W-8 Online File W3.3 The Imaging System at United Services Automobile Association
Online File W3.3
IT’s The Imaging System at United Services Automobile Association
United Services Automobile Association (USAA, thousands of telephone calls; every day the company
usaa.com) is a large insurance company in San Anto- sends over 60,000 letters and policies. All of these
nio, Texas, serving about 2 million military ofﬁcers, documents are indexed on an IBM mainframe and
former ofﬁcers, and their dependents. The company are scanned to create a digital electronic picture. The
processes hundreds of thousands of documents imaged documents can then be accessed from any-
every workday. where in the company for viewing or processing.
In the 1980s, the company employed 120 clerks Special high-resolution terminals are used for display-
whose only job was to search ﬁles (which occupied ing and printing the imaged documents. The com-
39,000 square feet of ofﬁce space) for information pany uses electronic forms to expedite the
when needed. Searches for one document took any- preparation of standard documents.
where from an hour to 2 weeks, and some docu- The system reduces the cost of storing documents
ments were never found. (most paper documents are destroyed), improves cus-
However, using an environment called Automated tomer service, and improves productivity of employ-
Insurance Environment, USAA has been transformed ees. Employee productivity is improved because all
into a completely paperless company. Since 1993, pertinent data can be called to the user’s screen within
employees have been able to scan over 50 million 6 minutes of the request’s being issued (compared to
pieces of mail per year into a computer database. an average of 0.5 work-hours under the old system). At
Using special imaging terminals, agents then access an average hourly cost of $15 for document handlers,
the database to process information and assist cus- the savings are $7.05 per document, or $70,500,000
tomers. Customers can now obtain instant answers to for the 10,000,000 documents handled annually.
such questions as, “Is the car we bought an hour ago In the late 1990s the system became Web based.
insured against theft?” A search engine was developed and browsers are
The system is also used to expedite the treatment helping employees to navigate, so the system is even
of claims. When a customer calls to report a car acci- faster now.
dent, the telephone call is digitized and stored. Sub- Most users ﬁnd the imaging system easier to work
sequently, all documents (photos, doctors’ reports, with than the old paper-clogged system. The system
appraisers’ reports, and so on) are scanned into the is also used for scheduling work and monitoring
computer. Once the case is closed, it is stored on a workﬂow.
CD-ROM for future reference.
Here is how the data entry works: Every day the Source: Compiled from usaa.com (accessed November 15,
company receives almost 25,000 letters as well as 2003).