Service-Driven Agency Takes on Digital Payments

Specialty Risk Insurance is a customer service-driven agency with three offices in Missouri, as well as an office in Oklahoma and Texas. They are proud to live in the industries they serve which gives them a unique edge when understanding specific policies and products. Specialty Risk is a full-service agency—insuring everything from agribusiness, construction, livestock, energy/oil, trucking, farm and ranch, and personal lines. Since 2012, they have felt a personal responsibility to make insurance as easy as possible for their customers. 

Decision to Offer Digital Payments 

Kevin Charleston (founder/principal), Robin Smith (account manager), and Denise Kinman (accounting) researched multiple options for digital payments but ultimately decided ePayPolicy was best for their customers. Denise says, “When I realized how easy it was from the customer stand-point, and the fact that ePayPolicy has the strictest data security protocols among payment processors, it was a no-brainer for our agency.” 

For Specialty Risk, customer service is the foundation of the business—their agents are on the road meeting with current and potential clients at their place of business. They are taking payments on the spot, which is where the convenience of digital payments comes in.

When opening their Texas office Kevin says, “We really wanted to streamline and speed up the payment process for them right out of the gate.”  ePayPolicy allowed this to happen with peace of mind from a security standpoint. 

Research and Vendor Selection 

Specialty Risk looked into multiple options for online payment systems, but most fees were “ridiculous.” What sold them on ePayPolicy? Denise shared “Part of our research was looking closely at cybersecurity. We never want to put our customers’ financial integrity at risk. ePayPolicy is PCI level 1 compliant. They purge everything. That was a major deciding factor.” 

The agency has been using the basic payment page from ePayPolicy since 2018 and with the recent implementation of CSR24, they’re excited to set up the integration between the two systems and activate bill pay pay (at no extra costs). 

Experience with ePayPolicy 

The ePayPolicy payment page was set up and Specialty Risk was accepting digital payments from customers in just a few days. Agents and customers all agree “It was way too easy!” 

Specialty Risk Insurance doesn’t push digital payment but rather “gives their customers the option as an alternative to cash or checks. Right now, $1 out of every $7 of customer deposits are digital. Most are ACH, with some debit/credit card usage.” 

Kevin mentioned “With COVID, it’s been invaluable. We have a wide age range of customers, some 70+, and ePayPolicy allows us to serve them without making physical contact. After customers experience the ease of instant payment, they don’t go back.” 

Benefits to the Agency

The Accounting department benefits the most from ePayPolicy, Denise mentions. 

  1. It streamlines the deposit process. “Not having to physically touch every check is helpful. Now we are able to just upload and record the batch on the back side.” 
  2. It speeds up our aged receivable dates. “It is nice to get paid faster, not having to wait days or weeks for payments to arrive by mail.” 
  3. It has decreased expenses for the agency and for customers. “Some customers want to pay by phone, but a wire or ACH transfer can cost anywhere from $30-$40 to send and receive. ePayPolicy has a $3 ACH fee or flat rate for credit card transactions, that is passed along to the customer at the point of payment.”

With customer service at the forefront of what Specialty Risk believes in, they “were worried about losing the personal touch of picking up checks in person. As it turns out, this is simpler for them. Customers appreciate the ease and speed of doing business with us,” says Robin. 

Specialty Risk also serves as a brokerage. “With Livestock Insurance Exchange, ePayPolicy makes payments easier for our brokers too.” 

Advice to Other Agencies 

Kevin, Robin, and Denise agree that offering credit card and ACH payments is a competitive “must,” especially in the age of COVID. “We’re happy to talk to other agencies about the technology we’re using” offers Kevin. “ePayPolicy is perfect for independent insurance agencies because it’s designed for our needs. MAIA recommends them. And we do, too.”

ePayPolicy Helps Boutique Agency LEGISequine Boost AR

“Horsemen Insuring Horsemen.” That’s the motto of Burbank, California-based LEGISequine. LEGIS agents and staff are passionate about horses, each bringing firsthand experience owning, showing, training, officiating and/or managing equine events. They also have highly specialized insurance knowledge. If it’s a risk associated with a horse or horse business, LEGIS insures it.

Operations Manager Sarah Rajoy shares how ePayPolicy is helping this high-end niche agency.

“We’re a small boutique agency with about 2,000 active clients nationwide. We work with high-net-worth clients, who have high expectations. We’re a luxury item (insurance) for a luxury item (horses). Our clients expect superb service. LEGIS delivers, and ePayPolicy delivers for us.”

Prior to moving to ePayPolicy in August 2020, LEGIS had another online payment system that Sarah describes as “dumb,” because clients could submit a payment, but it did not track to an actual invoice. The agency found ePayPolicy through Vertafore. LEGIS uses Vertafore’s AMS360 management system and integration was (and still is) a major selling point.*

Who Benefits from ePayPolicy

LEGIS agents are happy to offer multiple payment options. “Horse people are on the road a lot for shows and such. Payment due alerts give them time to move money if they need to. And they can pay from anywhere,” Sarah says. “It’s more convenient than writing checks. We also encourage automated payments so our clients can ‘set it and forget it.’”

Sarah’s favorite benefit? Not having to chase down payments. “It’s not my staff’s favorite task,” she admits. ePayPolicy sends out receivables notices, thus automating the dunning process. Sarah comments on the impact:

“I was looking at the numbers. We have decreased our aging receivables by 75 percent. That’s huge!”

Above-and-Beyond Service

Sarah makes a point of mentioning ePayPolicy’s above-and-beyond service. “I know we’re not the typical ePayPolicy client. Sometimes you’ll get a vendor that throws up their hands at a request. They say, ‘No way. That’s impossible. It won’t work.’ Not ePayPolicy. They work with you.” As an example, LEGIS had a situation involving collaboration between ePayPolicy and Vertafore engineers. Sarah says: “It was tricky. But they stayed on it and they got it done.”

In fact, she says the whole team has been great to work with. “Our service rep (Al) stays in touch just to check in. Sarah explains: “The more you live in a high-service community, the more you refuse to tolerate poor service yourself. ePayPolicy provides a caliber of service that we’re proud to offer our clients.”

Advice to Other Agencies

If you’re not sure about offering online payments or about choosing a digital payment processor for your agency, consider LEGISequine’s experience. “The biggest thing we learned is how much we could allocate resources away from AR and use them to write new business. We put that staff time into quoting and issuing policies. When you’re small and lean like LEGIS, that’s been the biggest win of all.”

*ePayPolicy integrates with today’s most popular agency management systems. If you don’t see your AMS here, please ask. Likely we’re in negotiations with your system vendor right now!