ELM Amplify user conference
LegalDecember 14, 2020

ELM Amplify: How to get e-billing right

ELM Amplify 2020, the ELM Solutions annual user conference, took place online from October 20 through 22. We are highlighting a few of the sessions that were offered at the conference and all are available to watch on demand here.

Vincent Venturella of ELM Solutions welcomed our special guests Jonathan Weber, Vice President of Vendor Management at Chubb, and John McGann, Head of Litigation and Vendor Management at AXA XL, to share their expertise and experience with attendees in an informative session titled E-Billing Has Been Done Wrong for the Past 20 Years. Here's How to do it Right.

The provocative title was a reference to the inefficiency built into the e-billing process as it is traditionally conducted. Typically, a firm submits an invoice on a platform where built-in rules make adjustments, then a bill reviewer checks those adjustments and potentially adds others. Next, the invoice is sent to accounts payable, and a payment is made to the firm. Once they receive the payment, the firm must reconcile it against their original invoice amount, which often means that they submit a new invoice for the adjusted amount without any connection in the e-billing system to the original invoice.

Both Jonathan Weber and John McGann have experience with the issues this process can create. For example, neither found invoice review to be a high priority among the busy claims professionals on their teams. This meant that claims managers often would not give invoices the expected scrutiny during review, leading to missed opportunities for adjustments, spend leakage, and ongoing lack of compliance with billing guidelines. Both leaders decided to look for better ways for their respective organizations to handle bill review.

Technology as a bridge

Fortunately, technology can help to bridge the resources of a claims department with the need for strong bill review. Billing guidelines can be complicated, so any helpful tool needs to be sophisticated enough to handle a good deal of complexity. This makes artificial intelligence (AI) a good fit for streamlining bill review. It has the ability to review invoices and flag line items that are potentially non-compliant with billing guidelines, guiding human reviewers to direct their attention at those items where they can add the most value.

John and Jonathan chose to implement LegalVIEW® BillAnalyzer in their organizations because of these strengths. BillAnalyzer’s patented AI technology analyzes invoice line items and provides scoring and recommendations within the established invoice review process. As Jonathan pointed out in the session, humans are better at reviewing in the morning than in the afternoon when they are more tired and they tend to focus more on big line items and less on smaller ones. AI, on the other hand, never gets tired and can apply the same rigor to every line item, large or small, whether the invoice has just a few line items or hundreds.

For AXA XL and Chubb, the BillAnalyzer Data Service was the best fit. This version allows the client’s in-house reviewers to execute the company’s bill review process with the aid of BillAnalyzer’s AI. (The BillAnalyzer Expert Service provides professional external reviewers to conduct the AI-assisted bill review for those organizations that are better served by that option.)

John expressed satisfaction with the process now that the claim handlers on his team need only provide one last look at an invoice, after the AI and initial review have happened, so that they can look for anything specific to a particular claim, such as reasonableness or an ad hoc cost-sharing arrangement. This represents a much smaller task for the claims team than the full review they used to be responsible for.

Long-term improvements

Both John and Jonathan emphasized that the goal isn’t short term savings in the form of as many adjustments as possible. Rather, it’s about controlling costs in the long run by increasing process efficiency and compliance with guidelines. If reviewers have to make a large number of adjustments to a firm’s invoices continually over time, it is a sign that the firm is remaining out of compliance with the billing guidelines they’ve agreed to.

BillAnalyzer helps clients recognize non-compliant behaviors among timekeepers and address those issues with firms so that they submit compliant invoices in the future. John talked about the conversations his team has with firms to help improve compliance. When they let firms know exactly how they can improve, most understand quickly and correct their submitted invoices. Compliance rates tend to stay steady once they understand exactly what you’re looking for.

To hear the conversation and learn more about how to make e-billing work better for your organization, visit the ELM Amplify page and fill out the registration information or, if you previously registered for ELM Amplify, click the Already Registered button and enter your email address. Once you’re in the event page, click on Theater at the top and select Agenda for a list of all on-demand videos. For this session, click the On Demand button next to E-Billing Has Been Done Wrong for the Past 20 Years. Here's How to do it Right. Be sure to check out our other on-demand sessions for more valuable information and thought leadership.

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