The Evolution of RMIS

By September 1, 2010Uncategorized

In the not too distant past, if you would have asked a wrap-up expert whether an automated Risk Management Information System (RMIS) could exist, the response received would have been one of confusion. Technology has changed the way the world works in many ways. As recently as a decade ago, RMIS was a foreign concept, almost futuristic in nature. Today this system is a reality.

For years, leaders in the wrap-up industry have demanded the development of a system that would simplify even the most complicated administrative tasks while saving time, money, and energy. These demands have driven innovation and automation, revolutionizing our approach to wrap-up management. Computers are now an integral part of the work environment, and Excel spreadsheets have been replaced with sophisticated software programs. These software programs have become an expectation of program sponsors, insurance carriers, participating contractors and all wrap-up administrators in the construction industry. That being the case, it is only appropriate that we explore the development of the RMIS software- why did we start using it? How have we perfected the system? And, what lessons can we take away?

Many of you may still remember the days before these software systems existed, when wrap-up programs were managed using Excel spreadsheets. Or, perhaps your experience goes back even further than that, and you administered your wrap-up without the assistance of any technology at all. Whether or not the support of technology was available, it is evident that before RMIS were created, administrators relied heavily on manual processes. As with any manual process, the manual administration of a wrap-up program was time consuming and inclined to errors. Consequently, there was a high demand for a system that would simplify the wrap-up administration process for all parties involved.

My first job as a wrap-up administrator was working for an insurance brokerage firm in New York. It was there that I was initially exposed to wrap-up administration software.  This company was in the process of designing a new wrap-up administration system, and I was lucky enough to have a hand in the creation of some of its functionality. My colleagues had previous experience designing a software program to manage wrap-ups, so they had a solid understanding of what was required from such a system. Our goal was to create a software system that would help minimize entry of inaccurate information and provide client deliverables. The idea was that we could reduce the possibility of creating errors and allow less experienced administrators to handle more complex administrative functions. For this reason, the software was programmed to contain many rules and restrictions.

Yet, these “constraints” would sometimes cause delays in entry, which would anger the participating contractor and/or program sponsor and often frustrate the more experienced administrator. Likewise, while the system allowed program sponsors to generate project reports via the Internet, these reports were not based on real time data. Information was only updated once a day. In turn, sponsors were not getting the most accurate information from these reports. Additionally, reports could only be downloaded in pdf version, making the data impossible to manipulate. So if the program sponsor wanted to view different pieces of information or rearrange the information in any way, it could not be done. Nothing could be modified or amended without a programmer’s assistance. These setbacks made me reflect on the system we had designed and reevaluate the goals of a successful RMIS.

When CR Solutions was created, we knew that we had to develop wrap-up administration software that would meet the needs of our clients and have user-friendly features. Thus, my partners and I developed CR Insight. CR Insight was designed to be flexible, effective, and web based so that our clients could easily access their information. Today, this system allows the user infinite options in the set up and management of their program, while still providing some limitations and alerts to prevent errors and inaccuracies. It contains many automated functions which facilitate efficiencies in work flow. In addition, there is a special client website where clients can generate project-specific reports. The information used in the reports is pulled directly from CR Insight, so the client has access to real time data whenever they want to get project updates. What is more is that these reports can be downloaded into an excel format allowing customization of all reports for each client’s sp
ecific needs. In summary, this system has remarkably transformed the way we manage wrap-ups. But we are not done yet.

Through the years we have learned that the best way to grow as a company is by learning from our experiences and making positive changes. We are constantly enhancing and improving CR Insight to better meet the needs of our clients, participating contractors, insurance carriers and the CR Solutions team. Currently, we are working to create a web portal for all participating contractors. This portal will not only allow contractors to enroll and submit payroll online but also provide them access to their claims information, reported payroll, and all wrap-up certificates of insurance that were issued. Contractors will be able to see all updated project information. Additionally, we are working with carriers to improve the auditing process and the delivery of wrap-up policies. Our goal is to find a better way to relay information to our clients regarding the performance of their program. And, of course, we are relentlessly striving to create efficiencies and improve accuracy in the administrative process for our users.

RMIS technology has come a long way since it was first introduced to the wrap-up industry. But there is still a lot of room for growth. At CR Solutions, we plan on exploring the areas that will help improve the client experience. In doing so, we will continue to place great emphasis on building personal relationships with our clients. Now that we can spend less time shuffling paper, we have more time to dedicate to the people we work with. This can mean answering questions, providing information, or just helping make the overall process easier for participants. We are not developing technology to replace people; we are developing it to enhance our capabilities and, more importantly, to enhance the personal touch.