The possibility to use an online service to send supporting documents for applications was awarded an International Social Security Association (ISSA) Certificate of Merit.
Kela's entry in the ISSA's Good Practice Award competition was titled "Adoption of electronic documentation for claims submitted on an online customer service platform".
The entry described the objectives and background of the online customer service, the technical solutions behind the possibility to send electronic documents, communication and public awareness efforts, and the achieved results and their effectiveness.
“We have worked systematically on improving our electronic customer service for several years, and are delighted that our efforts have gained international recognition and that we will be able to share our experiences more widely”, says Director Kari-Pekka Mäki-Lohiluoma of Kela. He received the Certificate of Merit at the ISSA's award gala, which was held in Stockholm on Monday 18 April 2016.
Documents photographed with a phone are accepted
Applications for benefit often must be accompanied by supporting documents. They are used to determine the customer's eligibility or to calculate the benefit. Kela handles several million supporting documents annually.
In November 2013 Kela added to its online customer service a function that allows customers to send supporting documents electronically. Customers can photograph the documents for example on their phone. Before the new function was introduced, supporting documents had to be either mailed to Kela or delivered to a customer service point.
In 2015, 46% of all required documents were send through the online customer service. This was an increase of 28% over the previous year.
The possibility of sending documentation online has been actively promoted to customers since the service was introduced. Besides communication through the media, there have been several public information campaigns. A campaign focusing on online customer service organised in 2015 raised awareness about the possibility of sending supporting documents online. A short instructional video was released in January 2016.
As electronic service continues to become more widespread, customer service can be delivered more quickly and there is less need to access other customer service channels, such as telephone assistance or offices.
“Greater use of online customer service also reinforces the goal of environmental sustainability, which Kela has identified as a strategic objective. The volume of mail to and from customers is reduced significantly. Nearly all customers today carry a camera phone. Sending documents is simple and easy”, says Marjukka Turunen, Head of the Legal Unit for Benefit Services at Kela.
Turunen will present some of the procedures involved in the electronic transmission of supporting documents at the ISSA's European Regional Meeting in Stockholm on 19 April 2016.
Kela's online customer service has been awarded twice
The Kela-Kerttu advice forum on the Suomi24 website garnered a certificate of merit in the ISSA's Good Practice Award competition in 2013. Today, Kela-Kerttu provides advice to families with children on Kela's own support forum and on Facebook.
Targeted at European social security institutions, the Good Practice Award competition attracted 71 entries from 19 different countries in 2016. The Certificate of Merit awarded to Kela was the only entry from Finland singled out for recognition.
The ISSA has recognised good practices in social security since 2008. It seeks to encourage social security institutions to improve their practices and administrative procedures. The recognised good practices are published on the ISSA's web pages.
Additional information for customers
Director Kari-Pekka Mäki-Lohiluoma, Tel. 020 634 1216
Legal Unit for Benefit Services
Marjukka Turunen, Tel. 040 528 5371
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