Insurance OCR – Use cases and benefits

January 8, 2019

Text recognition, also called OCR is gaining importance in today’s fast-paced digital age. Writing text with pen and paper or manually retyping the contents of invoices, contracts, and forms into an app has become outdated in many cases. Instead, we make our everyday lives more comfortable by transforming the way we handle documents. But how does text recognition exactly work and how can you benefit from it? Let’s dive into this topic with the insurance industry as an example and learn what text recognition is, how it works, and how you can benefit from integrating automated text recognition into your daily business workflows.

Text extraction through Optical Character Recognition

What is text recognition?

Text recognition defines the process where text in images is recognized pixel by pixel and transformed into a digital counterpart. Often text recognition is also referred to as Optical Character Recognition (OCR). After using a desktop scanner or smartphone app to scan a page (this could be an insurance contract), the software analyzes the components of the document. In the first step, it separates images from text elements. Throughout the process, an algorithm recognizes individual characters from the scanned documents and combines them into text elements. The resulting digital file is searchable and ready for automation.

Text recognition use cases in the insurance industry

Many typical workflows within the insurance industry require the transformation of an analog text into a digital form. A scanned image is mostly not sufficient as it does not yet provide a chance to process, edit, and search for information from particular text elements. For that, you need to integrate text recognition technology into your business workflows.

Instead of manually entering the contents word by word, a time-consuming and error-prone process, insurances increasingly rely on automated document processing solutions. Within these workflows, documents like invoices, identity documents, or contracts are scanned, recognized, and relevant data is processed automatically. This allows substantial time- and cost savings. It’s also an excellent solution to minimize manual data entry errors and thus increases process quality.

Find out more about specific use cases of text recognition in the insurance industry.

Differences between different text recognition solutions


While there are plenty of text recognition solutions on the market, there are considerable quality differences. They can come with weaknesses leading to significant – even costly – consequences. Thus, when choosing your text recognition solution for insurance workflows, accuracy is crucial. Advanced OCR software often also includes additional features such as orientation recognition and various output formats.

Document storage and data security

Another key factor when choosing a text recognition solution is data security. In times of enforced international privacy standards, securing sensitive customer or employee data becomes mandatory. Non-server based solutions are in general a better option as extracted document data are solely stored on the users’ device and won’t be transferred to a 3rd party server. Additionally, data storage in the form of digital files eliminates the need for local storage of paper documents which has been proven to be highly cost-inefficient in many cases.

Language recognition capabilities

It is essential that your OCR can recognize different foreign languages. Following more and more people working abroad, being able to handle international customers becomes a more critical decision factor. While many OCR solutions can recognize languages based on the Latin character set, solutions with support for more complex ones such as Cyrillic, Chinese, or Arabic are rare.

Processing errors

To get as close to a 100% recognition result as possible, you need not only a good OCR engine but also a good image or scan as an input. Using smartphone cameras as a scanner is the most flexible and cheapest solution. But holding your phone over a document can also generate much more errors because OCR engines are susceptible to low-resolution images, poor light conditions, or problematic photo angles. That’s why mobile scanning solutions need an excellent responsive user interface that interactively guides the customer to make the best possible scan. This feature is by far the number one quality differentiator in mobile scanning solutions because any loss in this first step can never be salvaged later.

The prospects of text recognition in the insurance industry

To conclude, by integrating text recognition- and OCR technology in their business workflows insurance companies can increase productivity-rates significantly while decreasing process costs. It enables the automatic recognition of document data from invoices, contracts, or identity cards which are then transformed into classifiable and searchable digital files. To avoid problems such as data processing errors further down the value chain or low extraction accuracy rates, choosing the right solution is crucial. Especially when handling sensitive data, we advise relying on non-server based offline-solutions to provide the highest possible data security standards.

If you want to implement a text recognition feature in your company's mobile app, fell free to contact one of our experts. We'd love to figure out a perfect solution with you. If you want more information about this topic, check out our blog posts about the benefits of OCR and about claims process automation!

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