Allianz Suisse Versicherungsgesellschaft AG
8022 Zürich, Switzerland
Always on the safe side
Insurance company turns to PDF for data security and exchange
Managing information is an increasingly challenging task for businesses. And it’s not only analog material, faxes for instance, that has to be stored within information systems; the tide of digital correspondence, such as e-mails, must also be stemmed. Not to mention how different file formats make the work involved in filing and archiving records more complex than it has to be. Fortunately, a few years ago the Portable Document Format (PDF) became the de facto standard, especially for the secure exchange of electronic documents. An increasing number of companies are using Notes applications, because they are web based and thus easily accessible through browsers. Unfortunately, many businesses use the kinds of external applications for generating PDFs from within Lotus Notes that interrupt the workflow and are therefore a potential source of errors. This is why years ago a leading insurance company in Switzerland decided to play it safe by putting its trust in n2pdf, an extension for Lotus Notes that reliably creates PDF documents at the click of a button.
Allianz Suisse’s clients include more than a million individuals and a hundred thousand businesses, making it one of the most respected and important insurance companies in Switzerland. Every day some 3,700 employees handle questions covering all aspects of insurance, benefits, and asset management. In addition to its three primary corporate offices in Zurich, Bern and Geneva, representatives also offer products and services nationwide at about 130 other locations. As early as 2002 on of their Swiss partners, Whitecoast Solutions, recommended they use an export filter for Lotus Notes to optimize the way client data is archived – namely a solution from SoftVision. “What really struck us was the system‘s easy installation and reliable performance,” recalls Robert Spaltenstein, Groupware Manager at Allianz Suisse. Since then they have mostly been using n2pdf in three areas: Notes application archiving in PDF, archiving correspondence in PDF, and converting files to PDF as part of insurance claims and adjustment services.
Quality and security in archiving attachments
Allianz Suisse uses its Notes application to forward sensitive information, specific rules, and instructions to selected employees. Acknowledgements or approvals are then confirmed using a digital signature, after which the messages are converted into a PDF document. This method ensures the data will comply with any organizational changes without impairing the digital signature. “We’ve seen a vast improvement in the quality of safeguarding and securing these documents since we started using n2pdf,” reports Robert Spaltenstein. “And because the conversion process runs in the background, the individual employees hardly notice it at all, especially since no additional action is required on their part,” added the Groupware Manager. This tool may be integrated into any desired Lotus database through LotusScript programming and can, such as by using a script library, be integrated in a manner whereby the application is accessible by clicking a button in the action bar. An agent can be employed for a server-based integration and which can also be used for additional web applications. Allianz Suisse installed the complete solution package on two servers in Zurich, which now cover its agencies throughout all of Switzerland.
Correspondence with clients is initiated from the insurance application and is then generated with text elements in Lotus Notes. The digital documents are collected in containers after printing and then converted to PDF overnight. Producing about a million documents every year creates quite a volume, which n2pdf can easily handle, since the tool only needs about 7 minutes to convert 1000 documents. “The system is extremely stable and reliable,” added Robert Spaltenstein. “That’s critically important for us and our backup process.”
Easy PDF conversion from all formats
Besides n2pdf, Allianz Suisse also uses webPDF from SoftVision. This server-based solution provides features for centrally creating, editing, exporting and printing PDFs. In addition to converting some 100 different file formats, webPDF also lets you split and merge documents as well as rotate and delete individual pages. Here as well, the use of digital signatures and certificates is also supported. “It was remarkably easy to integrate the tool within our legacy systems and now we can convert all the file formats we use into PDF. This makes the job of feeding mails, digital faxes and forms into our insurance system from the web environment simple and convenient,” explained Robert Spaltenstein.
Allianz Suisse intends to broaden its use of n2pdf in the future. In addition to claims and adjustments, the company can well imagine incorporating its contacts with agents and brokers into the service. “In any case, we will continue working with SoftVision,” confirmed Robert Spaltenstein. “We are very pleased, and in no small part because of the extra mile that SoftVision’s people go when providing support. Any corrections we need to make are taken care of right away.” Even an insurance company appreciates the peace of mind that comes from being on the safe side in matters of information technology.