Mavon Makes Switch To Insurance Centric Digital Payment Processor

Mavon Insurance is a managing general agent (MGA) based in Hinsdale, a suburb of Chicago. Mavon serves agents across the country, offering an eclectic mix of standard and specialty lines and insurance programs through esteemed carrier partners. 

Accounting Manager Jennifer Riter talked candidly about the firm’s technology journey. She says that Mavon likes to stay up-to-date on technology, but finding solutions that accommodate their needs has been a challenge because most InsurTech solutions cater to agencies rather than MGAs.

For example, Mavon had been using Applied TAM® for some time, but briefly switched to another system that offered a specific MGA customization they wanted. Ultimately, they went back to Applied, using Epic® since 2017. Since returning, she’s found the system has evolved and is increasingly accommodating of insurers and MGAs.

Paper Checks Became a Burden

A pressing InsurTech issue for Jennifer was digital payment processing. She says, “We need to cater to our policyholders and agents. They wanted it.” She also notes that mail was getting slower and slower, affecting both accounts receivable and accounts payable. Plus, as the payables processor for Mavon, Jennifer gets frustrated with payees who only take checks. She reasons, “If paying by check is a hurdle for me, it’s a hurdle for the people paying us.”

Mavon and Digital Payment Processing

The road to ePayPolicy started with a suggestion from Mavon’s office manager. Jennifer discovered that ePayPolicy is IIA of IL’s Payment Processor of Choice and an Applied Solution Partner. She attended Applied Net, met ePayPolicy representatives in person, and the rest is digital payment history.

ePayPolicy’s pay-as-you-go monthly pricing and ease of use definitely sold Mavon. Go-live was simple and straightforward. Another huge benefit has been expense reduction. Mavon had been absorbing credit card fees and maintenance fees on a few of their programs. With ePayPolicy, credit card fees are passed on to the payer, and the savings for the MGA have been substantial.

They customized their payment landing page with the Mavon logo, putting in customized fields they want the brokers to enter. Mavon’s brokers are happy that they can now pay online. Mavon also set up ePayPolicy for their in-house finance company, GAMCO Premium Finance. Currently, ePayPolicy integrates with the system used by GAMCO, and brokers can now have their insureds who choose to finance pay directly online as well. Once payment information is in the ePay system, it integrates with the finance system. Jennifer looks forward to using ePayPolicy as they further their Applied Epic integration.

She’s also a big fan of ePayPolicy’s “super-fast” response time. She mentions their help pinning down specifics on rejected payments. In all instances, CSRs diagnosed the problem and found the cause to be user, not system error.

Overall, the biggest plus for Mavon is being able to offer more payment options. Jennifer is also happy to now be able to pay their carriers faster.

Advice to Other MGAs and Independent Insurance Agencies

Jennifer suggests anyone considering digital payments through ePayPolicy should “Just do it, like we did. There’s no long-term contract. You can try it and see how it works. ePay fees start at only $20 per month, $50 per month for customization—not much out of pocket to make these enhancements.” She concludes: “We were happy right from the start. After a couple of months, I bet you will be, too.

Tech-savvy Alpha Direct Agency Gets Digital Payment Processing Right

Alpha Direct Agency doesn’t just embrace InsurTech. Technology is one of their core values: “Driven to Win with Technology”.

The 17-year-old agency even offers (among other specialty lines) technology services insurance and drone liability. Licensed in 17 states, Alpha Direct Agency has offices in New York City, Raleigh and Miami, plus international presence in the Dominican Republic and soon in Ecuador. Clearly, technology is critical to the agency’s revenue, as well as connecting its producers to each other and to the flagship office in upper Manhattan.

Asked about his agency’s use of InsurTech solutions, Principal Emmanuel Osuyah chuckles. “We are the earliest of adopters! People look to me before they buy new software. They know if I’ve used it and recommend it, it’s going to work.” 

It’s not surprising, then, that Alpha Direct Agency started offering digital payment processing way back in 2006. Notwithstanding his agency’s international footprint, Emmanuel describes his agency as locally focused. “Customers would literally take the elevator up with baby carriage in tow to find our suite.” Most paid in cash or by money order. But carrying large amounts of cash around is a hassle. And, says Emmanuel, “the cashless world has forced change on all of us.” About the decision to offer online payment, he notes: “There was a time when if you could process ACH (check) payments, you were king. We had to go there.” As for credit cards, Alpha Direct Agency is “all plastic all day long.”

He tried out a series of payment processors over the years before becoming an early adopter of ePayPolicy (which he fondly refers to as “ePay3”). As one of ePayPolicy’s first clients, Emmanuel is clear about why he made the move: batching and fees.

None of his previous vendors had the capability to separate transaction fees as ePayPolicy does. He had to reconcile their fees monthly, decidedly “batch unfriendly.”

Prior to Insurance, Emmanuel worked as a banker, where he had to triple count cash for verification (those were the days before the desktop teller machines). When he founded his agency, he was no stranger to triple counting cash late into the night; and that’s when he knew there had to be a better way. With other merchant services vendors, he would take a month-and-a-half to reconcile credit card payments. Some vendors have two separate portals for credit cards and ACH transactions; which necessitates two different logins. In contrast, with ePayPolicy, mid-month and at the end of the month, his bookkeeper would run the reports, and “the transactions are right there. Both credit cards and ACH in the same transaction summary. With another click you hop into the batches. It’s so smooth, with easily searchable fields, which gives us more time in the month to focus on other things.”

Agent Reaction to ePayPolicy

His agents like the payment portal also. He says, “I lean on my 15 employees for feedback. My people were complaining about the old platform.” The Agents particularly like that refunds to customers are easy with ePayPolicy. Confirmation of the refund can be sent to the customer from the platform within minutes of processing, saving them from having to take follow-up calls about the refund’s status.

The ePayPolicy Experience

The transition from the previous payment processor vendor was smooth. ePayPolicy integrated easily with Alpha Direct Agency’s website. Emmanuel shares that, “right off the bat, I was impressed with the seamlessness of it all. My logo was in the portal, access to reports was painless and payments were hitting my bank account in the expected time frames.”

Emmanuel also gives thumbs up for:

  • Ease of payment (a big plus in redirecting customers away from cash payments)
  • Speed of payment (frees up agents to spend more time on sales)
  •  Web 2.0 friendly (it offers a clean look without a lot of “gibberish” on the screen)

Alpha Direct Agency hasn’t had to lean on ePayPolicy’s Customer Service often, but they’ve been very responsive when called or emailed. He cites this example: “Our customers know immediately when a transaction fee shows up in their account. Disputes are rare. But one customer contested a fee, even though he knew he was in the wrong. ePayPolicy shut it right down once we provided supporting documents.”

The “fees” theme continued throughout the interview. Emmanuel finds ePayPolicy’s flat fees for ACH transactions ($3 per) a major benefit. He recently had another vendor pitch him, but they charge a percentage of the ACH transaction. Needless to say, that company will not be getting the Emmanuel Osuyah stamp of approval.

Next Steps for Alpha Direct

Alpha Direct does not currently use the invoicing function, but Emmanuel looks forward to implementing it. In addition, he’s excited to know that ePayPolicy’s platform has plans to integrate with his agency management system (Hawksoft).

Advice to Other Insurance Agencies

To any agencies out there researching digital payment processors or dissatisfied with their current vendor, Emmanuel Osuyah does not mince words:

“Sign up with ePayPolicy. Go straight to where the future’s at.” 

How Bryan Insurance Transformed the User Payment Experience

Bryan Insurance has been putting clients first since 1921. Since 2017, that commitment includes offering clients the choice to pay electronically via credit card or ACH.

Planning For The Future

Tommy Dies, CEO, CFO said it was not client demand that drove the decision. Very few clients were asking for a digital payment option. But Tommy saw it as essential to the customer experience; and he did not want to lose business to larger agencies. So he made the move proactively. 

Tommy had been keeping an eye on the digital payment landscape. He says, “I pay attention to technology. We need to stay current with it. If something intrigues me, I research it. I see who is using it, what vendors offer it, who has the best service.”

In this case, Tommy’s research included talking to other members of Combined Agents of America. CAA is an aggregator of 68 independent agencies located in Texas and other Midwest states. He also inquired within his AMS user group. And, as a board member of IIAT, Tommy had association members to tap as well.

Tommy interviewed several digital payment vendors. Then he met Todd Sorrell, ePayPolicy co-founder. He says, “I don’t remember if Todd called me or I called him. But ePayPolicy was the one that offered 100 percent of our money up front.”

The Agency’s ePayPolicy Experience

From a seamless launch to ease and simplicity of use, ePayPolicy keeps delivering for Bryan Insurance Agency and their clients. Tommy opted for the “Custom” ePayPolicy plan, which brands their payment page with the Bryan Insurance logo. The agency also has a branded app through Applied Systems. Now that ePayPolicy integrates with the Applied CSR24 app, Bryan Insurance clients can pay directly through the app.

In terms of ongoing service, Tommy’s team has rarely had to reach out. But when called, “their customer support bends over backwards, they’re Johnny on the spot.” Tommy recalls a minor roadblock early on. They had a client that needed to make a large payment above ePayPolicy’s payment threshold (which is there for the agency’s protection). A quick call explaining the situation to Support and the threshold was temporarily raised. Tommy also attends a lot of industry conferences and sees ePayPolicy there. He says, “It’s amazing how friendly and welcoming they are. They seem to love their clients. They really want to do a good job.”

Client Response to Digital Payments

The agency has pushed electronic payment with their commercial lines clients. He says the biggest users are service people to the oil and gas industry (a Bryan Insurance specialty market). These 20- to 30-year-old consultants do everything through their phone. “We make it easy for them. They can use our app and it takes them right to the ePayPolicy portal.”

He believes more personal lines clients would convert if he promoted electronic payment more. He notes that with people stuck at home and working remotely during the pandemic, the agency successfully pushed digital payment through social media and email.

Main Benefits 

Tommy names three primary benefits to his agency:

  1. It offers a good electronic experience, which increases the overall customer experience.
  2. Having it available puts us up there with the larger agencies.
  3. It’s attractive (even essential) to younger clients. Our older clients still want to write a check. What matters is they have a choice.

… and some advice 

Tommy offers this advice to independent agencies: “You just have to offer digital payments. Period. ePayPolicy is the best. It works. Call and talk to them.”

The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America: BIG I Client Spotlight

Customer Spotlight:

The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America

Executive Summary: 

The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America is a national alliance of more than a quarter million business owners and their employees who offer all types of insurance and financial services products.

The Goals: 

Reduce paper checks,  streamline payment processing and bind policies faster.

The Results:

 No one understands the importance of expediency in the insurance industry quite like accounting employees. The ability to quickly track and reconcile payments effectively speeds up receivables and bind policies faster, things that typically improve an agency’s overall bottom line. For Annette Mertz, the VP of Accounting for IIABA, the biggest issue she was experiencing before signing up with ePayPolicy was timing. “We don’t have binding authority until we receive a payment,” said Mertz. “Typically it takes anywhere between three to seven days to get a paper check in the mail, which creates issues when you’re trying to bind quickly,” she said. After IIABA signed up with ePayPolicy, a lot of those issues faded. Not only do ePayPolicy customers like IIABA receive their funds in one to two business days (up to three times as fast as a paper check), they can rest easy knowing their payment is being routed to the correct place.


“ePayPolicy is one of those products that is so easy you expect it to be more complicated but it’s not. You have to pinch yourself to realize there’s really a product like this.” – Annette Mertz,  VP of Accounting, IIABA

There are a lot of potential errors with manually sending in a payment, for instance, sending a check to the wrong address or issuing it to the wrong person. “These things are eliminated now that we use ePayPolicy,” said Mertz. The ease of using ePayPolicy as one of the payment processor’s biggest draws. By focusing strictly on the insurance space, ePayPolicy is able to keep its product and services incredibly simple and straightforward. And for insurance professionals like Mertz, simple is King. “ePayPolicy makes day to day operations incredibly easy,” said Mertz. “You know right away if customers make a payment and we’re getting receivables much faster. We don’t have to wait on paper checks anymore.”


Higginbotham Insurance Makes The Switch To Digital Payments

ePayPolicy Case Study: Higginbotham Insurance

Executive Summary
Tony Haas, Controller at Higginbotham Insurance, noticed that customers were frequently asking for electronic payment options to pay their insurance policies. While Higginbotham did accept credit cards, it did not offer the choice to pay via ACH. Haas began searching for a more robust processor and finally stumbled upon ePayPolicy. Signing up, he said, was a must.

“We were getting requests from clients to pay electronically, and after seeing ePayPolicy’s demo, the ACH solution was a much better solution than a wire solution,” said Haas. “A client could either set up a wire account and send money to us, or they could just pull up ePayPolicy and pay us right there. It’s a much easier process,” he said.
“The simplicity of it made it a no-brainer.”

The Goals
Offer clients electronic payments
Integrate with management system, Sagitta
Speed up receivables
Bind policy faster
Streamline reconciliation process

The Results
ePayPolicy Co-Founder Todd Sorrel met Hass for the first time at NetVU 2017, and shortly after, the Higginbotham payment page was live.

After Higginbotham was up and running, it was immediately able to offer clients the option to make electronic payments. Now, the insurance company is able to accept both credit cards and ACH, with payments seamlessly integrating into its management system Sagitta (powered by Vertafore). The technology has allowed them to bind business much faster.

“As soon as customers make payments, we’re getting email notifications to let us know that a transaction is in process,” said Haas. “We can bind things immediately and move onto the next project, instead of waiting a few days.”

Haas said the processor has cut down the reconciliation process by two business days and that ePayPolicy & its ability to integrate with Sagitta has streamlined Higginbotham’s overall process.


“Anytime you can do electronic payments, versus sending an actual check, it makes the whole process easier,” said Hass. “Handling checks is old school.”

The Extras – Hig Helps Page
After Hurricane Harvey tore through Houston last year, Higginbotham reached out to ePayPolicy for help in setting up a donation page for those affected by the storm. Harvey had completely devastated the homes of several Higginbotham team members, and the organization wanted a way to help them through the rebuilding process.

“It was fantastic what ePayPolicy did to help us get that page up and running. We raised about $150,000,” said Haas. “It was a big help to get money and help out to our employees that were hurting.”


Higginbotham Insurance offers risk management and financial services, providing access to commercial and personal property/casualty coverage, employee benefits, retirement plans, life insurance, and executive compensation plans through more than 250 regional and national carriers. As of 2017, the company is ranked #18 on Insurance Journal’s annual list of Top 100 Property / Casualty Agencies. There are over 25 Higginbotham offices in the state of Texas.

Paradiso Insurance, a Yardstick of Quality

The value of good marketing cannot be overstated. If your marketing plan isn’t working (or worse, if you have no marketing plan at all), your organization won’t last long.

You can count on that.

The Internet and social media have made marketing more accessible. But they’ve also created a massive cloud of competition and a hailstorm of noise.

We live in a world of sensory overload. Every company is fighting for consumer attention. With millions of organizations vying for eyes and business 24/7, how do you make yourself stand out?
“Be a yardstick of quality.”

The advice comes from someone who knows a thing or two about marketing, the iconic CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs.

When I think about the insurance space and who makes a good “yardstick” of quality, one name in particular stands out – Chris Paradiso.

Paradiso started his own insurance business in 1998 with just three employees. Today there are over 15 team members and counting, and Paradiso has grown his company and brand into an insurance powerhouse.

Paradiso Presents, LLC is at the forefront of that powerhouse. It began as an endeavor Chris started in order to “teach small agencies how to survive in today’s complex online marketing world.” Since the LLC’s inception, it has grown into one of the most reputable resources for small agency survival.

One facet of Paradiso Presents is the popular industry magazine Be the Last Agent Standing. The publication is one of those tools that belongs in any agency’s survival kit. New and experienced insurance professionals alike will benefit from Last Agent. Readers can expect insight like marketing tips, tricks, and tools designed specifically to help insurance folks grow their business.
Everything from building a brand to search engine optimization to Google Analytics is discussed. Nothing is off the table. Nothing is overlooked. With so much information on the Interwebs these days, it’s difficult to sift through what’s valuable and what’s just fluff. Fortunately, Last Agent is chalk full of rich, valuable, pearls of wisdom from the man himself.

“What Chris does with Paradiso Presents and Last Agent is truly a testament to how well he knows the insurance landscape,” said Milan Malkani, my partner and fellow ePayPolicy co-founder.
“He’s been in this business a long time and still finds all these ways to keep things fresh and fun and current. I think a lot of agencies can learn from him.”


Digital marketing is undoubtedly a frontier that is overwhelming for many. There are a lot of new tricks to learn and insurance is an old business. One that has historically used more “traditional” methods.

For example, using print ads (instead of digital ones), and paper checks (instead of electronic payment processors). However, insurance has gradually been shifting towards a more tech-based industry. And while some are happy with this shift, many are not.

Luckily, there are organizations like Chris Paradiso’s that are dedicated to helping those who do feel overwhelmed. The goal is to elevate the industry and level the playing field. With Paradiso, even the little guys and underdogs have a fighting chance.

What the magazine represents is so much more than articles printed on paper. Be the Last Agent Standing is an integral part of a larger puzzle — a good marketing foundation for budding insurance agencies.

“Any agency worth their salt will pick up Chris’ magazine,” said Malkani. “Everyone can learn something from Last Agent.”