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In the world of workers’ compensation and disability management, it’s almost unheard of for a company as large as Marriott to be both self-insured and self-administered. Yet not only does Marriott Claim Services cover more than 100,000 employees at 700 U.S. locations, they also perform at a very high level as measured by an extensive set of key performance indicators (KPIs). From on-time claimant contact to claim disposition; from timeliness of payments to workers’ comp losses per $100 of payroll, Marriott Claim Services consistently scores at the top of the scale in frequent internal and external audits.
As Steve Perroots, senior director with the Washington, D.C., claims office, states, “We believe that there are major advantages to being self-administered, but we have to prove it year after year. We’re evaluated annually on how well we compare to outside options for third-party administration, and we compare favorably when we look strictly at the cost of self- versus third-party administration. But being evaluated on costs alone doesn’t account for quality, where we also compare very favorably in areas like claims outcomes, claimant satisfaction rates and rates of litigation and involvement by attorneys.”
Perroots is quick to point out that one of the driving forces behind the consistently superior cost-efficiency and quality of Marriott Claim Services is its adherence to the prime directive issued by company founder J.W. Marriott, Sr., some 80 years ago: “Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your customers.”
J.W. Marriott’s words are echoed clearly in the mission statement that guides Perroots’ office: “To provide superior claim service to associates, guests and operation staff in a fair, prompt and honest manner in order to achieve equitable, cost-effective resolutions.” As Perroots explains, “It’s not just about efficiencies and saving money. It’s about superior claim service and how we treat the associates and guests.”
When Perroots says that he, along with his Claim Services colleagues nationwide, are always looking for ways to improve and do things better, it’s much more than just a personal commitment: it’s an organizational imperative. In the world of claims administration, Perroots states, it’s essential to stay out ahead of the pack: “The industry is changing, and new technology is coming out every day. The company that doesn’t pay attention to that or at least stay abreast of what’s happening is going to be left behind.”
Delivering top-notch performance year after year is no small feat. In addition to being evaluated on cost and service KPIs, Perroots and his Claim Services colleagues are also motivated through a formal process by which each Claim Services regional office sets yearly goals for how to improve performance. Each office’s goal, which must be approved by Vice President of Claims Bob Steggert, must be challenging yet attainable. Each regional office is then judged by how well it meets objective quality and cost-efficiency criteria.
Perroots is leading a key initiative in 2012 that will have a major impact on the Marriott claims department’s yearly performance-improvement goal: Namely, transitioning from claims intake by a third-party call center to online incident reporting in Ventiv Claims. Introduced in pilot on February 1, 2012, online incident reporting began rolling out to Marriott properties across the United States on July 1, 2012. Says Perroots, “It’s coming along very nicely and is actually exceeding expectations. We already have several thousand incidents successfully reported through the new process. Hotel personnel have already given us feedback that the process is saving them time, which is very important for our properties because, obviously, they have other responsibilities in addition to reporting incidents.”
Perroots didn’t share with us the standards by which his team will be judged this year in reaching its performance goal, but in terms of cost efficiency, going to online incident reporting looks to be a winner: Sporting a return on investment of 400 percent, Marriott’s initial savings alone equal four times the cost of implementing online incident reporting.
The new incident reporting process will be judged on quality measures, as well. “Marriott’s executive management strongly supports the move to online incident reporting because it furthers one of Marriott’s key objectives: timely claim reporting by properties, which is crucial in keeping claim costs down,” says Perroots. “Properties are held accountable for their timeliness and accuracy in reporting claims, and we expect online incident reporting to help our properties with their performance in those areas. And when the properties are performing these responsibilities well, then we in Marriott Claim Services can more effectively handle and dispose of their claims.”
Marriott has been using the Ventiv Claims core administration system since 2001—an eternity in the IT space—and Perroots sees Ventiv as an important partner in Marriott’s claims administration program. “Marriott has very high standards,” Perroots says. “We hold ourselves to very high standards, and we hold our partners to very high standards as well. Ventiv has consistently developed with us over the years as we’ve evolved from a claims perspective. We are constantly responding to—and even proactively anticipating—the company’s direction. We focus on being ready and able to fulfill Marriott’s needs from a claims perspective. That’s what we ask of our vendors and our partners, and Ventiv has delivered.”
Perroots and his team haven’t yet decided on their performance-improvement goal for 2013, but if the past is any guide, Ventiv will be part of the process. “We’ve been long-time Ventiv Claims clients and have a very positive relationship with Ventiv. Ventiv has consistently made the necessary adjustments and stayed on top of or in front of the technology that’s coming out. We’re a top-notch claims organization, and I think a lot of that is attributable to the partnership that we’ve had with Ventiv, which has helped us meet all of the yearly goals we’ve selected as well as unanticipated needs.”
As befits a company guided by J.W. Marriott’s people-centric philosophy, Perroots is keen to credit the people of Ventiv, including Marriott’s account manager, Faith Goodman. Says Perroots, “It’s not an official title, but I’m the business lead for our claims systems, and Faith Goodman is a big reason I’ve been able to do that for quite a few years. Faith and I have a true partnership that is at the core of our successful work together. She has always been there, ready to help with any and all issues.”
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