Energy Firm Improves Claims Processing
- Improve claims data and streamline processes
- CSC’s RISKMASTER Accelerator software
- Reduced costs for injury-related claims
- Improved work process for claims, risk and safety
- Streamlined OSHA reporting
From its headquarters in Minneapolis, Xcel Energy serves more than 3.3 million electric customers and 1.6 million natural gas customers in Minnesota, Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin. Its operating companies include Northern States Power Company, Public Service Company of Colorado and Southwestern Public Service Co.
Operating in a highly regulated, physically demanding environment generates significant exposure to physical injury, property damage and liability for the company to manage. Xcel Energy’s risk and claims managers handle approximately 600 workers’ compensation claims — including about 300 that are reportable to OSHA — and about 150 to 200 general liability claims and another 100 vehicle accident claims.
As the company grew, so did the demands on its IT staff to store and present that information to the risk and claims managers dependent on them to ensure its availability, accuracy and timeliness. The company was using an older version of CSC’s RISKMASTER® software and decided to upgrade to the latest version, now called RISKMASTER Accelerator.
“The whole process was inefficient, and we weren’t capturing data the way that we needed to,” said Tatyana Dunegan, a risk analyst in the Risk Management Department at Xcel Energy.
The company upgraded to RISKMASTER Accelerator for business, general liability, auto, workers’ compensation and property claims. “What’s nice about this software is that you’re able to customize and match the needs of all these lines of business,” Dunegan said. “They do different fields. They run their processes differently. There’s no limit to how much you can customize, so it’s very nice that one person doesn’t have to see the fields of the other person and vice versa.”
The software also allows claims managers to attach as many files as needed, in any format, to a document, and they can break down reserves into multiple transactions and track and analyze them at a new level of ease and granularity.
Tracking Claims and Controlling Medical Costs
Another function of the software, Power Views, helped improve productivity for the company’s staff by giving them control of the information accessible on each screen. “We use Power Views to match our screen setup to our injury form, and the ease and speed of entry improved a lot,” said Gina Feldhege, safety data analyst with Xcel.
Using Power Views allows risk managers to more easily reflect the improving claims experience in their reports, as well as empower the company’s aggressive return-to-work program by tracking activity in a centralized forum.
“Our specialists in that area can now easily alert our group in Safety if there’s a change to any medical treatment, for instance, that might affect the OSHA recordability of the injury,” Feldhege said. “So that’s a really nice tie-in, all of us seeing the same thing at the same time.”
As a result of the company’s focus on safety and return to work, the company has better control of its costs. “Medical costs are always going up, even if your claims are going down, but I know we have still been trending down, and the claim counts have been trending down over the year, which is good,” Feldhege said.
Gaining Reporting Efficiencies
Complying with regulatory demands also has become easier with RISKMASTER Accelerator as the single point of entry for a range of safety and workers’ compensation information. “We enter it once and we use the same information, since the safety records match up to the workers’ comp records,” Feldhege said. “It provides an automatic audit check for us by helping us make sure we have the most valid, up-to-date information when the time comes to pull OSHA logs for posting at the end of the year.”
Dunegan added, “We run all of our financial reports out of RISKMASTER Accelerator and we provide them to the actuaries and underwriters. I don’t know how we would do that without the system.”
Centralizing and Sharing Knowledge
Just as importantly, the new software was embraced by the users in the company’s many departments.
“People love using RISKMASTER Accelerator. Truly, I always get really good feedback. It’s easy to use. It’s not complicated. People are very satisfied with the system,” said Dunegan.