I’ve always loved a good analogy, as it makes concepts concrete and relatable. With March Madness underway I couldn’t help but turn to that annual phenomenon — the office pool — to help put what we do here at ePayPolicy into perspective.
With an estimated $9 billion bet on these games, participation obviously starts with an entry fee. Now I’ve been in pools with hundreds of people and in pools with only 10 people. Regardless of the pool size, the rules are simple now: digital payments only. Why? It’s only logical. Digital payment is instantaneous and it makes the pool easier to manage.
Using tech to provide simplicity
Imagine you’re the office pool commissioner. Imagine trying to work with a steady line of people dropping off checks and cash throughout the day. In addition to creating, distributing, collecting and scoring the bracket sheets, you’ve added a whole other layer of headache to contend with: money. It takes time for you to endorse and deposit and make sure those checks clear before you officially accept the payer into the pool. That causes a time delay neither of you can afford. Oh yes, and don’t forget about dealing with those people who inevitably wait till the last minute to pay their fee before tip off. What if their check bounces? Do you bounce them out of the pool, too?
Paying by check for a March Madness pool just slows the action to a crawl. Meanwhile, the games are scheduled and the Big Dance is in full swing. People are on high alert, boning up on stats and itching to make their picks. They don’t want to have to remember to cut a check (like, who keeps their checkbook with them at work in the first place?), sign it and drop it off at your desk. If you’re not there, they have to follow up to make sure you got the check.
Old methods work but are they the best option?
And even paying by cash is a drag. Having the exact entry fee in cash is not impossible, but it’s pretty rare for people to walk around with that kind of green in their wallet. In these days of credit cards and Apple Pay, you’re basically requiring participants to go the ATM. An added step for them.
And what if someone forgets (several days in a row) or is traveling and can’t get you a physical payment in time? You either have to cover their fee initially or not allow them to participate. If you choose the latter, that’s a smaller pool and a smaller payout to the winners.
You can quickly see how cash or check payments can make your commissioner job much harder than it needs to be. And the added pressure on everyone to pay in an an inconvenient way creates a barrier to participation. Here you are, inviting them to the biggest sports betting event of the year, but making it harder instead of easier to get their bracket in.
Where ePayPolicy’s digital payment service fits in
Now here comes the analogy part. In this scenario the office pool commissioner is you, a busy insurance agent or broker. The participants are your clients. You have something they want. They’re ready and eager to pay to play. So why are you putting up barriers? Because that’s exactly what’s happening when the only methods of payment you accept from your clients is a check or cash.
Now here’s the thing. Yours may be the only March Madness pool in the office. But out here in the business world, your clients have their choice of insurance agents and brokers. Paying by check is as much of a time-wasting hassle for them as it is for you. Your clients are used to paying for virtually everything else in their lives electronically.
Moral of the story? If you want to make it as easy for your clients to pay their premiums as it is to buy into the office pool, give us a call at ePayPolicy. We guarantee they’ll be excited about doing business with you — long after their March Madness bracket has busted.
What’s the biggest disruptor affecting the insurance industry? Your customers. As their expectations and demands change at the speed of technology—it’s your job to keep up.
According to TechCrunch, at the end of 2016, 4.8Billion individuals were using their mobile devices. By 2020 90% of smartphone users will have made a mobile payment. It’s estimated that by the end of 2017, there will be $60Billion in mobile payment sales. If so many individuals are using their mobile devices to conduct research and make purchases, why should paying for Insurance be any different?
Mobile is now! Offering your customers an option to pay online, gives your Insurance agency that competitive edge that you’ve been missing. It opens a world of opportunities as well when you streamline your agency management, recruiting, and even retention using real-time data from our solution to keep up with your customers’ needs. Knowing information about your customers can help you with the creation of cross-sell, upsell, custom, flexible and sometimes predictable digital experiences across all points of contact.
At ePayPolicy, we take the pain out of collecting Insurance payments online. Whether your clients want to pay with credit card or ACH, we have you covered! Contact us today and we can get you up and running in 24 hours. Interested in integrating ePayPolicy into your management or accounting system? We can help with that too!
In today’s constantly changing world, the insurance industry must find innovative ways to improve productivity and at the same time, satisfy their customers. What’s the easiest way to boost productivity? Automation.
au•to•ma•tion (n): The technique, method, or system of operating or controlling a process by highly automatic means, as by electronic devices, reducing human intervention to a minimum.– Dictionary.com
And fortunately, we’ve been hard at work at ePayPolicy to automate your receivables. Automated receivables can help your organization in 3 ways:
1. Improve cashflow
Cash is the lifeblood of any business. By accepting electronic payments instead of waiting for checks to arrive in the mail, you are speeding up your receivables and improving your cashflow.
2. Save time by eliminating mundane tasks
Your team is busy and their time is valuable. It takes more time than we all care to admit to deposit each check and manually enter those payments into the management system. This is why we’ve built integrations into your favorite management systems like Vertafore’s AIM and FinancePro products as well as MGA Systems. Contact us today if you would like us to integrate into your management or accounting system.
When was the last time someone asked you to write a check and drive it across town? Asked another way, if one business asked you to write a check and another accepted an online payment, where would you be more inclined to take your business?
The insurance industry as a whole is making the move to accept online payments. And when your competitors accept online payments, you simply cannot afford to ask for payments via check.
It’s funny how much we all fight change. It’s a normal human tendency. But there’s one instance I run across recently that illustrates that clearer than ever – the use of virtual checks.
Follow me on this one…
As a preferred payment method, paper checks hit their peak in 1995 (22 years ago at the time of this writing). As of 2013, a report by the Federal Reserve listed paper checks as the payment method of choice by only 3% of the American population. Meanwhile, there are several European countries that have completely eliminated paper checks.
I’m sure none of this comes as a surprise. Think about the last time you were asked to write a check. I bet your response was “But, but – can I pay you online?”
It was out of that desire to pay electronically that the virtual check was born. With a virtual check your clients no longer need to write a check; they simply fill out an online form and…ahem…you print the check.
Hold on a second.
If you, your clients, and 97% of America doesn’t want to pay by check, why offer a solution to your clients to “pay online” just so you can print a check to run to the bank? I thought we were trying to get rid of those things.
It’s not all bad. Checks are a cheap option to accept a payment if you only look at the hard costs.
But think about the drawbacks including the fact that someone in your office has to manually handle these payments. Not to mention that you open up your office to security risks by physically handling routing and account numbers.
Is it worth the E&O exposure and manual effort to save a few bucks a year?
There is a better way. There is a way to end the paper check for good. By taking payments online, your clients enter in their banking information in a secure form, ePayPolicy processes the payment, and the funds arrive in your account without one iota of manual intervention. And if that payment bounces, our system will notify you and your client automatically.
It’s like magic.
So come join the revolution and make payments easier for your customer AND your agency. Because we think that your customer shouldn’t be the only one that wins with online payments.
As a kid, a visit to the local ice cream shop was the best! The dilemma was deciding on which ice cream flavor to pick. Do I go with my standby or do I try something different? At the end of the day, there wasn’t a bad choice in the entire shop. All were great choices.
Choices abound for ePayPolicy’s agents, brokers / MGAs, and carriers too. Three different flavors of online, payment processing pages will get the job done. It’s up to you decide which fits your needs the best.
- The basic payment page is clean, simple, and extremely intuitive. Our clients can add and size their own logo at the top left. White-labeled branding is the best. And it should be. You have the close relationship with that payer so that connectivity needs to be front and center.
- The custom payment page offers the chance to dial-in the level of information you want to capture from the payer. You can add an upload feature to the page where the payer can attach an invoice or statement to his or her payment. Other optional fields include but are not limited to a phone number, account id, a custom disclaimer, or even a policyholder number. Here’s one of our client’s payment page as an example.
- The integrated (type ‘123’ inside Account Code field) product blends your management system and payments into a dynamic payment page where individual invoices can be recalled from your locally hosted system and displayed. The integrated system supports full, partial, and credit type payments. Our API (free) offers even more customization by adding those attributes that you want the payer to see. All payments are then ported and recorded back into your management system. Vertafore’s AIM product is a platform we’ve recently integrated.
No matter which flavor you choose, payments are processed quickly and efficiently. All parties receive an e-receipt and the payment is immediately reflected in your online dashboard. Any payment flavor is an excellent choice!
We were recently given an fun challenge by one of our clients, Southwest Risk, a wholesale brokerage out of Dallas.
While they liked the simplicity of our online payment page, they could foresee a challenge given the sheer volume of payments they process – How would they reconcile all of those incoming payments against due invoices in their management system?
Since Southwest Risk uses Vertafore’s AIM product which is hosted it on their own servers, we were able to work with the IT team at Southwest Risk to identify the best integration point.
With the integration now live, Southwest Risk’s clients are able to see their due invoices in real time and choose which ones they would like to partially or fully pay. Instead of having to manually import Excel files back and forth between AIM and ePayPolicy, this real time integration automates the push and pull of invoice and payment information.
In addition, when a payment is made, the invoice numbers and amounts are clearly displayed on the e-receipt that is sent to all parties. Southwest Risk’s accounting department also has full access to our online dashboard to review previous transactions for easy record keeping.
Check out the short clip attached to this blog post for a quick demo.
And contact us to learn how you can integrate payments into your management system.
Premium finance companies are already familiar with FinancePro. It’s a powerful, web-based solution that helps with loan management, carrier and rate tables. What takes it to the next level is its easy integration within the Vertafore agency management ecosystem.
If you’re serious about growing your agency or premium finance business, then we encourage you to become familiar with Vertafore. Here’s a link to a demo page that’s loaded with content. One huge benefit of using ePayPolicy, Vertafore, or even FinancePro is that they are all web-based solutions. There’s no software to install. That just makes sense. These are intuitive new technology solutions for the insurance industry.
As many of you know, FinancePro simplifies premium finance loan management and agent quoting. It gives you all the tools you need to manage your business, accept one—the ability to accept online payments. Until now you could only manage reports, notices, payment processing, quoting and account status, and compliance in all 50 states.
ePayPolicy and FinancePro integration provides seamless payment processing within Vertafore’s web-based platform. That’s two powerful tools to move your premium finance company to another level. Already a FinancePro user? We’re ready to help you marry these two powerful financial tools. Contact us to find out how.
It’s 4.45pm on a Friday and one of your insured’s renewal is due today. How do you collect a down payment to bind coverage? In this all-to-familiar scenario, it’s virtually impossible to renew this client before the weekend arrives. You have 15 minutes until the close of business and the short list of options available are: a hand-delivered paper check, wired funds from a bank, or a faxed check. All are limited in making it on time and are very labor intensive.
Delivery of a paper check is limited by the traffic, finding the check book, and having the right personnel handy to sign it. If your client is in another state, forget about it. Wired funds are tough to accommodate too. Most banks’ deadlines are either 3pm or 4pm and they’re expensive. On top of the $25 wiring fee, there has to be a bank representative available to execute the wire. A faxed check requires the agent or recipient has to convert this into a paper check for deposit. Again it’s very labor intensive and there’s more important tasks personnel can be doing. The faxed check also invites a layer of liability into your office. The sensitive client data, account and routing numbers, are exposed.
Now before you go into your weekend with a high level of anxiety of a possible claim happening without a bound renewal, consider this. ePayPolicy can facilitate this payment with a couple clicks of a mouse or a swipe of a smartphone. How does your insured do this? It’s easy. Just email them your payment page and they can upload either a credit card or eCheck payment. Here’s our demo payment page. Once they make payment and hit ‘Send’ all parties instantly have an e-receipt emailed to them. Your online dashboard will also reflect this incoming payment too. Crisis averted!
In our society today, mobile and online payments are key. Some of our clients took this a step further by adding our ‘PayNow’ button to their homepage. Winstar Insurance in Austin, TX is one example. The ePayPolicy ‘PayNow’ button is downloadable for free at the bottom of our homepage. Call us for more details on how we can speed up your receivables and make your weekend more relaxing.
No two smartphone are set up exactly the same – the widget and app choices are countless. Today there are over 2.2 million Android apps and over 2 million Apple apps available for download. According to Nielson, on average, smartphone users access 26 apps per month. The customization of apps around our lifestyle, activities, interests, etc. demands the need for a crazy level of customization. Is it a little too much? That’s in the eye of the beholder.
Payment processing has not reached the fever pitch of customization like apps, but the demand is percolating. So what could be customized in payment processing? The information collected during the payment process is the biggie. Logos, branding, and messaging are very important; however, client id, phone number, uploaded attachments, unique language, and payer’s state are vital to tracking and reconciling payments. Just ask any office manager or controller. And the best part is that all of the inputted data ports directly into the online dashboard. Can you recall this information at a later time? You bet!
ePayPolicy payment pages now offer this level of customization. The standard payment (see demo here) page is only $20 per month. If you want customized fields, it’s only $40 per month. And we don’t limit you to any amount of fields. Reach out to us to learn more about what payment page options work best for you. And I promise we won’t overwhelm you with 2 million choices. All the best, Your ePayPolicy Team.