New Specialty MGA is Tech-driven and Open for Business

Dan Marzouk is launching a K2 Insurance unit to handle the nuanced coverage needs of vehicle service garages and dealers. “We are focused on a better way to do things,” he says. “K2 Specialty insurance provides exceptional service and excellent technical assistance. The company has significant infrastructure and several units have implemented ePayPolicy into their platforms. We are implementing ePayPolicy into our garage and dealer unit from the get-go.”

How the Relationship Started

A carrier approached K2 Insurance in early 2021 to discuss setting up a niche MGA for vehicle dealers and garages.

Filings were sent to states in May and the technology integration wrapped up as of July.  Dan always planned on using ePayPolicy. He says, “ePayPolicy was one of the easiest integrations. They have a partnership with MGA Systems, so it plugged right into our accounting system.”

Benefits to Retail Agents

With ePayPolicy, K2 provides agents and their accounting teams with a full view of their payables.

“ePayPolicy allows our customers to accept payments directly through our system. They choose which policies they want to pay. Their accounting team can know if there’s money they owe K2 that they may not have billed. Everyone can log in and see all their invoices and all their credits,” Dan explains.

Plus, if an agent happens to have ePayPolicy on their end, that makes it even easier. It’s also a bonus for K2. “When they get paid, we get paid.”

The response during beta testing has been “ecstatic.”

Benefits to the MGA

K2 appreciates ePayPolicy for saving time and streamlining the receivables process. As an example, Dan talks about receiving a wire for $52K with no backup. “We could spend a week going back and forth trying to figure out which account(s) that payment is meant for. Our ‘mega’ agencies have a single accounting team. We may be working with five different offices, but they will send one payment! ePayPolicy makes clear how each payment gets allocated.”

Dan especially likes that ePayPolicy:

  •  fully integrates with K2’s accounting system
  •  enables K2 to invoice multiple accounts simultaneously
  • minimizes energy drain and confusion of chasing down payments
  • saves K2 from having to send out cancellation notices
  • can process both direct bill and agency bill payments

He also talks about collaborating with ePayPolicy to achieve special, nonstandard customization his team needs. “We hopped on a call with the programmers. Everyone looked at the code together and we quickly got it done.”

ePayPolicy Helps with K2 Clients Large and Small

Small to medium-sized agencies without accounting departments can use it for direct pay. Medium-sized to large clients are agency bill. K2 can send all their agencies links so their insureds can pay conveniently online.

“I want to keep it very easy. I don’t have to worry about keeping bank account or credit card info on file. It’s all secure and the system has fail safes,” Dan notes.

In Summary

K2 Specialty Dealer Insurance shares an accounting team of three people with other K2 units. Dan comments: “We had one unit that was hesitant about ePayPolicy, but our accounting team convinced them to reconsider. K2 has a large network of agents across the country. We want to do everything we can to make their lives easier.”

He concludes: ‘People buy based on product, price and relationships. We help our agents build relationships. Individual quotes may come in a little higher or lower. Our value is that they don’t have to worry about billing.”

Advice to Other MGAs

Dan suggests: “If you haven’t thought about it, think about it. If you polled your top agents, likely many of them are using ePayPolicy already. With COVID, your offices may not be staffed. No one is there to accept checks. You don’t always know that a wire came through. You always have proof of payment from ePayPolicy.” 

About K2 Insurance

K2 Specialty Dealer Insurance is part of K2 Insurance Services, LLC, a leading underwriting and distribution franchise in the program insurance market. K2 Insurance is the parent company for 22 — and growing — MGAs focused on individual niches across the U.S. and world, including energy, golf and country clubs, attorney malpractice, wineries, municipalities … and now, garages and dealers

Brown & Brown Makes a Customer-Centric Decision

Kelton Robinson was new to the insurance industry when he joined Brown & Brown in 2018. He immediately looked for new ways to modernize the agency and knew that enabling payments online was one of the first steps.

At the time, not many Brown & Brown offices offered digital payment options, but those that did recommended ePayPolicy. Being FAIA’s payment processor of choice was also a big plus. 

The ePayPolicy implementation was “seamless,” despite it happening at the same time they were converting to a new management system. ePayPolicy’s integration with Vertafore’s AMS360 was a definite bonus. As Kelton’s team adjusted to learning more about the platform, excitement built up. AutoPay and Invoice Notifications were and are some of their favorite ePayPolicy features.

ePayPolicy Has Modernized the Agency

Not only has ePayPolicy helped Kelton, but his entire Brown & Brown team and their customers have benefited from the switch.

Good Customer Response, Good Timing

Customers now have the option to pay instantly by credit card or ACH. Kelton says, “We haven’t forced it. We’ve simply offered it as a payment option.” He notes that personal lines customers were quick to embrace digital payments. Some commercial lines customers were hesitant at first but are increasingly switching to digital payments. And overall, customer feedback has been very positive.

And the timing could not have been better. Brown & Brown Ft. Lauderdale began offering digital payments in July 2019, which meant that customers could get used to it well before COVID-19 hit in spring 2020. 

Accounting Gets a Boost

Kelton views ePayPolicy as a big win for his team. “We are used to the sales team getting all the fancy gadgets. This was for us, to help us out on the accounting side. Right away it paid dividends.” He specifically called out the speed of managing transactions, the visibility to track the transactions, and the ability to be notified as soon as a customer pays—all of which speed up the time to bind a policy.

Advice to Other Agencies

Kelton suggests that agencies on the fence about digital payments should think first about their customers, who deserve the freedom to pay how they want to pay. 

He further suggests agencies avail themselves of ePayPolicy’s “low entry and high opportunity.” Low entry costs and no contract were major selling points for him. It’s a very low-risk investment that agencies can try out and “adopt as they see fit.”

In summary, Kelton offers his experience as a guide to success: “The product has been so great, the adoption has been steady, and benefits seen immediately.”

How Hummel Group Became the First ePayPolicy – AMS360 Integration

Hummel Group, Inc. is a regional insurance agency with six offices in Ohio and one in Indiana. The agency offers commercial and personal lines of insurance, health and employee benefits and financial planning and wealth management services. In the commercial insurance sector, the agency writes many lines of business, with specialties in niche markets.

The agency has made a systematic investment in InsurTech for the last 10+ years — always looking for ways to improve processes and efficiency, obtain better reporting and analysis and lead the way on technological innovations in the insurance industry. 

The Demand for Electronic Payments

“Our original goal was to speed up receivables collection,” says Kevin Weaver, Accounting and Bonds manager. “As more insureds started asking about paying electronically or with a credit card, Hummel Group wanted to offer this payment method in a cost-effective and secure way.”

Finding the Right Partner

Kevin and his team started looking for a vendor that could handle the specific needs of agencies, brokers, MGAs and premium finance companies. “We were heavily invested in Vertafore, so we asked them for a recommendation. What stood out about ePayPolicy is that they were one of the first Vertafore “Orange Partners” for electronic payments,” says Kevin.

Integration as Catalyst

At a Vertafore conference, Kevin heard ePayPolicy co-founder Milan Malkani mention that the company was getting “very close” to an integration with Vertafore.

Hummel Group was sold on ePayPolicy, but decided to hold off until the integration with AMS360 was ready for implementation. “We wanted the payment process streamlined and efficient from day one,” Kevin says.

In July 2019 Hummel Group became the first independent agency to integrate ePayPolicy into their AMS360 management system.

How it’s Going

Kevin reports: “For being the first AMS360 integration customer, the integration—for both divisions—went really well. Milan and his team made sure our questions were answered and everything worked to our satisfaction.”

Hummel Group has seen: 

  • Time savings for the agency. “Having our systems tied together saves hours of emails and phone calls from customers and brokers inquiring about their balance due. With a few inputs on the payment screen, all of a customer’s open invoices are populated.”
  • Convenience for their insureds. Kevin says: “We’re constantly asking what we can do to make it easier to do business with us. Electronic payment helps us accomplish that, especially with some of the current challenges accepting cash or checks. Hummel Group promotes digital payment (with payment links) on their website, in email signature blocks, on invoices and email reminders, and also during phone conversations.

Favorite Feature

Along with the Import Deposit feature, Kevin likes Invoice Notifications. The system sends out a reminder email to the insured, clearly branded to the appropriate division (Hummel Group or Energy Risk Advisors), and it includes a payment link. “Invoice Notification is a huge value-added feature,” he says.

Advice to Vertafore Users

Kevin views electronic payment as the way of the future. Many insurance carriers, brokers and MGAs already offer it, and insureds increasingly expect it.

Why ePayPolicy? “They were quick to partner with Vertafore. And they’re always adding new technologies and features—with input from users. Schedule a free demonstration. You will find their system very user-friendly. 

He concludes: “I cannot stress enough how pleasant it is to work with ePayPolicy. Their customer service is friendly, knowledgeable, and has a “can-do” attitude. They stay in close communication with us and provide occasional tips and tricks to make sure we are getting the maximum benefit from their system.

Life in the Fast Lane with Patriotic Insurance Group

Rob Bowen likes to get things done right and done fast. A veteran of the Navy and Fortune 500 financial services companies, Rob founded Patriotic Insurance Group in 2014. By emphasizing service, integrity, accuracy and efficiency, he’s built Patriotic Insurance Group into a beautiful (his term) company in a relatively short time. The agency helps clients in NY, NJ, CT, PA and VA manage their personal and business risks and insurance costs.

One thing Rob does not like is checks. He doesn’t like chasing down clients to get paid, or waiting for checks to arrive in the mail, or sending checks to the broker or carrier and waiting for them to clear.

Introduction to ePayPolicy

About two years ago, Rob was listening to “The Insurance Guys” podcast. Scott and Bradley had Todd Sorrel on, talking (as usual) about speeding up insurance payments. Rob was sold. He gave Todd a call and said, “Sign me up.”

 “I love that it does one thing and does it really well,” Rob says.  He’s a big fan of Insurtech in general, but insists his vendors have an insurance background. They need to “understand my daily pain and talk my language.” He’s wary of companies that try to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. “Stick to your knitting” is the phrase he used. Clearly, he’s happy with the lane we’ve chosen, and the fact that we stay in it!

How Patriotic Insurance Group and their clients benefit

Rob lives by the K.I.S.S. principle. “I send clients a link, they put in their info, and it’s done.” In two years he’s only had one client who struggled with using the payment portal. “I’m transparent that there’s a fee to use the service,” he says. “Some clients pay by credit card because they want the points. If it’s a large payment, I’ll encourage them to go with ACH, which is just $3 per transaction. Clients who use ePayPolicy love it.”

He remembers one client who mistakenly paid the net amount instead of the gross amount of their invoice. But ePayPolicy solves that problem with a customized link that prefills the amount due no room for human error. It’s also seamless and fast. “I get an email when the money is there. Ninety percent of that money is the carrier’s, not mine. It’s easy to reconcile, and within 24-28 hours, I’m able to pull my commissions out.”

Rob is also big on APIs. His agency is in the process of switching their AMS to HawkSoft. “Once we get the basics and other integrations down, we’ll pull in ePayPolicy. It will make everyone’s life easier.”

Advice to other agencies

“I don’t know why this is a decision point for an agency in 2021,” Rob reasons. “Checks are a pain in the neck. It’s only $20 a month (for the basic subscription). Even if it was $20 per payment, the time you spend chasing down a slow-paying client or waiting for the Post Office these days is worth it. It’s very helpful and saves so much.”

He concludes: “If you do any agency pay, you need to do this. Just get ePayPolicy. I don’t know why you wouldn’t.”

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.

Arizona Agency Values the Simplicity of ePayPolicy

Dick Gufstason founded Dickson Insurance in Mesa, Arizona in 1995. Today it is run by Dick’s sons Simon and Jake, who took the reins in 2010. Jake started with the agency in 1998, specializing in trucking insurance. He then branched out, now also selling personal lines and managing the agency’s accounting functions.

Jake says Dickson has had the ability to handle credit card and ACH payments for 10 years. The problem was, they had to be manually entered. The agency also took a lot of fax checks. Jake wanted a system to relieve the manual entry burden. He also didn’t want to worry about the high fees his credit card processor charged him.

How Dickson Chose ePayPolicy

Dickson Insurance is big on industry referrals. Their website lists recommended professionals ranging from real estate agents and title companies to janitorial and auto glass repair services. In this case, it was IIABAZ that connected Jake with ePayPolicy.

Jake saw ePayPolicy listed on the IIABAZ site as a recommended product. He says, “They called me. We went through a demo. I made the decision based on that interaction. Within a day it was up and running. It made total sense.”

The timing of that call was perfect. Dickson installed ePayPolicy in 2019. “It turned out to be great for us during COVID,” he mentions.

He also shares that Dickson’s business has doubled “three or four times” since 2012. Their business mix is 80 percent trucking/business insurance and 20 percent personal lines. Most of the growth comes from trucking. Jake is happy to have a secure payment system in place “with that kind of money flowing through the agency.”

Customer Response to Digital Payment

They did not promote credit card or ACH payment much prior to ePayPolicy because those payments were almost as time-intensive to process as checks (and expensive). 

He says, “I still have to promote it to my agents. They’re stuck in their old way of doing things.” But since COVID, that’s really changing.”

He says most customers who use ePayPolicy use ACH rather than credit or debit cards. There are still the occasional few who don’t want to pay even a $3 transaction fee* but otherwise, Dickson customers love the convenience.

Benefits to the Agency

According to Jake, the top three benefits Dickson Insurance gets from ePayPolicy are:

  1. “It’s a time saver for me, not having to deposit money.”
  2. “The ease of using it; it streamlines taking money from the customer.” 
  3. “If someone’s credit card payment isn’t approved, we know right away.”

He’s also pleased with ePayPolicy’s service. “CSR has been great. I had to switch banks and sent a message to support through the portal. We got a call back right away. No problem.”

Advice to Other Agencies

Jake is direct in his recommendation: “If you are taking a lot of payments in-house, this is a function that will ease the process for the entire agency. For your agents and your accounting staff, it eases the entire process.”

* ePayPolicy passes the transaction fee along to the payer, separating it out from the payment and depositing only what the agency is owed. This net funding process provides a simple and easy way for accounting to track and manage inbound digital payments.


Tech Evangelist Stephanie Beninati Describes ePayPolicy in Two Words

Strategic Insurance Services (SIS) is a woman-owned agency specializing in industry-specific insurance and hard to place risk. Based in Denver, SIS is licensed in 18 states.

Broker/owner Stephanie Beninati says she’s been trying to implement processes and technology “from day one.” But finding solutions for SIS hasn’t been easy. “We do construction and excess and surplus lines. We don’t write with the big carriers, where you can type in a few things and get a quote. Our policies don’t download into our system.” She adds: “Where other agents may talk to a client once a year, I’m on the phone all the time. Our clients constantly have urgent needs (e.g., subcontractor certificates). We love it—but it’s time-intensive. ”

Stephanie’s a big fan of third-party vendors. She’s always on the lookout for partners who can automate business functions and make things easier for her clients. Two years ago, she switched her agency management to EZLynx.

Credit Card Payments

Next up on her list: a system to process credit card payments. Initially, she signed up with a credit card company. But they charged a hefty percentage per transaction. She knew there had to be a better way. She asked and asked. Finally, at a PIIAC event, she picked up an ePayPolicy brochure. And there was her answer: a digital payment portal designed exclusively for the insurance industry.

Stephanie describes ePayPolicy in two words: so easy. “I just called them up. It took five minutes. It was so easy to set it up. I did the 10-minute intro training and haven’t had to call them since.”

“ePayPolicy literally changed my life”

She mentions again that she outsources as much as possible. “I hired a guy to handle our AP/AR who was willing to learn our EZLynx and ePayPolicy. Ever since:

    • People have an easy way to pay
    • Everything gets paid on time
    • We no longer have to chase people down for money. We just give them the payment link and they can pay on the spot.
    • I don’t ever have to look at money!”

Advice on Technology

“As a society, we are moving faster and faster, and you have to adapt. You have to be smarter and quicker than others to survive. Technology is the revolution.”

Of her highly specialized work, Stephanie says, “I can train people on the business, but they have to have that fire in their belly, that “how do I make it better?” attitude. I look for people with tech backgrounds, or the willingness to learn new technologies—just like I’ve done myself.”

She’s so committed to speed, ease, and efficiency that she even switched SIS over to Macs and said goodbye to her PCs. Her employees were fully comfortable in just a few days. Like ePayPolicy, she describes Mac and the iOS operating system as “so easy.”

Advice on using ePayPolicy

ePayPolicy took a problem most insurance agencies didn’t yet see as a problem. And they engineered digital payment technology that’s easy to implement and use.

Stephanie says: “There is no reason in this day and age not to offer credit card and ACH payment.”

Her reasoning: “Taking money should be the easiest thing we do. Once we sell the product, if we can’t get paid for it, our cash flow suffers. Writing a big check makes you feel bad. No wonder clients drag that payment out. Digital payment is instant. When clients can pay quickly, they do. And they feel good.”

Plus, “It makes you look like a larger agency.”

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.”