As part of the continuing Legal Ops ACCELERATE webinar series, Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions recently welcomed Dan Winkler, Leader of Claims Legal for Westfield Group, to our session entitled Empower Your Claims Professionals with Predictive Analytics. Vincent Venturella, ELM Solutions’ Associate Director of Technology Product Management, spoke about the value that predictive analytics can bring to litigation management for a claims organization while Dan offered insights about how Westfield has historically used analytics and why they are looking to predictive tools to further improve their results.
Using data in counsel selection
Vincent began the webinar with an analogy. When someone is in the market for a new home, price is often the first criteria, but there are many others that impact a decision about which house is the right choice. Buyers consider the character of the neighborhood, the school district, the price per square foot, etc. Similarly, when claims departments need to assign outside counsel to a case, they may think first about budget. But they may also need to assign a firm that has experience with similar cases, as well as the ability to resolve them quickly, for example. The choice of a firm isn’t necessarily simple or straightforward.
Dan agreed that the selection of the right counsel for a matter is vital to its outcome. He and his team at Westfield have a well-established selection process that includes a number of data points to help claim handlers measure and manage firm performance and achieve good outcomes. Their approach blends considerations around competency and outcomes with firm efficiency. They use data from TyMetrix® 360° in reports that show KPIs, such as average case cost, indemnity cost, and cycle time. In addition, they look at closing reports from previous cases to compare how well firms have handled similar cases in the past.
This data is invaluable to the selection process, but it is based entirely on historical performance. Dan wanted a way to make the selection process even more reliable.
Adding AI for more value
Data is powerful on its own, but when combined with artificial intelligence (AI), it can offer even more value to claims organizations by providing predictive results that show comparisons of what to expect from various firms if assigned to a particular case. Using a predictive AI tool, such as the LegalVIEW® Predictive Insights module, helps attorneys and claim handlers make their best counsel selection decisions. To do that well, AI needs high-quality, segmented data that includes specifics, such as case type, location, complexity, as well as any metrics that are priorities for the organization when choosing firms.
These details are carefully tracked by Westfield. For each major discipline, they have approved law firm panel lists, which are further broken down by specialization, geography, and case complexity. When creating a new case, a claim handler will see that there are, for example, perhaps three firms in Chicago that are approved for complex casualty work. Thanks to the large amount of data Westfield collects and tracks, they can drill in from there to see who has the best track record. Now, with the addition of AI, they can go one step further and get not just historical data but predictive results. As Dan puts it, “Where we’ve been good, we can be better.”
Hard and soft data are important
At Westfield, Dan is careful to include both quantitative and qualitative data in the information claims professionals base their outside counsel assignments on. Both have a role to play because both capture pertinent facts about how a firm is likely to handle a case they are assigned. “Soft” data – such as ratings given to firms by claim handlers when previous cases closed – captures qualitative assessments that can’t be easily conveyed by KPIs, like case cost and cycle times. This is the data that helps even new team members leverage institutional knowledge to make good decisions for better outcomes, and it should be included in predictive models, as well. Westfield is bringing more of this data in as they continue to embrace predictive analytics.
Both Dan and Vincent had much more to share during the webinar. To learn more, watch the recording of Empower Your Claims Professionals with Predictive Analytics and visit our Legal Ops ACCELERATE page for more resources that can help you improve your department’s performance.