How to achieve print and mail compliance with your business
Address regulatory and compliance requirements for your transactional print and mail operations.
After a regular health checkup, your primary care provider might mail you an office visit summary, perhaps with prescription information. Separately, you might also receive an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) disclosure in the mail from your health insurance company, explaining what payments were made for your visit.
Think of all the sensitive mail that you, as a consumer, receive each day. Then consider you would feel if your medical statements were sent to your next door neighbor’s house instead? How about your credit card bill? Auto insurance policy? Mortgage notice? Tax forms?
All of these documents have highly personal information that is meant to stay private. When sensitive customer information ends up in the wrong envelope or delivered to the wrong address, it poses security risks to the consumer. What’s more, it creates serious compliance risks to the company that sent it. According to the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach is around $4 million, which punctuates the considerable financial cost of insecure information.
That’s why enterprise mail operations must stay on top of print and mail compliance. If your organization is on the wrong end of a compliance dispute, you could be forced to pay millions of dollars in fines or, even worse, face serious – if not irreparable -- risk to your brand’s reputation. By embracing the importance of protecting sensitive consumer information -- then making the needed technology and process changes within your mail operations to secure this information -- you can improve your ability to stay compliant.
Regulated Communications by Industry
- Every responsible mail operation should carefully manage customers’ personally identifiable information (PII). According to the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), PII includes anything that could distinguish an individual’s identity either alone or if combined with other information. That means businesses need to secure any mail sent that might contain:
- A person’s name.
- Social Security number.
- Date or place of birth.
- Mother’s maiden name and/or other distinguishing facts.
PII is regulated across a number of industries, notably:
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) oversees compliance for healthcare providers and insurers, requiring the secure transmission of private healthcare information. Your mail operation needs to secure patient bills, notices and statements sent through the mail, as well as disclosure forms like the EOB or Explanation of Healthcare Coverage (EOC).
In consumer banking or lending, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) is one regulation that controls how financial institutions collect, disclose and safeguard private financial details. This could affect how you mail billing or account statements, credit risk disclosures, collection letters and even welcome letters. This doesn’t just apply to banks or lenders, but also to insurance companies that send out policy notifications and credit card companies that mail credit documentation letters.
Another challenge is the sheer volume of material businesses produce that potentially contain PII. In a broad sense, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) institutes a range of financial regulations that have increased the sheer number of statements customers can expect to receive. This includes heftier mortgage disclosures and credit card agreement documents due to changes in the Truth in Lending Act. While that increased print volumes creates a growth opportunity for US mail service bureaus, it also means even more sensitive information will need be securely printed, inserted and sorted.
How to help ensure print and mail compliance
Make sure that your mail operations are effectively securing PII and meeting industry and federal regulations. A critical component is to create a tightly controlled and efficient mail center that incorporates the very best in world-class operational technology and compliance capabilities at every step of the process.
For example, with a printing system, you can print codes on each page and scan each piece as it is printed to implement tracking and achieve highly accurate communications. Automated resynchronization and reprinting solves multi-stream printing challenges and helps you create reports for tracking and auditing purposes. Additionally, duplex verification ensures the integrity of each mail piece by reading codes on both sides of each page. This prevents out-of-sequence printing.
Intelligent printing systems can inspect for the presence or absence of values such as:
- MICR print codes used in check printing.
- The readability of postal or other barcodes.
- Color accuracy for brand logos.
- Color consistency between jobs and across fleets of printers.
- Calibration tracking (to prevent an “8” from becoming a “6”.)
A modern inserting system with file-based processing facilitates compliance and quality by creating a traceability record for every mailpiece that can be monitored throughout its lifecycle. Inserting privacy technology can even implement in-line, high-speed weighing capabilities that makes sure that each mailpiece includes the proper contents. High-integrity mail and parcel sorters can accurately scan and sort mailpieces at a high speed, ensuring you don’t have to slow down operations to keep compliant.
Benefits of having a trusted print and mail compliance partner
Ultimately, your goal as a mail operator should be to achieve full mail chain of custody, automatically tracking and tracing mail pieces from finishing through to sorting and then to hand-off to the postal service. As your mail solutions partner, Pitney Bowes helps businesses -- like yours -- address end-to-end compliance needs with the latest technology solutions and expert compliance services.
A recent success story: One national provider of printing and mailing services for the finance and healthcare industries upgraded its environment with a modern inserting system, document product software and data management solution from Pitney Bowes. As a result, the company has been able to reduce downtime between jobs, save money in reduced staffing jobs and process mail at a higher rate of efficiency and integrity. What’s more, the operator can send up to 25 million pieces of sensitive mail each month with assurances of compliance and security.
That’s why it’s critical that you engineer your mail center for operational excellence. As regulators draft tighter compliance mandates and customer expectations for privacy become even higher, you’ll be able to continue to meet and exceed internal and external standards.
Pitney Bowes is a trusted partner to mail operators looking to consistently satisfy industry and federal compliance. Learn more about print and mail compliance solutions from Pitney Bowes, including our high-integrity mail finishing solutions and expert mail professional services and consulting.