There has been much discussion about Robot Process Automation (RPA) over the past few months as insurance companies become more aware of the possibilities offered by the technology. Much of this discussion jumps immediately into specific approaches and technologies, assuming that we all know the basics of RPA. Since RPA is new territory for many people, I decided it might be a good idea to provide a primer on the topic. This is the first of a series of posts that outlines the concepts and ideas that drive RPA.

Although it may be obvious to some, it should be pointed out that RPA has nothing to do with physical machines or actual robots; it’s an entirely virtual concept that is driven by software that sits on top of an insurance company’s systems, applications and infrastructure.

This software examines the data entering these systems and, using logic provided by the business users, makes the same types of decisions previously made by an individual. The system may decide what action to take based on an individual’s credit score, request missing information from the agent or use information from one system to update another – all using the available data. It will then use that new data to determine what the next action on the account should be. In many cases, it can replace the need for a human to review the data to make common and routine decisions.

The best thing about RPA is that the software is easily configured, allowing business users to set up processes without the need for IT support. This allows RPA to be deployed quickly – often in just a few weeks. Many companies see a return on their RPA investment in only three months.

In my next post, I will discuss some of the reasons why insurance companies should consider implementing an RPA solution.

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