers insurers maximum productivity.

“The need to process hundreds of thousands of forms is a challenge for many property and casualty insurance companies. Bell & Howells Copiscan 8000 Plus scanners with the Deluxe upgrade are excellent forms processing applications,” she asserts.

High-end products in this line include the Copiscan 8080 Duplex SCSI at 80 ppm. Prices range between $17,000 and $23,000. For the 8100 model, with speeds of 100 ppm, prices range from $25,000 to $27,000.

For optimum productivity, the 8125 models at 125 ppm are priced between $36,000 and $39,000, Chubin says.

A deluxe upgrade includes an RGB color dropout where users can preset certain colors to drop out of the image to conserve storage space, Chubin explains.

“Color dropout is often used by insurance companies because the documents they scan are often repetitive forms,” Chubin says.

Robert W. Mitchell is a staff writer for NUs Property & Casualty/Risk & Benefits Management Edition.

Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, June 4, 2001. Copyright 2001 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.

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