May 22 2016

What is document retrieval?

Jill Barry-Cowan, Patra Client Consultant

“Document retrieval is a Patra service in which our team in India will retrieve time-sensitive documents from carrier websites. Here’s how it works: The agency will provide the Patra team a download sheet, expiration report, or other relevant list of documents so that the team knows which documents to pull (download) from carrier sites. The Patra team may also log in to carrier sites and retrieve recently-uploaded documents. The team will then attach the documents into the client’s agency management system, as per their specific workflows. Without Patra, each account manager would have to log in to each carrier’s site, retrieve a document, and then store it in the system themselves.”

How does it help an agency?

One of our Patra document retrieval teams.

“Document retrieval helps agencies become more efficient. Until an agency partners with Patra, account managers or their assistants must go to carrier sites and retrieve the documents they need. This can take hours over the course of a day. Our teams have the experience and skills to navigate the carrier sites and are able to easily download the requested documents on our clients’ behalf. This saves clients time and they can depend on finding their documents in the agency management system, when and where they are needed. Because we free up their time, they’re able to really embrace what I call ‘the concept of Patra,’ which is giving them time to do what they were hired to do.

“For instance, document retrieval was one of the first services we implemented for a large, national agency. The woman who had been doing it was an assistant but wanted to become an account manager. She was so busy with projects that she never had time to get her own accounts and be promoted from her assistant role. We were able to relieve her of that and she’s been promoted to account manager. It goes back to that concept of Patra, where we’re able to help people reach their full capacity.”

Which documents can be retrieved?

“We pull all types of documents – for personal lines and commercial lines. For personal lines, you could have policies, endorsements or auto ID cards, to name a few.

“For any carrier-issued document, it’s the goal of the carrier to save time and money and stop sending those things out. Agencies are trying to keep up because carriers are announcing target dates for when they will discontinue mailing paper documents. Agencies don’t have the time to have someone pull every document and save them. We’re able to help with that.

“For notices of cancellation, our teams are trained to set reminders for the account manager based on the urgency of the document. Not only are they saving it, they’re assigning it a name so the account manager can, at a glance, know what the document is without opening it. If they receive a cancellation notice, they set a reminder of 0 days. When the account manager comes in the next morning, he or she will have a notification that says they must address that item that day. It can help the agency’s E&O risk, too. If an assistant is busy and can only check carrier sites once a week, they could easily miss something like that.”

How easy is it to implement?

“Since Patra teams already have experience with most carrier websites, the process is usually pretty quick and easy for our client. The process does include some initial work, in that we need the agency’s login credentials so that our teams can access each carrier site. There will also be some time to set up the workflows and processing rules. We can be up and running pretty quickly.”

What are some of the benefits agencies immediately notice in addition to more time?

“Just like any process, there will be a consistency and flow as the team is doing it the exact same way every time. For example, without Patra, account managers are typically responsible for pulling their own documents. They save documents according to different naming conventions and in different places unless there are formal procedures in place. We have one procedure – everything is saved the same way and in the same place. The account managers come to expect that. If someone is out sick, whoever is covering for that person can easily locate their documents because they’re saved the same way. It creates flow and efficiency. It’s the same benefit you get from any other Patra process.”

What else do we need to know?

“I can only see this process becoming more and more popular. Clients are responding to the need for a paperless office. This service provides a cost savings that trickles down. The carrier doesn’t have to spend on printing and mailing. They’re able to pass that savings on to your insured, which makes customers happy. We’re able to provide cost savings to our clients because they’re using Patra. Rather than paying their account manager (who’s earning a salary for high-level knowledge and output) to download documents, they’re able to let that person work at the top of their abilities. Our Patra staff person is able to do that work at a lower cost.

“As carriers roll out deadlines for when they’ll stop printing and mailing, agencies continue to adjust. To be prepared for that, they can be proactive or reactive. A good agency is always proactive. Right now is when they should be thinking about Patra and getting a system in place to be able to handle that cutoff date.

My goal is that in every conversation with a client, I want to hear what the pain points are and see what other services we can provide. There’s a reason they’ve chosen to use Patra; I want to be sure they’re getting the most out of us. I can see what their teams are spending too much time on, and I can recommend a service that makes sense.”

What does a Patra customer have to say about Patra’s document retrieval service?

“Having Patra pulling our documents through the document retrieval process has made a large impact on our Personal Lines Processing Team. Not only is Patra pulling documents but they are also reviewing them. With this procedure, our Processing Team now just concentrates on the documents that need special attention. In addition, this has freed up time for them to help our Account Manager Teams more, which in turn has also helped free up some time for them to concentrate more on their client service & sales. This process has had a trickledown effect on the entire Personal Lines Dept. Overall, this has been a great experience so far.” – J. Carey Jones, Personal Lines Business Manager

One of our Patra document retrieval teams.  One of our Patra document retrieval teams. 

For more information about this or any other Patra service, please contact Dave Tight, SVP Business Development, at
1-415-595-9987 or