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The State of Georgia is the eighth-most populous state, home to the world’s busiest airport and the nation’s top producer of the three Ps—peanuts, pecans, and peaches. Keeping it all up and running are more than 130 state agencies, such as the Department of Driver Services and the Department of Labor. And keeping these state agencies up and running is an all-star risk management team that manages the state’s self-insured, self-administered insurance program.
We sat down with Dan Ozment, IT Director of the Risk Management Services (RMS) division of the Georgia Department of Administrative Services, to discuss the work his team does and the solutions they’ve devised using both Ventiv Claims (formerly iVOS) and Ventiv IRM (formerly RiskConsole).
We were looking for a web-based environment that met the State’s security standards and that would allow our remote workforce to access the system without the overhead of MS Terminal Server.
GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES
As a state entity taking in data from a large number of diverse agencies, the State of Georgia RMS team’s work demands a robust claims administration system. Until recently, the State used a client-server based system, but the RMS team was troubled by a few key issues: (1) remote access for external users, (2) hosting environment challenges, and (3) reporting. The Georgia RMS team decided to make the move to a new system and went live with Ventiv Claims in the fall of 2014. Ozment described how each of their issues was addressed by the new system.
With their legacy system, the RMS team needed to use a Microsoft Terminal Server system to keep their remote workforce connected to their environment. They experienced frequent disconnects and users timing out, thus requiring them to log in again. This affected productivity.
“We were looking for a web-based environment that met the State’s security standards and that would allow our remote workforce to access the system without the overhead of MS Terminal Server,” Ozment explained. “Offsite access to Ventiv Claims is much easier. This makes our adjusting staff more productive.”
The team also struggled with the older technology of the previous self-hosted environment. After careful review of Ventiv’s security protocols and service-level guarantees, the RMS team elected to have Ventiv host the Ventiv Claims application and associated data.
“We have all been in situations where the application folks blame the hardware folks and the hardware folks blame the network,” Ozment explained. “Now, with a vendor-hosted environment, if there is a problem, it’s the vendor’s problem. I don’t have to get in the middle of the teams to convince them they have a problem.”
Ozment further described the improved ease of upgrades: “In the past, we had to follow confusing, detailed instructions to execute scripts to upgrade our environment. It was so cumbersome, we really had to work hard to get through it. Upgrades with Ventiv are completely different. Ventiv handles the upgrade and we just have to do testing.”
Reports in the legacy system were difficult to modify and required time-consuming manual formatting in Excel. This made it difficult to get the state agencies information on their claims.
Ozment explained, “We were trying to encourage the agencies to implement safety and maintenance processes to reduce their claims, but getting them the data to tell their story was a very manual process. As a result, they were not getting the information they needed to make positive changes.”
Ozment continued, “Out of the box, Ventiv Claims gave us a much better reporting solution than we had with the other system. A few of our users have been trained to run their own reports, but in cases where the users need the same data on a periodic basis, we have chosen to build the reports for them and schedule them using Scheduler and Distribution Maintenance.”
In 2017, as part of the RMS team’s ongoing continuous-improvement efforts, the team decided to implement the Ventiv IRM system to complement their Ventiv Claims system. The implementation was broken into two phases. Phase one involved providing more extensive reporting to the state agencies to help them prevent accidents and reduce claims. Phase two involved streamlining a complicated manual allocation process.
“We have been talking about offering our insured agencies more direct access to the claims for as long as I can remember,” Ozment said. “We are now able to do that. We have around 100 agency users now and are bringing on new users very quickly. The agencies have access to dashboards that help quickly tell their story and keep them updated on their claims. They also have the ability to run their own reports to get the data they need. Feedback from the agencies has been very good. We encouraged the agency users to look at the information we were giving them and tell us what else we could add to help them tell their story. We are getting calls from the agencies saying, ‘We didn’t realize we have so many claims caused by ‘x’. Can you give us more information about the worker in these cases so that we can get the information down to the supervisors?’ I’m seeing momentum building here and hope that we’ll soon be able to see the effect on the safety programs of our agencies.”
“Phase 2 of our Ventiv IRM project is designed to replace a very manual premium allocation process,” according to Ozment. “This process used to take a couple weeks and involved running reports from all these other systems and bringing them together in a complicated Excel spreadsheet. Now, the data simply comes over in the feed and everything is in Ventiv IRM. It takes minutes to do the allocation.”
Ozment continued, “As a by-product of bringing the premium allocation tool and the claims data together, we hope to be able to show agencies what the effect would be of focusing on claim causes. For example, if you can work to reduce claims caused by “X” by 5 percent, you will see your premium drop by $XX. We are wrapping that implementation up now and hope to use it for our next premium allocation cycle.”
At the 2017 Ventiv Experience client conference, the State of Georgia won a Partnership Award for its accomplishments in dramatically enhancing its focus on risk management and loss prevention. According to Ozment, “When I came over to RMS 14 years ago, we were more about paying claims than about managing risk and mitigating losses. About that time, we started looking more systematically at why we were paying claims, what was causing the injuries, what was causing the damage, and what could we do to stop the claim before we pay it. So, now, we have a group of folks who are actively, effectively working with our state agencies to try to mitigate the claims.” Ventiv is proud to partner with Dan Ozment and the State of Georgia RMS team in this most worthy endeavor.
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