Speech Recognition Reduces Turnaround Times at FirstAssist

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - The legal expenses insurance division of FirstAssist has implemented a desktop speech recognition system from UK-based SRC, to reduce document turnaround times and boost efficiency within its claims department. FirstAssist, which is part of Royal & SunAlliance, has combined Dragon NaturallySpeaking V5 Professional with SRC's corporate law vocabulary for its specialist Legal Expenses Division and is now looking to roll out the system across its remaining assistance and legal advisory divisions. The speech technology - currently used by 30 legal claims professionals - allows documents to be dictated through microphone headsets directly into the computer. In addition, the corporate law vocabulary, which was developed by SRC and includes over 4,500 legal words and phrases, ensures that even the most complicated 'legalese' will be recognized by the computer and typed correctly. SRC also expanded the vocabulary to incorporate around 500 words of in-house jargon and key client names, which would be needed on a daily basis. Julia Abercromby, legal expenses project manager for FirstAssist, said the company had been looking for a new way of improving costs and efficiency for a number of years, and had been waiting for speech recognition technology to become sufficiently developed to meet its needs. "Modern speech recognition systems were the solution to making our claims letter production process a lot easier to manage. FirstAssist was very keen to realise the benefits of this technology," she said. "The business is already seeing a return on the speech recognition investment. Productivity per person has dramatically increased, and although additional investment was needed to change our networked PC system, we expect to recoup these costs within the first year." Mrs. Abercromby said that before speech recognition, documents were dictated promptly but could be caught up in unforeseen typing backlogs owing to staff sickness, causing FirstAssist some concern about the possibility of breaching customer service level agreements. "Using speech recognition, our claims negotiators can now produce their own documents in minimal time, eliminating the chance of them getting lost or delayed within the typing pool. Our employees are very happy with the new system, as they find they despatch their correspondence in less than half the time it used to take," she said. "SRC's experience in developing vocabularies and successfully deploying speech solutions was key to ensuring that FirstAssist maximised their return on investment and that aggressive targets for document turnaround times were met," said Chris Hart, CEO of SRC. "A dedicated vocabulary to match the needs of users is absolutely vital to achieve maximum usability and accuracy. It ensures there are no lengthy user "learning" sessions that give poor initial accuracy and make for a steep learning curve - instead, users at FirstAssist could use the system effectively from day one and see immediate benefits. "SRC's combination of state-of-the art speech recognition technologies, tailored vocabularies and structured training services make these solutions ideal for any corporate department that is looking to reduce document turnaround times and increase productivity," he said.
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