Aviva Risk Management Solutions is piloting the BlackBerry Playbook tablet in a new digitisation programme in the field.

The company is seeking to streamline its risk assessment processes with its SOLAR PlayBook project, which will see its risk assessment team replace pen and paper assessment processes with Blackberry PlayBooks pre-loaded with a bespoke risk assessment application.  

Developed by Formicary Collaboration Group and the a digital ideas company Float, the app aims to bring new efficiencies to Aviva's risk assessment teams, improve reporting to underwriters, and reduce customer resolution times.

The SOLAR PlayBook App enables Aviva’s 120 risk advisers, who make technical risk assessments of commercial premises across the UK, to process this information on site. This removes the need for the adviser to return to their desk before assessments can be processed, leaving them free to move on to the next customer.

Aviva drew up the specification for the bespoke risk assessment app and chose the PlayBook to run it. It wanted the app to work off-line and on-line and allow images to be embedded in reports.  

Paul Heybourne, senior project manager at Aviva, said: “Formicary and Float were the only companies we considered who had expertise with the BlackBerry PlayBook. Formicary and Float have created an app which doesn’t just meet the original IT specification but which will positively impact the bottom line of Aviva’s risk assessment business."

Heybourne said the new app delivered improved workload management to advisers, faster resolution times to customers, and higher calibre reporting to underwriters.  

A small number of Aviva risk advisers are currently piloting the app ahead of an evaluation and an expected full roll-out in "early 2012", said Aviva.  

The PlayBook project at Aviva is one of only a small number of examples of the device being used at a high profile company, with Apple's iPad tablet having already carved out a large and valuable niche in the business market.

News of the Aviva PlayBook initiative comes as BlackBerry maker RIM is expected to post a poor third quarter in terms of profits and sales, after saying it would take a $500 million charge as a result of poor PlayBook sales and predicting lower than expected sales for its other devices in the xmas season.