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Insurance provider Stratum Benefits speeds business processes, enables remote work with Microsoft solutions

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Stratum Benefits is a financial services provider specializing in short-term insurance products in South Africa. Headquartered in Johannesburg—with three regional offices based in Cape Town, Durban, and Port Elizabeth—the company serves a unique sector of middle-class and affluent citizens who pay for private medical insurance. In the face of the COVID-19 health crisis, the company met operational challenges—and enabled employees to work from home—using Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics 365.

Logo for Stratum Benefits Pty Ltd
Products and Services Power Apps Dynamics 365
Industry Insurance
Country South Africa

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CHALLENGE
Working remotely with an on-premises CRM
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According to Yolanda de Klerk, IT Manager at Stratum Benefits, employees had to work with an on-premises customer relationship management (CRM) system—which wouldn’t do in the face of the COVID-19 health crisis. “Prior to implementing Dynamics 365, our CRM 2011 system was an onsite solution that posed connectivity challenges,” explains De Klerk. “Given the need to work remotely due to the pandemic, Stratum Benefits faced operational challenges that made working from home nearly impossible. Our previous CRM system required VPN access, uninterrupted power supply, and connectivity to the server, as well as 24/7 IT support.” 

SOLUTION
The solution: Making clients management and invoicing easier with Dynamics 365
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De Klerk notes, “Dynamics 365 was our chosen Microsoft solution. With Power Apps for our various business units, we can use our membership platform to effectively manage our clients, brokers, employer groups, brokerages, and policies. Our billings platform allows us to effectively manage our debit order batches, [and] employer group invoicing, and the claims platform effectively enables us to pay claims and gather claims data.” 

IMPACT
The impact: Working anywhere, faster, and more securely.

“With Dynamics 365 cloud hosting, however, these operational challenges have successfully been addressed and is enabling us to work anywhere, access to systems is easier, faster and [more] secure, and the quality and quantity of work can be monitored more accurately.” De Klerk adds, “Our billings and debit order batches are now mostly automated, which means less manual intervention is required, resulting in less human error.” For example, she notes, “Integration with various other platforms is possible. Relationships within Dynamics 365 links all communication to relevant entities. Automation of email and SMS communications as part of a workflow keeps our clients and brokers up to date on membership and claims processes.”   The solutions and benefits are outlined by department:  

  • Solution Department Kind benefits Microsoft Power Apps Sales Better manage clients and improve sales.  Microsoft Power Apps Finance Billing platform helps effectively manage debit order batch, invoicing, and collection of premiums. Clawbacks, financial calculations Finance Ensure all billing and commission runs are more accurate. Microsoft Power Apps Customer Service Centre Option changes on a member is more specific and accurate, allowing better understanding and knowledge of members. Microsoft Power Apps Claims and Customer Service Centre Manage underwriting per member, decreased claim pay-outs. Workflows Claims Calculating member benefits on the claim has decreased incorrect claims being paid.  
  • Looking ahead According to De Klerk, future implementations include “full automation of our claims processes whereby claims will be assessed without human intervention; improving business analytics, especially on reporting across all business units; and broker and client portals whereby certain administration functions can be done by the broker and client, application and claim submissions can be tracked, and policy schedules can be downloaded.”
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