Stockton-On-Tees Council operates quickly and efficiently with the help from LACHS
The change to a unitary authority resulted in a significant increase in the number of employees at Stockton; together with a newly assumed responsibility for Highways and Children & Adult Services. This necessitated the procurement of an electronic claims system so that the authority could have ‘˜hands-on’ access to claims information which could be readily shared with services. Additionally, as policy deductibles with insurers more than doubled, the ‘˜hands-on’ approach also extended to claims handling as the authority was no longer content to take a back seat and simply leave matters in the hands of insurers. With this in mind the authority sought out a technology solution and eventually decided on LACHS for Windows from JCAD. The fact that the system was already in use at many other authorities gave Stockton added confidence during the procurement process.
For many years the system delivered all that was needed; however over time it became apparent that Stockton needed even greater functionality and flexibility. Much of this need stemmed from the council’s reliance on the system to capture all claim information. In addition to advances in technology the demand for management information, driven in part by the authority’s evolving Risk Management culture, had also grown. The use of e-mail, scanners, and GIS were just a few of the developments that had been embraced by the council. Combined with this was a drive for greater E-Government and greater demand for tailored, departmental specific reports. It was clear that Stockton not only needed a claims management system that would meet these existing needs but a system that was both flexible and adaptable enough to meet its future needs as well. When JCAD LACHS V4 was released in 2008, Stockton immediately invested in the upgrade benefiting from the seamless interface with Microsoft Office products and powerful reporting capabilities.
The results obtained from the new version were impressive and provided all the efficiencies that the authority had hoped. For instance, almost immediately the council was able to make a substantial move away from paper based working. With the use of a document scanner the claims team have been able to increase the transfer of documents by email to around 90% of their communications. ‘˜In terms of reporting, the speed and flexibility of JCAD LACHS was also an area where the application excelled; reports can now be generated at the touch of a button, in a variety of formats and be emailed to managers within minutes of being requested’ Through the integrated diary available insurance staff have almost total access to all claims correspondence whether incoming or outgoing. This means that the majority of enquiries can be dealt with on screen saving staff considerable time. ‘˜The move to JCAD LACHS provided instant and tangible benefits to Stockton and we’ve found its power and flexibility to perfectly compliment our way of working.’
In addition to the core Claims Handling System, Stockton also invested in additional modules to complement their working practices. The Fund Modelling module makes use of triangulation data for bi-annual reviews. This information can then be easily passed on to Actuary’s and Insurers as required. These processes are now quickly and effectively managed In-House as all the necessary and relevant data is readily available. The Asset Register module has been in place within Stockton for a while and allows them to record properties and vehicles (leased, owned and hired) and link this information to claims. Recent months have seen a resurgence in the use of this module within the Council due to both the Fleet and Insurance departments realising the benefits of greater synergy and integration of information across the business. Stockton have seen a shift in the claims landscape over the last few years with changes such as the MOJ Reforms placing greater emphasis and reliance upon good management information, and the JCAD LACHS system has been flexible enough to support the changing market. Through the strength of the management reporting facility, Stockton have been able to effectively use the information available through the system to better understand their risks and determine the best use of their resources in order to mitigate them.
Stockton Council continue to utilise the software in place to support their Claims Handling processes and having attended the LACHS user group in October 2013, are looking forward to the release of LACHS V5 which will deliver greater efficiencies. New features include refreshing the user interface as well as incorporating greater reporting functionality such as management dashboards. ‘Whilst it’s difficult to determine specific ROI, I can say that I find it difficult to contemplate working any other way than using JCAD LACHS. Processes would be too disparate and time consuming leaving margin for error. In this day and age and with the ever changing business challenges we all face, we need to operate quickly and effectively. As a claims handling solution, JCAD LACHS, without question, provides Stockton with all the tools needed to achieve its business objectives.’