Microplastics. The smell in the break room when someone microwaves salmon. Paper checks.
Some things linger, despite our hopes otherwise.
And so, we adapt.
The inefficiencies of paper check payments drove ePayPolicy’s founders to create their core platform for online payments 8 years ago. They saw how most other industries took payments, and knew they could help insurance organizations like theirs make the leap.
And now, agencies, MGAs, PFCs and carriers get paid faster. Problem, meet solution – right?
The Persistence and Pain of Checks
“There are still people out there who feel that a paper check is more secure,” says Vickie Harmon of Bailey Special Risk. “That’s their preconceived notion. And then there are others who tell us their owners don’t allow them to pay online.”
The combination of digital payment preferences in the 18-34 age bracket and the surge in online payments driven by the pandemic has proven to be lasting. B2C consumer preferences for fast, flexible and secure payments have bled into B2B transactions. And paper checks are anything but fast, flexible and secure.
“Just getting checks to the office is a pain,” said Harmon. “Someone could send a check from 2-3 hours up the road, and a week later, it might get to us. Then someone has to open it, scan it, and reconcile it back to (Vertafore’s) AIM.”
A 2022 McKinsey study affirmed what most already know – 9 out of 10 Americans utilize digital payments. Online payments are faster, more secure, and commonplace. But compared to most industries, the insurance space has an above average amount of holdouts still using checks.
“We look at the amount on the check. If there’s a comma, we might take it to the bank today,” joked Harmon. “If not, maybe we’ll wait until the end of the week and see if another one comes in.”
“We know that our customers love the ease of online payments,” said ePayPolicy CTO Nish Modi. “But they’re still getting these checks – in some cases, despite their best efforts. We started thinking, could we make check payments as easy as their online payments?”
More than a lockbox
Some large insurance organizations utilize generic bank lockbox solutions to offload the administration associated with check handling at the offices, especially with multi-location companies. But not all lockboxes are created equal, and many come with high and fluctuating fee schedules, long-term contracts and insufficient integration with insurance management and accounting software.
“We could have had a lockbox at any point, but then it would just be a matter of them emailing us the information,” said Harmon. “We’d still have to spend the time to manually enter all of that.”
Feedback like this led to the development of CheckMate – the first integrated, secure lockbox solution built just for the insurance industry. When it came to rethinking the lockbox concept, Modi’s team was adamant that CheckMate would be built to integrate with the actual management and accounting systems being used today.
“A lockbox without the (Vertafore) AIM integration doesn’t save me anything, other than maybe it gets to the bank a little quicker.” Harmon added. “But with CheckMate, there’s no manual entry.”
As an integrated insurance solution, CheckMate works in 3 simple steps:
Secure, Daily Collection – Checks are routed to the closest CheckMate lockbox location for daily collecting, batching and processing.
Dashboard Details – Check images and remittance details are viewable in the ePayPolicy dashboards, so there’s just one dashboard for all your payment types. No additional software required.
Magic Invoice Matching – Customers that connect their accounting systems can utilize CheckMate’s intelligent scanning to match payments with open invoices, eliminating double work and repetitive data entry.
“With CheckMate, the deposits get to the bank faster – by at least 1-2 days, and what used to be 2-3 minutes per check to process has become 2-3 minutes per batch,” said Harmon. “We don’t want to have to spend our time processing checks, we’d rather spend it servicing our customers.”
CheckMate is now available for insurance organizations looking for an integrated solution for modern check payments and accounting.