This PFC Keeps Growing with Digital Payments

Agile Premium Finance (Agile) is one of our longest-running partners and in many ways we have grown up together. Agile has been offering digital payments through ePayPolicy since their founding in 2017. President & COO Bob Przespolewski describes the relationship this way: “We’ve grown together to provide our customers an easy and convenient tool to make their ACH or credit card payments online.”

Providing convenience and efficiency

As a premium finance company (PFC), Agile services P&C agents and their insureds nationwide. “We provide convenient and efficient premium financing solutions to our customers to improve cash flow, preserve working capital, and retain funds for projects, expenses, and investments,” explains Bob.

Offering digital payments aligns perfectly with Agile’s innovative approach and service philosophy of convenience and efficiency. Agile is one of the rare ePayPolicy clients that started their business offering digital payments from day one.

 
 
 
 
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Why ePayPolicy?

Bob says: “There was never a question of whether or not we would be accepting digital payments. Our biggest question was who was going to be our business partner.”

Agile’s main concern was the security of information collected and the ability to pass that information seamlessly from their system to the payment processor. “We did review other vendors, but there was no doubt ePayPolicy was the only solution that made sense for our business,” Bob says.

Note that data security has always been a top priority at ePayPolicy. Agile Premium Finance handles a high volume of large premium payments and could not risk a data breach. Our PCI Level 1 compliance status gave (and continues to give) them peace of mind.

Smooth implementation

“Launching ePayPolicy was one of the smoothest launches we’ve experienced. They were there to answer our questions and make sure we were all comfortable with the process,” Bob recalls.

How Agile uses ePayPolicy

Agile accepts both down payments and monthly installments for insurance premium finance agreements from their insureds.

“The ability to accept payments digitally is the most convenient and efficient option for our insureds, our agents, and for our team,” says Bob. He continues, “Customers have the choice of ACH or making credit card payments online through our portal, utilizing our pay-by-phone system, or setting up a monthly recurring payment.”

Yet even with all these options to pay digitally, many insureds still pay by check. He says that Agile will always accept checks. But as early adopters of digital payment, they appreciate and continue to promote its many benefits—for all parties involved.

Bob’s accounting teams also utilize ePayPolicy’s reports to reconcile accounts on a daily/monthly basis.

The biggest benefits of ePayPolicy

Bob doesn’t hesitate on this question. “The ease of my insureds making their payments, or my customer service team making payments on behalf of our insureds.”

Favorite feature

“The integration to our Premium Finance Software is the key feature for us,” says Bob.
In fact, when asked how ePayPolicy could improve, Bob suggested we ”continue to work on expanding integration options with outside vendors.”

Advice for other PFCs

Bob Przespolewski is unequivocal in his recommendation. “There is no question that every PFC should be accepting digital payments and there is no one easier to work with than ePayPolicy.”

“There is no one easier to work with than ePayPolicy.”
—Bob Przespolewski
President & COO, Agile

 

About Agile Premium Finance

Agile Premium Finance is a Division of Valley National Bank and a leader in the insurance premium finance industry. An innovative and progressive organization, Agile Premium Finance serves agents and their insured(s) across all 50 states, providing convenient and efficient premium financing solutions to customers to improve their cash flow, preserve working capital, and retain funds for projects, expenses, and investments.

Customization is King at This Insurance Firm

Universal Insurance Programs (UIP) has been using ePayPolicy for three years. According to Business Operations Manager Edin Nadarevic, their primary motivation was to streamline internal processes. He says, “We did collect electronic payments, but it was done manually in-house. We know that checks will never go away entirely. The reason why we decided to use ePayPolicy is to free up our accounting team to focus on tasks other than chasing down payments.”                                

Why ePayPolicy

Applied EPIC® is our agency management system and they recommended ePay,” Edin recalls. “We looked at other vendors, of course. But most were too broad and would not fit into our processes—or integrate with EPIC. We knew quickly that ePayPolicy understands our world and would suit our business best.”

Promotion Leads to Adoption

Edin understands marketing and the power of promotion to change behavior. He consulted with ePayPolicy and worked closely with the UIP marketing team to ensure consistency of client-facing communications with the firm’s branding. They added integrated hotlinks of the payment portal to their policies and invoices, to staff email signatures and, of course, the firm’s website.

According to Edin, “It took about a year, or one full cycle, to teach our clients (agents and brokers) to fully embrace digital payment. Now they love it!” He adds, “It’s so easy that sometimes our insureds pay us directly.”

Favorite Features

For insureds, Edin cites two:

  1.   “One big plus is not having to create an account. As an insured I want to pay my premium and go about my business. With ePayPolicy you can just enter your information and you don’t have to create an account.”
  2.   With ePayPolicy, ACH and credit card fees are charged separately from the premium and passed along to the insured. However, according to Edin, “The UIP management team* decided to absorb the ACH fee, since it’s a smaller amount than credit card fees.  It’s definitely been a strategic advantage for us.”

And Edin’s own personal favorite feature:

“I love that we can create the custom buttons. Our invoices, our signature pages—we put yellow “Pay My Bill” buttons everywhere!”

Biggest Internal Benefits

Reliability and efficiency top Edin’s list. “I like that it gets the job done and everyone gets their job done. We just set it and forget it. It always works, and has never stopped working!”

He continues: “ePayPolicy has minimized a lot of manual work for our accounting team. We get our weekly and daily batches and that’s amazing!” Edin oversees multiple departments and says they are all are on board. “ePayPolicy has positively affected our entire business. We can all collect premiums. Everybody here knows how to take a payment. Everyone—from administrative staff to the president—has the payment button.”

Advice to Others

Edin says: “Do it! You can test it out for a month and walk away. There’s no risk, no contract.”

But he fully expects you’ll stay. “Once you set it up, tell everyone about it. Put those payment buttons everywhere! Have all your clients go through a whole annual cycle with ePayPolicy, and you will love it.” 

About Universal Insurance Programs

Arizona-based Universal Insurance Programs, LLC (UIP) was established in 1992 to provide comprehensive coverages to business professionals across the United States. UIP offers uniquely tailored insurance solutions for niche markets including self-storage facilities, salons, day spas and tanning salons.

  

*UP’s Chief Emotional Officer (CEO) Morgan (aka Morgie) supports this policy—and everything that makes people feel that “insurance is a good thing.” Digital payment through ePayPolicy gets an enthusiastic “paws up!”

ePayPolicy Helps Increase Quote-to-Bind Ratio (Among Other Pluses)

Coast General Insurance Brokers provides commercial lines and employee benefits coverage for California business owners. Niche industries include attorneys, contractors, food services, and truckers. Director of Operations/Senior Account Manager Angelina Lopez says: “We’re here to make their lives easier.”

One way they make things easier is offering payment options. The agency has been accepting credit cards for more than 10 years. It hasn’t always been smooth. Angelina describes having a credit card machine in the office and manually entering card numbers given over the phone. Next, they had a merchant service company — two, actually: one for credit card payments and another for ACH payments. Throughout, Coast General was absorbing all the costs. “We found ourselves having to increase our broker fees to offset the merchant charges,” recalls Angelina.

That all changed for the better in 2018. “We are part of IIABCal,” says Angelia. “That’s how we learned about ePayPolicy. They showed me their demo; it was quick and easy, and the payment page had our logo on it.”

Benefits to the agency

ePayPolicy automatically deposits carrier payments into the trust account and fees into the operating account. “That was a problem before,” says Angelina. “ePayPolicy understands how insurance works, our fiduciary responsibilities.”

Angelina also appreciates that “our payment page looks like ‘us.’” She also loves the quick confirmation of payment (“I know when something is binding because I get the receipts via email”) and going into the ePayPolicy portal and seeing the batch reports.

She’s also using the platform to make payments. “A lot of our wholesaler MGAs use ePayPolicy. The money could be due tomorrow. I can make a payment today and the MGA receives the notification right away. It saves time for both of us.”   

Client response to ePayPolicy

“I would say 95 percent of our agency bill clients are using it,” says Angelina. “About 50/50 ACH and credit cards. Business owners like to get their credit card mileage points.”

But like any agency, Coast General has a few “old school” clients. “If they’re afraid of the technology, I tell them it’s secure and very easy to use. I also point out that we can’t bind without payment. If they need the coverage now and are out on the road, ePayPolicy makes it happen.”

She notes that during the pandemic, Coast General started absorbing the $3 ACH transaction fee and are continuing with that practice.

What’s next for Coast General

The agency recently switched over to Applied EPIC. Angelina looks forward to integrating their new management system with ePayPolicy.

Advice to other agencies

“For $20* a month, I would say to embrace this technology upgrade. And don’t be afraid. It’s so much easier for both our accounting department and clients,” she suggests, adding: “Our quote-to-bind ratio increased significantly once we started ePayPolicy. They sign electronically, they pay electronically, and it’s done.”

*Basic subscription. Other subscription plans available.

IIABCal members get two months of ePayPolicy for FREE when signing up with referral code iiabmember.

ICI Sums up ePayPolicy in One Word: Simplicity

ICI Insurance has been serving Kansas families and businesses since 1885. Licensed in 48 states, ICI has 48 employees in six locations. The agency started accepting digital payments in May 2019. Director of finance, Megan McNary, explains: “We wanted to offer clients ease and convenience. We didn’t have a lot of folks asking for it, but it was hard having to say, ‘Sorry, we don’t accept credit cards.’”

How ICI Selected ePayPolicy

Megan set out to find a payment portal that’s easy to use and integrates with their management system. ICI uses Applied Epic, and Megan got to know prospective vendors through Applied Net conferences. ICI interviewed a few others, but ePayPolicy blew the competition away—with its simplicity. “Anyone can use ePayPolicy, whether you’re tech savvy or not,” Megan says.

Client Adoption of ePayPolicy

ICI has two payment-related goals: 1) to get more direct bill clients and, 2) to convert more agency bill clients to digital payment. Digital payers are still a minority at ICI. Most choose ACH over credit card payment, “likely because it has a lower transaction fee”. 

Favorite Feature

“I can’t pick just one favorite,” Megan laughs. “I like so many things about ePayPolicy!”

She says clients find it extremely user-friendly. “We have the ‘pay online’ button on our website. There’s a direct link from invoice straight to payment.”

Megan’s finance team also likes the simplicity and the friendly and knowledgeable customer service. “We haven’t had many challenges, but you always have questions with a new vendor. We’ve always received a response from ePayPolicy the same day.” 

ePayPolicy Benefits

“Technology is evolving. Offering payment convenience through technology is crucial to growing the agency,” says Megan.

For her team, digital payments are more efficient than checks. She explains, “When a check comes in, it has to go through so many hands in our agency. Checks require a lot of extra steps and work.”

With ePayPolicy, it’s “great to just be notified when a transaction has gone through.”

On the Horizon at ICI

Megan is excited about the new ICI Connect app. The app will be a link between ICI clients, ePayPolicy and Epic. “Everyone uses apps, right?” She reasons that as clients use the app, they’ll happily use it to pay their invoices.

Of course there will always be clients who want to mail or drop by with a check. ICI will always take checks. Meanwhile, Megan expects to see more ACH and credit card payments once ICI Connect is up and running. 

Advice to Other Agencies 

If you’re skeptical about offering digital payments, “I would challenge you to schedule a demo or talk to someone who’s using ePayPolicy—including me.”

Michigan Agency Binds Policies Faster with ePayPolicy

Based in Grosse Pointe Michigan, Noel Selewski Agency, Inc. has been in business since 1979 and is licensed in 47 states. They offer personal and commercial lines, specializing in investment properties.

Kevin Jenkins, the firm’s lead agent, and Paula Rausch, operations manager, shared how ePayPolicy is working for the agency and their clients.

In 18 years at Noel Selewski, Kevin has seen the agency evolve based on client needs. He says, “We’re living in a revolutionary time for insurance. Digital transactions are the future—and it’s happening now.” He and Paula wanted to offer clients the payment convenience offered by larger agencies. But they ran into a stumbling block. Michigan law prohibits insurance agents from passing on credit card fees to their policyholders. But absorbing the merchant account fees was financially unsustainable for the agency.

Kevin did extensive research and was pleased to find ePayPolicy, a payment processing platform specifically for independent insurance agencies and MGAs. Client payments are collected by ePayPolicy, not the agency. The system charges the associated fees directly to the payer. It’s completely legal, and clients are happy to pay for the convenience.

Says Paula, “Most of our policies are time-sensitive. Clients need to show coverage to close on a property. We’re talking high volumes and big sums of money. I get nervous waiting for a check to arrive, especially with the recent postal service delays. There’s a risk the check won’t arrive.Then you have to deposit the check, wait for it to clear, etc.”

With ePayPolicy, she says, “I know immediately when a payment has come in. I get an email. It’s so much faster.”

Kevin’s favorite feature is being able to take payments over the phone or copy and send clients a secure payment link. He says, “It makes binding policies faster and raises the level of client trust. They feel safer knowing the link I share is secure.” (Note: ePayPolicy is PCI Level 1 compliant.)

Paula also mentions these benefits: “It’s much more efficient for our internal filing. It’s a better customer experience, and less hassle for my team than paper checks.”

Advice to Other Insurance Companies

Kevin suggests: “I’d say look at the ease.The payment hits your account. You get a receipt. And you don’t have to wait for checks to clear. When you’re paid faster, you can bind faster, and move on to the next client’s needs. ePayPolicy has contributed to our agency’s growth.”

Paula concurs. “Save yourself the hassle and worry of paper checks and just do this. It’s simple!”

New Specialty MGA is Tech-driven and Open for Business

Dan Marzouk is launching a K2 Insurance unit to handle the nuanced coverage needs of vehicle service garages and dealers. “We are focused on a better way to do things,” he says. “K2 Specialty insurance provides exceptional service and excellent technical assistance. The company has significant infrastructure and several units have implemented ePayPolicy into their platforms. We are implementing ePayPolicy into our garage and dealer unit from the get-go.”

How the Relationship Started

A carrier approached K2 Insurance in early 2021 to discuss setting up a niche MGA for vehicle dealers and garages.

Filings were sent to states in May and the technology integration wrapped up as of July.  Dan always planned on using ePayPolicy. He says, “ePayPolicy was one of the easiest integrations. They have a partnership with MGA Systems, so it plugged right into our accounting system.”

Benefits to Retail Agents

With ePayPolicy, K2 provides agents and their accounting teams with a full view of their payables.

“ePayPolicy allows our customers to accept payments directly through our system. They choose which policies they want to pay. Their accounting team can know if there’s money they owe K2 that they may not have billed. Everyone can log in and see all their invoices and all their credits,” Dan explains.

Plus, if an agent happens to have ePayPolicy on their end, that makes it even easier. It’s also a bonus for K2. “When they get paid, we get paid.”

The response during beta testing has been “ecstatic.”

Benefits to the MGA

K2 appreciates ePayPolicy for saving time and streamlining the receivables process. As an example, Dan talks about receiving a wire for $52K with no backup. “We could spend a week going back and forth trying to figure out which account(s) that payment is meant for. Our ‘mega’ agencies have a single accounting team. We may be working with five different offices, but they will send one payment! ePayPolicy makes clear how each payment gets allocated.”

Dan especially likes that ePayPolicy:

  •  fully integrates with K2’s accounting system
  •  enables K2 to invoice multiple accounts simultaneously
  • minimizes energy drain and confusion of chasing down payments
  • saves K2 from having to send out cancellation notices
  • can process both direct bill and agency bill payments

He also talks about collaborating with ePayPolicy to achieve special, nonstandard customization his team needs. “We hopped on a call with the programmers. Everyone looked at the code together and we quickly got it done.”

ePayPolicy Helps with K2 Clients Large and Small

Small to medium-sized agencies without accounting departments can use it for direct pay. Medium-sized to large clients are agency bill. K2 can send all their agencies links so their insureds can pay conveniently online.

“I want to keep it very easy. I don’t have to worry about keeping bank account or credit card info on file. It’s all secure and the system has fail safes,” Dan notes.

In Summary

K2 Specialty Dealer Insurance shares an accounting team of three people with other K2 units. Dan comments: “We had one unit that was hesitant about ePayPolicy, but our accounting team convinced them to reconsider. K2 has a large network of agents across the country. We want to do everything we can to make their lives easier.”

He concludes: ‘People buy based on product, price and relationships. We help our agents build relationships. Individual quotes may come in a little higher or lower. Our value is that they don’t have to worry about billing.”

Advice to Other MGAs

Dan suggests: “If you haven’t thought about it, think about it. If you polled your top agents, likely many of them are using ePayPolicy already. With COVID, your offices may not be staffed. No one is there to accept checks. You don’t always know that a wire came through. You always have proof of payment from ePayPolicy.” 

About K2 Insurance

K2 Specialty Dealer Insurance is part of K2 Insurance Services, LLC, a leading underwriting and distribution franchise in the program insurance market. K2 Insurance is the parent company for 22 — and growing — MGAs focused on individual niches across the U.S. and world, including energy, golf and country clubs, attorney malpractice, wineries, municipalities … and now, garages and dealers

Brown & Brown Makes a Customer-Centric Decision

Kelton Robinson was new to the insurance industry when he joined Brown & Brown in 2018. He immediately looked for new ways to modernize the agency and knew that enabling payments online was one of the first steps.

At the time, not many Brown & Brown offices offered digital payment options, but those that did recommended ePayPolicy. Being FAIA’s payment processor of choice was also a big plus. 

The ePayPolicy implementation was “seamless,” despite it happening at the same time they were converting to a new management system. ePayPolicy’s integration with Vertafore’s AMS360 was a definite bonus. As Kelton’s team adjusted to learning more about the platform, excitement built up. AutoPay and Invoice Notifications were and are some of their favorite ePayPolicy features.

ePayPolicy Has Modernized the Agency

Not only has ePayPolicy helped Kelton, but his entire Brown & Brown team and their customers have benefited from the switch.

Good Customer Response, Good Timing

Customers now have the option to pay instantly by credit card or ACH. Kelton says, “We haven’t forced it. We’ve simply offered it as a payment option.” He notes that personal lines customers were quick to embrace digital payments. Some commercial lines customers were hesitant at first but are increasingly switching to digital payments. And overall, customer feedback has been very positive.

And the timing could not have been better. Brown & Brown Ft. Lauderdale began offering digital payments in July 2019, which meant that customers could get used to it well before COVID-19 hit in spring 2020. 

Accounting Gets a Boost

Kelton views ePayPolicy as a big win for his team. “We are used to the sales team getting all the fancy gadgets. This was for us, to help us out on the accounting side. Right away it paid dividends.” He specifically called out the speed of managing transactions, the visibility to track the transactions, and the ability to be notified as soon as a customer pays—all of which speed up the time to bind a policy.

Advice to Other Agencies

Kelton suggests that agencies on the fence about digital payments should think first about their customers, who deserve the freedom to pay how they want to pay. 

He further suggests agencies avail themselves of ePayPolicy’s “low entry and high opportunity.” Low entry costs and no contract were major selling points for him. It’s a very low-risk investment that agencies can try out and “adopt as they see fit.”

In summary, Kelton offers his experience as a guide to success: “The product has been so great, the adoption has been steady, and benefits seen immediately.”

How Hummel Group Became the First ePayPolicy – AMS360 Integration

Hummel Group, Inc. is a regional insurance agency with six offices in Ohio and one in Indiana. The agency offers commercial and personal lines of insurance, health and employee benefits and financial planning and wealth management services. In the commercial insurance sector, the agency writes many lines of business, with specialties in niche markets.

The agency has made a systematic investment in InsurTech for the last 10+ years — always looking for ways to improve processes and efficiency, obtain better reporting and analysis and lead the way on technological innovations in the insurance industry. 

The Demand for Electronic Payments

“Our original goal was to speed up receivables collection,” says Kevin Weaver, Accounting and Bonds manager. “As more insureds started asking about paying electronically or with a credit card, Hummel Group wanted to offer this payment method in a cost-effective and secure way.”

Finding the Right Partner

Kevin and his team started looking for a vendor that could handle the specific needs of agencies, brokers, MGAs and premium finance companies. “We were heavily invested in Vertafore, so we asked them for a recommendation. What stood out about ePayPolicy is that they were one of the first Vertafore “Orange Partners” for electronic payments,” says Kevin.

Integration as Catalyst

At a Vertafore conference, Kevin heard ePayPolicy co-founder Milan Malkani mention that the company was getting “very close” to an integration with Vertafore.

Hummel Group was sold on ePayPolicy, but decided to hold off until the integration with AMS360 was ready for implementation. “We wanted the payment process streamlined and efficient from day one,” Kevin says.

In July 2019 Hummel Group became the first independent agency to integrate ePayPolicy into their AMS360 management system.

How it’s Going

Kevin reports: “For being the first AMS360 integration customer, the integration—for both divisions—went really well. Milan and his team made sure our questions were answered and everything worked to our satisfaction.”

Hummel Group has seen: 

  • Time savings for the agency. “Having our systems tied together saves hours of emails and phone calls from customers and brokers inquiring about their balance due. With a few inputs on the payment screen, all of a customer’s open invoices are populated.”
  • Convenience for their insureds. Kevin says: “We’re constantly asking what we can do to make it easier to do business with us. Electronic payment helps us accomplish that, especially with some of the current challenges accepting cash or checks. Hummel Group promotes digital payment (with payment links) on their website, in email signature blocks, on invoices and email reminders, and also during phone conversations.

Favorite Feature

Along with the Import Deposit feature, Kevin likes Invoice Notifications. The system sends out a reminder email to the insured, clearly branded to the appropriate division (Hummel Group or Energy Risk Advisors), and it includes a payment link. “Invoice Notification is a huge value-added feature,” he says.

Advice to Vertafore Users

Kevin views electronic payment as the way of the future. Many insurance carriers, brokers and MGAs already offer it, and insureds increasingly expect it.

Why ePayPolicy? “They were quick to partner with Vertafore. And they’re always adding new technologies and features—with input from users. Schedule a free demonstration. You will find their system very user-friendly. 

He concludes: “I cannot stress enough how pleasant it is to work with ePayPolicy. Their customer service is friendly, knowledgeable, and has a “can-do” attitude. They stay in close communication with us and provide occasional tips and tricks to make sure we are getting the maximum benefit from their system.

Life in the Fast Lane with Patriotic Insurance Group

Rob Bowen likes to get things done right and done fast. A veteran of the Navy and Fortune 500 financial services companies, Rob founded Patriotic Insurance Group in 2014. By emphasizing service, integrity, accuracy and efficiency, he’s built Patriotic Insurance Group into a beautiful (his term) company in a relatively short time. The agency helps clients in NY, NJ, CT, PA and VA manage their personal and business risks and insurance costs.

One thing Rob does not like is checks. He doesn’t like chasing down clients to get paid, or waiting for checks to arrive in the mail, or sending checks to the broker or carrier and waiting for them to clear.

Introduction to ePayPolicy

About two years ago, Rob was listening to “The Insurance Guys” podcast. Scott and Bradley had Todd Sorrel on, talking (as usual) about speeding up insurance payments. Rob was sold. He gave Todd a call and said, “Sign me up.”

 “I love that it does one thing and does it really well,” Rob says.  He’s a big fan of Insurtech in general, but insists his vendors have an insurance background. They need to “understand my daily pain and talk my language.” He’s wary of companies that try to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. “Stick to your knitting” is the phrase he used. Clearly, he’s happy with the lane we’ve chosen, and the fact that we stay in it!

How Patriotic Insurance Group and their clients benefit

Rob lives by the K.I.S.S. principle. “I send clients a link, they put in their info, and it’s done.” In two years he’s only had one client who struggled with using the payment portal. “I’m transparent that there’s a fee to use the service,” he says. “Some clients pay by credit card because they want the points. If it’s a large payment, I’ll encourage them to go with ACH, which is just $3 per transaction. Clients who use ePayPolicy love it.”

He remembers one client who mistakenly paid the net amount instead of the gross amount of their invoice. But ePayPolicy solves that problem with a customized link that prefills the amount due no room for human error. It’s also seamless and fast. “I get an email when the money is there. Ninety percent of that money is the carrier’s, not mine. It’s easy to reconcile, and within 24-28 hours, I’m able to pull my commissions out.”

Rob is also big on APIs. His agency is in the process of switching their AMS to HawkSoft. “Once we get the basics and other integrations down, we’ll pull in ePayPolicy. It will make everyone’s life easier.”

Advice to other agencies

“I don’t know why this is a decision point for an agency in 2021,” Rob reasons. “Checks are a pain in the neck. It’s only $20 a month (for the basic subscription). Even if it was $20 per payment, the time you spend chasing down a slow-paying client or waiting for the Post Office these days is worth it. It’s very helpful and saves so much.”

He concludes: “If you do any agency pay, you need to do this. Just get ePayPolicy. I don’t know why you wouldn’t.”

Big Sky Underwriters: An Early Adopter of Digital Payments

Todd Stoudt has been with Big Sky since 2018, but his history with ePayPolicy goes back to his previous job. They had ePayPolicy at his Hull & Company agency in Pennsylvania. When Todd was offered the Accounting Lead position at Big Sky, he thought digital payments/ePayPolicy would be something new he could bring to the table.

Turns out, Big Sky had been using ePayPolicy since our earliest days (2016)! 

Todd reflects, “Coming from another office, nothing caught me off guard. It was what I was used to.” That helped make his transition smooth.

Biggest Benefits 

“We didn’t have specific problems that we needed to fix with ePayPolicy,” Todd explains. “We have a diligent person doing our AR, so there’s little bad debt or collection issues here.”

Yet when one arises, ePayPolicy is a great tool for late receivables and debt collection. “We force our agents to use ePayPolicy to clear any bad debt. Once we start issuing cancellations, I see the automatic emails come in, letting us know the payment’s been made.”

Another benefit is lump sum payments. “Our agents get their statements, reconcile, and send one lump sum. We get an automatic email about the batches, then we manually apply the payments that come in through ePayPolicy,” explains Todd.

Who’s Paying Digitally

He says, “Most of our payments are from agencies. When an agent pays us, it’s almost always ACH. Our direct payers are a mix of ACH and credit card, but mostly ACH.”

Much as Todd would like to convert everyone to online payments, Big Sky still processes a lot of checks. They’ve put in a lock box to make it safe to drop them off during COVID-19. 

Favorite Features

Todd offers his thoughts without hesitation: “Auto emails. I see when something is or is not paid. I don’t have to log into the portal. All three of us in Accounting rely on the emails to know when payments are made.” 

He also likes that ePayPolicy is so simple to use. “We direct first-time payers to the website and they can figure it out. They have the option of using a card or ACH.”

For his team, too, Todd appreciates the simplicity. “You literally can’t get confused. The fields are there for a reason. We rarely get a payment where we don’t know where to apply it.”

Other features Todd likes about us:

  • Batch in the bank is easy
  • Having the payment link on the Big Sky website
  • Being able to access information in the portal and the emails both
  • Knowing when they’re approaching a bad debt

He also says good things about our customer service. “We rarely have an issue, but it’s always solved quickly.”:

Advice to Other Agencies

If you’re on the fence about offering digital payments, Todd suggests you use Big Sky as an example. “We pay $50 a month for it.* If you can absorb that cost, go for it.” 

* Monthly fee for our Custom Plan.

About Big Sky Underwriters

Big Sky Underwriters is an independent MGA based in Missoula, Montana. The agency has been in business since 1955, and is now a division of Hull & Company, LLC. Licensed in all 50 states, Big Sky’s business mix is primarily commercial and agribusiness, along with personal lines and some religious groups. Big Sky has 35 employees and made $5 million in revenue last year.