Bewuzt, IZA, IZZ, UMC, Univé, VGZ, ZEKUR and the health insurance of De Goudse Verzekeringen: these are all brand names of health insurances that fall under the umbrella of Coöperatie VGZ. The corresponding 28 million bills a year are the responsibility of the Credit Management department of Coöperatie VGZ, user of Cwize, the performance manager platform from Collenda.
It keeps changing, right across the board that's what makes it such a great profession
Coöperatie VGZ is an organisation of big numbers in more ways than one. The Credit Management department in Gorinchem deals with 4.1 million insured people, a premium income of more than 6 billion euros, about 700 million euros worth of deductibles and 2,500 collective schemes. In addition to the millions of insured people, there are other important relationships as well, such as 3,000 mental health-care institutions and 100 hospitals with which Coöperatie VGZ has contracts and from which it must recover claims. “It’s a complex world,” says Peter van Dorst, credit manager at Coöperatie VGZ, “with major interests at stake for all involved parties.”
His department was established on 1 January 2009, after he had been commissioned to consolidate the separate administrative organisations of Univé, VGZ, IZA and Trias. Later, the billing department in Alkmaar was added to the list. “It’s much more efficient this way,” he says. “The difference between dealing with a bill and a reminder is negligible.” There are teams at the Credit Management department that are each in charge of a link in the chain. There’s a team for billing and payment processing, a team for amicable reminders, for debt mediation and debt restructuring, for prevention and premium default, withholding tax, for relations with bailiffs and collection agencies, with business clients and health-care providers, and a control and process team.
Transparent and seamless
“All of these links have to be perfectly connected to each other,’ says Peter van Dorst, “so that the information conveyed in the credit management chain occurs as transparently, as seamlessly and as efficiently as possible. The front office handles 28 million bills for 4.1 million insured people who all need to be paid, while at the back office we sign over a maximum of 80,000 cases to our collection partners. Only 10,000 of these actually end up in court.”
Much has changed since 1 January 2009. “We’re continuously working on how make things different, better and above all easier for our clients. A good example of that is agreeing on payment plans. Until recently, insured people had a whole range of obstacles to overcome. Now clients can log into ‘My profile’ and enter a payment plan themselves. This and other measures – such as better billing, better reminders and more payment options – have helped to reduce the number of outstanding balances.”
Collenda’s software, Cwize
Staffing at the department has changed as well in the past few years, with a recent shift from the middle vocational education (MBO) level to the higher vocational education (HBO) level. Staff took training courses to learn new competencies, such as budget coaching. Lean was introduced as a method for enhancing quality and efficiency. “There have been all kinds of innovations in terms of the supply of information as well,’ according to Peter van Dorst. “The ability not only to see the status of an outstanding payment at the file level in our own system but also at the bill level enables us to provide our clients with better service. Collenda’s software, Cwize, has made that possible.” The department can thus check on a daily basis whether the information about the principle amounts and the amounts already collected correspond to the feedback we get from the bailiffs. As a result, the value of the portfolio is as transparent as possible.
“The Cwize reports enable us to improve how we manage our collection efficiency. We work with two collection agencies: Flanderijn and M.G. de Jong. Each year, they both receive about half of the 80,000 cases. I used to have my own management information about their performances, but comparing these with each other was time-consuming and definitely not error-free. The Cwize tool is, so that you end up comparing apples to apples, and not oranges. Our partners also benefit from the process because it creates more insight into the pre-financing and more transparency into the management of funds.”
There is also more insight into the performances of the organisation itself. “Cwize allows me to aggregate: I can look at what stands out in the big picture, but also at each brand and each phase. What stands out, what has been collected, what has been paid and what is still being kept in deposit? This is extremely interesting information in the context of risk management. And it helps to answer the question which investments in improvement measures are justifiable.”
Coöperatie VGZ and Collenda did not take the introduction of the software lightly. Not only were meticulous tests run with different kinds of reports, but all open files from recent years were also incorporated in order to generate a completely different picture. “An added benefit,’ Peter van Dorst says, “was that we can now be sure that our data from these older cases correspond precisely, even at the client and bill level, with our external partners’ data.”
He believes there are changes in store for the future and not only because the department is moving from Gorinchem to Eindhoven in 2018. “I predict an increased focus on digital billing and payment on different platforms with device independence, for example. We have to make it as easy as possible for our clients to see what they need to pay and to be able to pay the owed amounts when it suits them. Obviously within the limits we set. Another important change for us is that we’re going to work more and more frequently with municipalities to address the more complex problems of health-care payment default. The legislation is there, so now we have to implement and enforce it. But it keeps changing, right across the board: the systems, the people, the processes and cooperation with partners and with authorities, all the while prioritising the client. But that’s why credit management is such a great profession.”