How to de-risk your at-home agents


16 Aug 2018

How can US health insurers boost their agility by hiring more at-home agents to handle calls - without compromising data security? Forward-thinking companies have found the answer.

US healthcare insurers have it tough in 2018/19: Just like their insurance counterparts in other industries, they are trying desperately to meet rising customer expectations, embrace innovation and fend off disruptive newcomers. The pressure to become more dynamic has never been greater. Deloitte's 2018 Insurance Outlook puts it bluntly: 'Insurance company leaders have a lot on their plates'[1].

And yet for health insurance, the load is even greater. Data breaches in the healthcare sector are growing at around 10% each year[2]. Meanwhile, Experian has warned that medical data breaches are becoming an epidemic and has flagged identity theft as a major concern[3].

The point at which these two goals of security and flexibility collide is over the thorny issue of hiring lots of at-home contact center workers: Ambitious companies say Yes, cautious companies say No.

But is it possible to satisfy both needs? Certainly.

Compelling business case

Hiring more at-home agents has huge advantages for health insurers who are looking to reduce costs, become more responsive and retain the skills of knowledgeable employees to improve customer service. In other words, just the kind of things they need to survive and thrive.

Clear benefits of at-home workers can include:

  • The ability to flex to cover peaks, so callers spend less time waiting
  • Reduced need for office space
  • Easier to hire agents and reduce attrition rates

And it's not just older, experienced employees you'll be likely to attract. Huffpost reports that 64% of millennials would like the opportunity to work from home.[4]

Risk of rogue agents

For healthcare insurers, having a remote contact center workforce comes with significant risks. The prospect of allowing credit/debit card details, Social Security numbers and other sensitive personal details to run freely through the hands of unmonitored at-home agents is a major concern.

It isn't alarmist to be worried about this: It's realistic.

There are over 3.5 million contact center agents across all sectors in the United States[5]. Inevitably, some will be bad apples. And certainly, some will be moving between sectors and looking for fresh opportunities to make money through fraud.

The traditional approach of safeguarding sensitive data within contact centers by using 'clean rooms' is deeply flawed anyway - but even the weak protection it provides cannot be transferred to the home. Bans on mobile phones, other strict rules and constant monitoring cannot be applied to a someone's spare bedroom in Brooklyn, Boulder or Buffalo.

So what's the answer?

Here is where some US health insurers have used a stroke of genius. Eckoh's award-winning CallGuard solution is being deployed successfully by healthcare insurance organizations that include Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Blue Cross Blue Shield Alabama, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, and Carefirst Blue Cross Blue Shield.

With CallGuard, you can hide sensitive data from all your agents whether they're based within your contact center or work from home.

Put simply, agents are prevented from:

  • Hearing sensitive details read aloud by customers over the phone
  • Listening to audible keypad tones that can give away numbers
  • Seeing information appearing on the screen
  • Locating sensitive information in IT systems
  • Hunting down sensitive information in call recordings

CallGuard uses proven technology, such as DTMF masking or audio tokenization, to put sensitive information out of reach for agents, while Eckoh's secure platform deals with the sensitive data and confirms its validity. What's more, the process is easy for customers. Conversations with agents flow naturally and there's no jarring pause-and-resume moments during calls.

Discover more

Solutions like CallGuard have arrived at just the right time when health insurers need to ramp up security while becoming more flexible by using more at-home agents.

For deeper insight take a look at our eGuide to CNP Crime in Contact Centers. Alternatively, talk to us about how CallGuard can protect your health insurance business by giving us a call on 866 258 9297 or drop us an email at


[1] '2018 Insurance Industry Outlook' - Deloitte

[2] 'Cyber Security and Healthcare: An Evolving Understanding of Risk' - Symantec, 2018

[3] 'Here's Your Rx to Avoid Medical Identity Theft' - Experian

[4] 'How Millennials Are Shaking Up American Work Culture From Their Parents' Basements' - Huffpost

[5] 'US Contact Centers 2018-2022' - ContactBabel