Big Sky Underwriters: An Early Adopter of Digital Payments

Todd Stoudt has been with Big Sky since 2018, but his history with ePayPolicy goes back to his previous job. They had ePayPolicy at his Hull & Company agency in Pennsylvania. When Todd was offered the Accounting Lead position at Big Sky, he thought digital payments/ePayPolicy would be something new he could bring to the table.

Turns out, Big Sky had been using ePayPolicy since our earliest days (2016)! 

Todd reflects, “Coming from another office, nothing caught me off guard. It was what I was used to.” That helped make his transition smooth.

Biggest Benefits 

“We didn’t have specific problems that we needed to fix with ePayPolicy,” Todd explains. “We have a diligent person doing our AR, so there’s little bad debt or collection issues here.”

Yet when one arises, ePayPolicy is a great tool for late receivables and debt collection. “We force our agents to use ePayPolicy to clear any bad debt. Once we start issuing cancellations, I see the automatic emails come in, letting us know the payment’s been made.”

Another benefit is lump sum payments. “Our agents get their statements, reconcile, and send one lump sum. We get an automatic email about the batches, then we manually apply the payments that come in through ePayPolicy,” explains Todd.

Who’s Paying Digitally

He says, “Most of our payments are from agencies. When an agent pays us, it’s almost always ACH. Our direct payers are a mix of ACH and credit card, but mostly ACH.”

Much as Todd would like to convert everyone to online payments, Big Sky still processes a lot of checks. They’ve put in a lock box to make it safe to drop them off during COVID-19. 

Favorite Features

Todd offers his thoughts without hesitation: “Auto emails. I see when something is or is not paid. I don’t have to log into the portal. All three of us in Accounting rely on the emails to know when payments are made.” 

He also likes that ePayPolicy is so simple to use. “We direct first-time payers to the website and they can figure it out. They have the option of using a card or ACH.”

For his team, too, Todd appreciates the simplicity. “You literally can’t get confused. The fields are there for a reason. We rarely get a payment where we don’t know where to apply it.”

Other features Todd likes about us:

  • Batch in the bank is easy
  • Having the payment link on the Big Sky website
  • Being able to access information in the portal and the emails both
  • Knowing when they’re approaching a bad debt

He also says good things about our customer service. “We rarely have an issue, but it’s always solved quickly.”:

Advice to Other Agencies

If you’re on the fence about offering digital payments, Todd suggests you use Big Sky as an example. “We pay $50 a month for it.* If you can absorb that cost, go for it.” 

* Monthly fee for our Custom Plan.

About Big Sky Underwriters

Big Sky Underwriters is an independent MGA based in Missoula, Montana. The agency has been in business since 1955, and is now a division of Hull & Company, LLC. Licensed in all 50 states, Big Sky’s business mix is primarily commercial and agribusiness, along with personal lines and some religious groups. Big Sky has 35 employees and made $5 million in revenue last year.

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