5 Benefits of ePayPolicy Over General Payment Processors

Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to offer digital payments and (fingers crossed) wean your clients off checkwriting forever. It should be easy to pick a payment processor for your agency, MGA or premium finance company — right? 

Of course, we think it’s a no-brainer. But many of our clients come to us after starting out with general payment processors like Stripe, Square, Quickbooks, etc. We’d like to save you some of their frustrations. Such companies are perfectly fine. It’s just that they’re industry agnostic. (That’s their fancy way of saying ‘generic.’)

Insurance Is Not a Generic Industry

Your receivables are not a simple matter of collecting premium payments and depositing them as income into your bank account. You have fiduciary responsibilities to your carriers and to your insureds. You’re subject to state statutes and regulations specific to our industry.  

We Know This Because We’re Insurance Experts

It’s true. Co-founder Todd Sorrell actually owned a premium finance company for several years before launching ePayPolicy with Milan Malkani (software developer supreme) in 2015.

ePayPolicy was created specifically as a digital payment processing solution for the insurance industry. 

Here are five benefits of ePayPolicy that (together) you’ll never get from Square (or Stripe, or…):

1. Operating Efficiency

ePayPolicy integrates with today’s most popular agency and broker management systems, including AM360, Applied CSR24 and a growing number of legacy and new systems. Not surprisingly, generic payment processors don’t know or care which management system you use.  And although we encourage integrations, not having one is also perfectly fine.

2. Relevant Features

With generic processors you’re a square (no pun intended) peg in a round hole. Their features are not insurance-specific. Ours are. We know how agencies and MGAs run, so ePayPolicy offers features that apply to you. Not only do we help you take payments, but also send funds across the industry through our network for only 50 cents! Our online dashboard to track and manage payments is also clearly catered to insurance organizations and their accounting teams.

3. Payment Options

Your insureds can pay by either credit/debit card or by ACH,* depending on their financial situation and goals. Some like earning travel miles. Others want to see their bank account timely debited.  

4. Data Safety & Security

ePayPolicy takes security very seriously. We don’t ever save your clients’ sensitive information in our systems (to avoid any kind of fraud). Plus, we’re PCI Level 1 compliant—the highest of four levels based on annual transaction volume. This means we’re subject to the most stringent data security protocols in the payment processing industry. 

5. Transparent Pricing

What you see is what you pay. How easy is that? ePayPolicy subscriptions start at a flat $20/month. No hidden fees or set-up fees. We also pass all transaction fees to the insured, unless you want to absorb them partly or wholly.

Don’t Just Take Our Word For It

ePayPolicy serves some 5,000 clients across the spectrum of independent agencies, MGAs/brokers, carriers and premium finance companies. 

We’re endorsed by more than 70 industry organizations, including 38 Big I state associations. Check out all of our industry endorsements and ask your user group or association why they recommend ePayPolicy as their insurance payment processor of choice.

Take the first step. Get started online or schedule a free demo today. 

*ePayPolicy Canada currently accepts credit card payments only. 

Which ePayPolicy Payment Page is Right for You?

Whether you’re new to ePayPolicy or already a client, you may not know that ePayPolicy offers three levels of subscription: basic, custom and integrated. Naturally, the payment page is a central feature (and benefit) of each subscription. The one that’s right for you depends on the level of convenience and functionality you desire.

Basic Payment Page

This subscription lets you accept payments by credit card or ACH. ePayPolicy makes each digital transaction simple and seamless for the payer and for you.

Payer benefits: Your unique URL links directly to your branded payment page. Your client knows immediately they’re in the right place to pay your invoice. And, of course, they appreciate the convenience and security of paying digitally instead of by check.

Team benefits: Manage your account through your own user-friendly dashboard. Not only can you track payments, you can also send funds across the country. Plus, funds get applied to the proper account (trust or operating), so you’re always in compliance. 

New to digital insurance payments and want to make your clients happy fast? Request a demo and sign up now!

Custom Payment Page

As the word implies, this payment page offers you multiple customization options, from color (branding) enhancements to added functionality. For example, you can include graphics to  point to important information on the payment page. You can also (among other things) include your agency’s custom disclaimer at the bottom of the page and write special instructions in the notes field. 

Payer benefits: Easily upload attachments (e.g., documentation) directly to the payment page. Plus, payers can set up recurring payments for policies that require multiple payments.

Team benefits: Add custom fields to collect additional information for your accounting team. 

More client convenience, streamlined receivables and a branding advantage. You get a lot of extras with a custom payment page. It’s a great option, whether you’re just starting out with ePayPolicy or ready for next-level performance. Talk to your Account Manager or email us today at support@epay3.com.

Integrated Payment Page

Chances are you’re using an agency management system that integrates with ePayPolicy (or one that soon will). We partner with today’s most popular AMS providers and are constantly adding new providers to our list of integrations. Why? To make digital payment seamless for everyone involved. An integrated payment page is the ultimate in InsurTech power and efficiency.

Payer benefits: Auto-synched invoices let clients select and pay invoices pulled directly from the management system.

Team benefits: No more duplicate data entry for your accounting team!

Additional, exclusive features are available on an integration-specific basis. Depending on your AMS, these can include automated invoice notifications and auto-payment of multiple due invoices. You can even send commissions and refunds directly through your ePayPolicy dashboard. 

Talk to your Account Manager about integrating ePayPolicy with your AMS, or contact us at support@epay3.com with questions. And if you’re shopping for a new management system, be sure to ask about integration with ePayPolicy!

It Pays to be In Our Payment Network

There’s more to ePayPolicy than taking digital payments from insureds. You can also take—and make—payments across all insurance verticals. The ePayPolicy Payment Network connects independent agencies, brokers, MGAs and premium finance companies with each other, as well as to carriers and insureds.

 

How Network payables work

Sending payments to partners within the Payables Network

The Payables feature within the ePayPolicy dashboard lets you send funds to any agency, broker, MGA or premium finance company across the industry for only $ .50 per transaction (less than the cost of a stamp).

Anyone with a paid ePayPolicy subscription can both receive and send payments.

Sending payments to partners outside the Network

Need to send funds to an agency, broker, MGA or PFC that doesn’t use ePayPolicy to collect payments? No problem. Simply have them sign up with us for a  free payment account.

 

Benefits of Payables Network membership

Many of the same benefits of ePayPolicy as a payment collection portal apply to leveraging ePayPolicy as a digital payment portal:

  • Enjoy fast, secure payments
  • Go paperless — Eliminate checks to insurance partners (and help save the planet)
  • Low per-payment fee — You can’t even mail a check for $.50
  • Easily track outgoing funds in the dashboard — Accounting staff love it!
  • Payee info is stored — No need to gather additional information 

Also:

  • Collect commissions and refunds faster, without waiting for a check
  • Simplify accounting — Funds from Network members go directly into your account

 

Join the Payables Network

Sign up for an ePayPolicy ePayPolicy subscription today.

Already have an ePayPolicy subscription? Learn more about paying with ePayPolicy.

Or, simply set up a free payment account* to exchange payments within the Network.

 

*Free accounts do not include a payment page.

 

 

Features Feature: AutoPay and Recurring Payments

ePayPolicy offers two features that make payment a “set it, and forget it” proposition for those paying you. We get a lot of questions about the difference between AutoPay and Recurring Payments. Here’s a quick overview to take the mystery out of these convenient features:

Recurring Payments

Recurring payments are available with our Custom Payment Page subscription. The ability to set up recurring payments is embedded right on your payment page to make the payment experience seamless for your payer. Once the payer is logged in, a simple toggle turns it on and they can set up payments to occur on a set schedule. The payer sets the start date and end date, according to frequency (e.g., monthly, semiannually).

The payer can easily track payments directly through your payment page on the Recurring Payments page. You can also track their recurring payments through your dashboard.

Main benefits: Payers don’t have to remember when payments are due. They control the schedule of payments and can turn the feature on themselves and change the schedule at any time, if needed.

AutoPay

This feature is available to clients with an Integration. We integrate with today’s most popular management systems, with new ones being continuously added. (Here’s a list of current integrations.)
AutoPay is automatically enabled so your payers are ready to set up automatic payments for their account. Payment is made directly from the payer’s account (ACH or debit or credit card) as soon as an invoice is posted from the management system. The payer gets an automatic e-receipt of the transaction and the activity writes directly back into the management system.

Main benefit: It’s all done automatically—for your payer, and for you. It guarantees that your invoices will be paid as soon as you submit them to your payers—making things simple for you and your clients.

Which is better for your agency?

Both Recurring Payments and AutoPay add an extra layer of convenience—the whole point of offering digital insurance payments. Both reduce (or even eliminate) the problem of missed or late payments. Both offer you and the payer the ability to easily track when payments are made.

The difference is your ePayPolicy subscription. If you’re not ready to integrate ePayPolicy with your AMS (or if we don’t yet integrate with your management system), you can’t go wrong with a Custom Payment Page subscription, offering your payers the easy option of turning on recurring payments.

For more information on ePayPolicy features, follow us on Facebook. Already a client? Be sure to join our Facebook Users Group!

Finding The Perfect Payment Processor For Your Agency

“It’s not us, it’s you.” Several insurance agents that use large payment processors (operate in multiple verticals) have reported being kicked off their payment processor, with no other explanation than “our product is not a good fit for your industry.” Well, their loss is potentially your gain. We can’t tell you exactly why these companies are rejecting business from the insurance industry. But we have some educated guesses. Even better, we have a solution! First and foremost, the insurance industry is highly regulated and involves a lot of tracking funds for compliance purposes. Some payment processors are designed for straight sales transactions. They simply can’t handle the additional levels of accounting and code compliance the insurance industry demands, in other words, they don’t speak insurance. “Not a good fit” is their way of admitting they’re not set up for a complex, regulation-driven industry like insurance. Here are some likely reasons why they might be rejecting business from insurance agencies:

Insurance Code Mandates and Trust Account Management

Most vendors who use a large multi-vertical payment processor have a simple business model: receive payment in exchange for goods or services provided. It’s straightforward. No fancy accounting required. Think coffee shops, digital storefronts, hotdog guy at the block party. But not the insurance industry. As you know, premium payments in some states are subject to insurance code regulations. When you receive premiums you are operating in a “fiduciary” capacity. You are not the “owner” of the premiums paid but are acting as a fiduciary of those funds.  As such, you must keep premiums in separate trust accounts that are segregated from the agency’s business operating funds. This is to protect premium funds from agency creditors. And you can’t take them out of the trust account without proper documentation of the commission earned and an audit trail, either. Truth be told, general payment processors are not set up for this level of sophistication. Volume, yes. Sophisticated accounting, no. Trust account (TA) management is a huge responsibility with potentially heavy consequences. You need a payment processor that understands the “ins and outs” — which, for insurance agents, involves more than simply depositing money from the client into your agency account, or even passing it directly through to the carrier! Terms like net funding and premium funds should sound familiar. 

State Compliance and Regulations 

Each state has its own set of regulations for selling insurance. The requirements in Ohio may be different from those in New York, California or Florida. That’s one reason why the trusted choice / BIG I associations are so valuable. They keep you on track to maintain compliance with any and all state-specific mandates. Needless to say, the big global payment processing companies are not operating at this micro (state regulations) level.  But you are. And so are we at ePayPolicy. We maintain close relationships with the Big I / Trusted Choice state insurance associations nationwide and are in the process of getting all 50 states endorsements. Their stamp of approval is their way of saying, “This vendor gets it. We trust them. You should, too.”

An insurance Industry-Specific Solution

I’ve kind of hinted at the solution in the “issues/problems with general payment processors” sections above. Yes.  I am talking about ePayPolicy — the insurance payment processing platform built specifically for independent insurance agents. We are not a general-purpose payment processor. We are a payment processor that was built by insurance professionals for insurance. We work exclusively with and for the insurance industry. By focusing on your business needs, as well as the highly regulated nature of insurance, we have created an ecosystem that streamlines your operations while ensuring compliance across the board. Check out ePayPolicy. We make collecting credit card and ACH payments as easy as possible and to get started takes only 5 minutes. 

The Madness of Paper Checks & Insurance Payments

The Madness of Paper Checks & Insurance Payments

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.

For the customer married to their smartphone—our app is their better half

Your customer is married to their smartphone—our app is their better half
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!

3 reasons to accept electronic payments

3 reasons to accept electronic payments
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.

3. Convenience
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.

Virtual checks and desire to fight change

Virtual checks and desire to fight change

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.

Three Flavors!

Three Flavors!

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.

  1.  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.
  2.  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.
  3.  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!