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For Anthem, Inc., which provides health insurance to tens of millions of Americans, processing premium payments efficiently is a crucial profitability driver. Several years ago, however, payments were costing the company too much and causing frustration for consumers. A broad “voice of the customer” initiative conducted by the marketing team identified premium payments as one of the top 10 areas in which Anthem could improve.

“We had operated in a check-and-paper environment for many years,” explains Rick Noble, staff vice president of treasury operations for Anthem. “We rolled out new CSR [customer service representative], IVR [interactive voice response], and Web pay systems through a vendor, and 3 percent of our customers moved to this channel to pay their premiums. Across our millions of customers, that was a lot of individuals, so it was a step in the right direction. But when we looked at industry statistics, we saw that we were falling behind.” In fact, in a survey of customers who were leaving an Anthem-affiliated health plan, 31 percent cited payments as a motivation for switching insurers.

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Meg Waters

Meg Waters is the editor in chief of Treasury & Risk. She is the former editor in chief of BPM Magazine and the former managing editor of Business Finance.

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