Faced each year with a mountain of 2 million items of mail,
representing 10 million separate pages, UK insurer Standard Life
went on the hunt for a solution.
Tasked with the job was its document services team, who together
with US technology vendor EMC Corporation developed an
award-winning automated system now generating annual cost savings
of over £1 million ($1.45 million).
At the heart of the solution is EMC’s Captiva InputAcce software
enabling capture of information from a document using optical
character recognition. Standard Life’s document services team and
EMC enhanced the technology to automatically classify and route any
number of different documents.
According to Standard Life, the system extracts details such as
contract number and product type and determines the document type
and its routing by using techniques such as matching against
templates and identifying key phrases. A typical phrase would be:
“I want to change my bank details”.
In the final stage of the automated process the system matches
the captured data to an image of the document and directs it into
one of some 300 work queues across 16 departments.
The result, noted Standard Life, is a scalable system that has
met all objectives including cost savings and improved customer
service. The service is also to be deployed in the insurer’s
For Standard Life’s document services team’s work in developing
the system it was selected by Scottish financial services industry
body Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE) as winner of the 2008
“Innovative Use Of Technology” award presented at a ceremony in
In winning the award, the team beat two other short-listed
contenders, including Standard Life’s Retirement Solutions unit
which had been short-listed for its development of Retirement
Manager, an online tool to assist financial advisers in providing
retirement planning to their customers.
In Retirement Manager’s first two months of operation some 2,000
advisers registered as users.