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.”

How Much Are Paper Checks Costing Your Agency?

In your office, do you send coworkers letters instead of emails? Do you hand-write invitations to meetings and deliver them to everyone’s desk? Do you post physical to-do lists on everyone’s office door? Then why would someone hand-write and mail paper checks?

How Much Are Checks Costing Your Insurance Agency? 
In the digital age, people avoid paper materials due to the inefficiencies. Physical transactions waste time and money, create the possibility for confusion, and are an unnecessary use of resources. Now, 80% of businesses are seeking ways to convert paper checks into digital payments. 

So, are paper checks outdated? Yes. In fact, it’s possible for banks to consider them “stale” after only a few months. The Federal Reserve Study estimated 28 billion checks were processed in 2009 with a decline of 1.2 billion every year since. At this rate, they estimate paper checks will become extinct by 2026. 

While the need for paper checks is shrinking, the cost is not. In a study conducted by the Aberdeen Group, $7.78 was the average cost of a paper check, while Bank of America reports a cost of $4 – $20 factoring in mailing and processing. Bottomline showed processing a check costs a business ten times more than an ACH transfer, and receiving a check costs five times more than an ACH payment. That’s a lot of money being spent on receiving money. 

Let’s Talk About The Customer Experience
Customers crave flexibility, convenience, and speed. Paper checks cost them all three. They don’t want to reach for a checkbook, pen, envelope and stamp before running to the mailbox just to make a payment. The same Federal Reserve Study states paper check usage has decreased by 7.2%, and debit and credit card payments have increased by 8.9%.

We live in a world where there are online services for everything. Customers want and need, to be able to pay for their insurance from anywhere at any time. Slow payment systems like the paper check increase wait times and add the layer for human error to the process.

The Security Risks That Come with Paper Checks 
Paper checks increase the customers risk for fraud and identity theft. In its 2015 Deposit Account Fraud Survey, the American Bankers Association says that check fraud accounted for 32 percent of the industry’s $1.91 billion in losses in 2014. The sheer number of times a check must be passed from hand to hand while it is being processed means there is less and less security available. This also implies an increased risk for your agency to even receive the payments. 

The mail itself offers little security, and someone could easily steal the bank account and routing numbers for an account from a physical check. Your customers trust you with their largest assets and the safety of their banking information. Digital processing creates a secure environment to receive payments and keep accurate records while eliminating these risks.

The Environmental Impact
A growing consumer concern over the last decade has been the environment and our negative impact on it. Customers like to know the companies they do business with are green-conscious.

Take paper receipts for example. Have you noticed a trend of customers saying no to printed receipts and receiving them electronically? People view paper checks as equally not preferable. The check creation process involves water, gas, trees, and releases greenhouse gases. Once the check is processed, it will most likely end up in a landfill, adding to more waste. Moving to a greener, digital solution will not only create positive PR but will have a powerful effect on the environment. 

Have questions on how you can move away from paper checks? Reach out and schedule a demo to learn why ePayPolicy is the simplest solution for you to collect credit card and ACH payments for your insurance agency.

Studies used for this posting include…
The 2019 Federal Reserve Payments Study
2019 AFP Electronic Payments Survey
What is Check Fraud