Prosecuting claims against insurance companies is no easy feat. Our California law firm, is one of the most experienced law firms in the nation successfully litigating ERISA and bad faith claims against insurance companies. We practice all throughout the California, as well as many other states across the country. My partners and I have been handling these types of cases for more than 30 years, and we’ve represented thousands of clients whose insurance companies and employer welfare plans refused to pay their long term disability, health, life and other liability insurance claims.
When taking on big insurance companies, there are many stages of the legal process, including submitting the claim, seeking reconsideration of a denied claim before filing suit, filing a lawsuit, and taking matters up to Courts of Appeal. Historically, insurance companies produced files in a paper form, and we would have to comb through them to find the pertinent information. More and more, companies have moved to producing digital files. But even then, the files come to us unorganized and without OCR. Insurance companies accumulate massive files for these types of claims, and it is not unusual for a claim file to consist of 5,000 pages or more. Those claim files are separate and apart from all the documents generated during litigation, which can easily be thousands more pages. As you can imagine, organizing, digesting, and then maintaining that volume of documents presents challenges. Early in our practice, we found our strategic advantage: taking a digital first approach. We do this in four steps.
Automate high-volume document conversion
Manually reviewing and searching printed pages of documents is not efficient. Our early efforts – from over a decade ago — at using optical character recognition (OCR) were error-prone and slow. We now regularly scan and process an average of over 10,000 pages of documents a day, so having a power-house solution is necessary. For many years now, we’ve used a high-volume document conversion server with great success and found it easier, faster and more accurate than Adobe Acrobat. It automates the conversion process of large collections of documents into digital, searchable documents, and makes them accessible in our firm data management repositories. FineReader Server is a server-based OCR and PDF conversion solution that converts scanned and electronic documents into PDF, PDF/A, or Microsoft Word. This facilitates search, long-term retention, collaboration, and additional processing quickly, accurately, and automatically.
Digitized, searchable documents allow us to analyze and manage information more efficiently. This includes utilizing text-search technology to identify key elements of files, marking up and annotating any part of a PDF, organizing documents with bookmarks, permanently and irreversibly redacting privileged, confidential, and sensitive information, and being able to quickly and reliably identify differences between documents across different formats. Further, we can communicate digitally by creating interactive forms for clients, forward documents for collaboration and approval with clients, and incorporate digital/virtual signatures.
Maximize staff’s workday productivity
To ensure computers and servers aren’t tied up with scanning large batches of files during business hours, we’ve split document processing off a to a single dedicated server which manages the OCR workflow based on type and priority, for processing both during and after business hours. This enables files to be ready for our team to deal with immediately, or otherwise on a next day basis when they begin their work the next day. Our firm has been able to avoid countless hours of busywork every week for paralegals and other staff. With a streamlined, technology-assisted system for monitoring, scanning and OCR of large volumes of documents, our employees can focus more of their time on the substantive work of researching and analyzing facts, and then litigating and winning cases. Another advantage we enjoy is a partnership with our integrated solution provider, FormTran, that has expertise in digital content management. It is important for our firm to be experts in insurance litigation and trust our partners to be experts in technology.
Improve your digital intelligence
If there’s any point the Coronavirus pandemic has driven home, it’s that technology is no longer just a “nice to have” commodity. Now, more than ever, technology is essential to maintain business continuity and gain a competitive edge. Think how quickly your organization was forced to transition to work from home and to embrace video conferencing platforms and online collaboration tools. Were you prepared? What challenges did your distributed workforce face, and what difficulties in workflows emerged? How did those challenges impact your clients’ experience? While the pandemic has helped us all focus on some of our technology shortcomings, it has also made clear that law office technology can offer very powerful solutions for productivity. Now is the time to reevaluate IT budgets and automation projects that may have previously been dismissed or postponed. The most successful law firms and businesses are those that invest in three fundamental areas: people, content and processes. Technology can help with all three.
Improving your digital intelligence means having the in-depth knowledge of how your processes work, and where you might have inefficiencies, or be less than capable. Are you able to access, search, organize, collaborate and report from all your data? Understanding your document-processing workflows and your implementation, or failure to implement document related and other technologies, provides actionable intelligence necessary to better allocate resources, optimize process rules and identify opportunities for process automation. If you have doubts about your ability to assess your processes and use of available technology, reach out to experts or consultants who can. It is a worthwhile investment. When it comes to document workflows, ABBYY FineReader Server has very much helped Kantor & Kantor, LLP succeed in fighting ERISA and bad faith insurance claim denials.
Litigating against giant insurance companies requires having competitive advantages to complement our team’s vast legal expertise. Leveraging technology to make digital content more quickly available has been a major factor in our firm’s growth and success.