ARC launched to ease insurers� and brokers� administrative burden and bring account reconciliation into the digital age
London, England, December 14, 2007 – CGI Group Inc. (TSX: GIB.A; NYSE: GIB), in collaboration with two of the largest insurers in the UK market, Norwich Union and Allianz Insurance, today announced the launch of an Account Reconciliation Centre (ARC), a flexible web-based tool that is set to make paper-based insurance account settlement a thing of the past.
Provided as a managed service hosted by CGI and accessed via imarket, the e-commerce portal, ARC has already proven itself during a six month business pilot involving Allianz Insurance, Norwich Union and a range of their brokers. Today, ARC is being made available to the wider broker community, facilitating a transition from manual, paper based processes to an efficient, fast flow of electronic information.
�ARC is an accounts settlement system that has been developed in consultation with the industry, for the industry � one that brings efficiency to the back office and tangible benefits to both sides involved in the business process: insurers and brokers,� said Tim Gregory, Vice-President, Insurance Sector, CGI.
ARC is being launched at a time when insurers and brokers are under an ever increasing pressure to reduce their operating costs. It is designed to transform the settlement of insurance accounts between insurers and brokers � a process that has, until now, been expensive and largely paper-based. By enabling automatic matching of all but the exceptional items, ARC brings savings in both time and effort, dramatically reducing the administrative burden associated with the traditional account settlement process and allowing brokers to view all outstanding debt in real time.
Donna Lovewell, Head of Collections, Norwich Union said: �Throughout ARC�s development and pilot programme stages, CGI has incorporated feedback from both insurers and brokers to ensure that the system does exactly what we need it to � make our work easier and more effective.�
How it works
ARC streamlines the account reconciliation process, providing insurers with an up-to-date view of the status of brokers� accounts and, consequently, the progress of statement reconciliation. The system also improves communication between brokers and insurers, leading to quicker query resolution � an immediate benefit already observed by the pilot users. In addition, ARC reduces the peaks and troughs of the monthly cycle, which means that insurers and brokers can make more effective use of their time. Sophisticated enquiry facilities, which include comments and audit trails, make the interrogation of entries easier and reduce the dependency on individuals in the credit control team.
Research carried out by CGI shows that up to 50 percent of brokers� time is spent on the reconciliation of items where the broker and insurer already agree on what needs to be paid. ARC�s auto-matching functionality virtually eliminates this problem, allowing brokers and insurers to focus their effort on the items that need attention.
�The feedback we have had on ARC from our credit control teams and the brokers participating in the pilot programme has been overwhelmingly positive. Queries are getting resolved quicker, and the communication between us and brokers has improved greatly. ARC will bring significant efficiencies and cost savings to both our and our brokers� business�, said Chris Hanks, General Manager, Commercial Division, Allianz Insurance.
The pilot programme for the Account Reconciliation Centre was carried out during Summer 2007 and included 21 brokers co-operating with Norwich Union and Allianz Insurance.
Selected user testimonials:
�Even though we are still in the early stages and the process is bedding in, we have already seen huge benefits that come from the earlier notification of queries � resulting in earlier resolution and payment. We are also benefiting from improved communication with our brokers. We are spending less time on the phone with brokers discussing accounts � the time we devote to this is now much more focused on the items that actually need discussing.�
Tim Bunce, Credit Management Manager, Allianz Insurance
�The accounts reconciliation process has remained unchanged for decades. ARC provides a first step towards automation.�
Greg Gladwell, Director of Operational Services, Norwich Union Insurers
�ARC has significantly streamlined the account reconciliation process at our end, making the following month�s accounts much quicker and more efficient. This is mainly due to the fact that we no longer have to repeat queries on unresolved items month after month � all history of annotations is securely saved and, if need be, brought forward to the next month.�
Julie Flynn, Operations Director, Brokerbility
�ARC is bringing the insurance industry into the 21st century, heralding an end to the traditional paper-based settlement process, and making it more of a standard. At the moment, we work with 16 insurers and the procedures we follow in account reconciliation are different for each of them, and ARC will eliminate this completely.�
Emma Webster, Insurance Ledger Supervisor, The Oval Group
Founded in 1976, CGI Group Inc. is one of the largest independent information technology and business process services firms in the world. CGI and its affiliated companies employ approximately 26,000 professionals. CGI provides end-to-end IT and business process services to clients worldwide from offices in Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia Pacific as well as from centers of excellence in North America, Europe and India. CGI’s annual revenue run rate stands at $3.7 billion and at September 30th, 2007, CGI’s order backlog was $12.0 billion. CGI shares are listed on the TSX (GIB.A) and the NYSE (GIB) and are included in the S&P/TSX Composite Index as well as the S&P/TSX Capped Information Technology and MidCap Indices. Website: www.cgi.com.
About Norwich Union
Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer. It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment products and one of the largest financial adviser (FA) providers. FAs provide over 70% of the company’s long-term savings business in the UK. Norwich Union is the UK’s largest general insurer with a market share of around 14%, with a focus on insurance for individuals and small businesses.
About Allianz Insurance
Allianz Insurance is one of the UK’s leading general insurers and part of the Global Allianz Group, one of the world’s leading financial services providers with a presence in more than 70 countries employing approximately 168,000 people world-wide. The company is able to offer customers a wide range of products including home, motor and a comprehensive portfolio of commercial insurance solutions.