By Bill Sowinski, Decision Support Services, ELM Solutions

This is the first installment of a series detailing the five disciplines at the core of an effective data metrics program for claims litigation organizations.

Claims organizations are under constant pressure to control litigation management costs, increase internal claims staff efficiency, and improve outcomes of their litigated claims. As a result, many have undertaken efforts to capture and use data to guide decision-making.

Some are already using carefully honed metrics to inform their case management strategies, while others are just beginning to understand how data can help them toward their goals. Wherever your organization is on the maturity curve, there are steps you can take to be sure that you are optimizing the impact of your metrics.

Getting started

A typical litigation program generates an enormous amount of data about each claim and case. For example, you probably have information available about policyholders, litigants, case age and duration, settlement terms, outside counsel billing, and many other aspects of your operations. But not all of this data is equal in value. Choices must be made about which data is useful in determining the best course for moving forward on individual cases as well as on a departmental level.

As you launch and build out the metrics that will inform strategic decisions, the question that the team should ask at every step is: “What do we need to know in order to make the most important decisions?” This ensures continued focus on capturing the right data at the start and presenting it appropriately further down the line.

Whether just beginning or continuing to evolve your use of data in claims litigation, the five disciplines outlined in this series can assist in planning appropriate training or discussions with your team to be certain that everyone has the same understanding of the approach being taken.

Before you even run a report, it is important to commit to the controls that will ensure actionable data that truly provides the insight you need to inform your litigation strategy. These disciplines are:

  • Senior management buy-in and support.
  • Access to business intelligence.
  • A commitment to data integrity.
  • Effective use of segmented data.
  • Aggressive use of five types of reports.


Discipline 1: Senior management support

Effective implementation is absolutely critical to getting the best value from your data and metrics, so tight collaboration between technical, legal and management functions is needed. This requires firm backing from senior managers who understand how integral metrics are to a claims organization that aims to improve performance and who reinforce this idea in the department culture.

Managers are also needed to assign the right resources to the project. A successful cross-functional team should combine analytical and management abilities, legal knowledge and expertise in report development.

Senior management is also instrumental in ensuring accountability and recognition for the team’s efforts. It can be helpful for key players to have their work on instituting metrics formalized as part of their annual goals and objectives. This can also have a positive effect on the program results.

Part 2 will discuss the importance of a robust business intelligence tool and reliable data integrity.

As director of decision support services at Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions, Bill Sowinski leads an expert team in the design of legal spend analyses and benchmarking disciplines. He works with clients to structure and evaluate their legal data, helping to develop and deploy strategies that improve legal and claims department performance.