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

“We had operated in a check-and-paper environment for manyyears,” explains Rick Noble, staff vice president of treasuryoperations for Anthem. “We rolled out new CSR [customer servicerepresentative], IVR [interactive voice response], and Web paysystems through a vendor, and 3 percent of our customers moved tothis channel to pay their premiums. Across our millions ofcustomers, that was a lot of individuals, so it was a step in theright direction. But when we looked at industry statistics, we sawthat we were falling behind.” In fact, in a survey of customers whowere leaving an Anthem-affiliated health plan, 31 percent citedpayments 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.