Technology has the uncanny ability to influence and shape our lives. From the invention of paper in 105 AD to the unveiling of the first iPhone more than 10 years ago in 2007, great tech has the power to solve problems, altering the way we do things forever.
This is especially true for the insurance industry.
Insurtech, the practice of using new technology to help modernize the insurance space, is at the forefront of the industry, and changing the way agents, brokers, carriers, and insureds all interact with each other and do business. In an industry where so many processes are rooted in tradition and face-to-face interaction, the individuals that are utilizing technology are nudging the landscape towards more cost-effective and efficient practices.
Payments, for example, used to all be handled manually. Not long ago, if an insured needed to make a payment on their policy, the only available options were to pay either via cash, wire, or paper check. That was it.
But here’s the thing — Cash has to be handed off in person. Wire transfers can take as many as five days to be processed. And paper checks have to be handed off in person too, plus deposited at the bank.
What if the agent needed that payment immediately? Talk about inconvenient.
Today, however, there are more options. Electronic payment options, to be exact. Fueled by passion and empowered by tech, our team created a payment processor that simplifies the entire process of submitting and accepting insurance payments. Agents and brokers now have the luxury and ability to offer insureds the choice to pay electronically. And the positive implications of that are crystal clear for ePayPolicy customers.
“It used to be that if a policy was due to cancel that day, agents were scrambling to figure out how to get the funds to us,” said Teresa Hamm, Accounting Specialist for Towerstone Inc. “But now, agents can go online and immediately make payments. They’re helping their insureds’ policies from canceling, and I can turn around and get the funds to the carrier. It’s a win-win situation.”
Our integration capabilities also play a huge role in making things easier for agencies. ePayPolicy is integrated with several management systems, including Vertafore’s AIM, Sagitta, and FinancePro, as well as NowCerts, MGA Systems, and i-Engineering’s ALIS. These seamless system integrations mean that agencies, and more specifically, agency accounting teams, can process invoices faster and more efficiently. Gone are the days of paper checks and manual payment reconciliation.
“ePayPolicy has significantly improved the user experience for us as well as our clients,” said J. Archer Butler, Underwriter for Piedmont Premium Finance. “And, it saves our accounting team the extra work of going between multiple systems,” said Butler.
Insurtech has the power to improve communication in-house as well. Using a cloud-based service like Slack significantly cuts down on pesky back-and-forth emails between colleagues, for one, and offers a plethora of other bells and whistles to keep teams organized (i.e. Chat room “channels” organized by topic, direct messaging, search functionality, integrations with Dropbox, Trello, GitHub, and much more).
Google Drive, another cloud-based tool, is something we use in-house that continues to keep our practices up-to-date. Drive is a file storage service that comes with a suite of tools such as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Think of these like the cousin to Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, respectively. What’s great about these tools is that they are auto-saved to Google Drive, and, users can collaborate on projects together, in real-time.
For insurance professionals, the advantages of Slack, Google Drive, and various other tech and software applications are plentiful. We live in a fast-paced world where things are expected (and where we expect things) to happen immediately. Thankfully, there are mobile apps for Slack, Drive, and just about anything these days, making the desire for immediacy a reality.
Old habits die hard, but when electronic payment processors, mobile banking, messaging services, file sharing, and the whole darn world can fit in your back pocket, it’s hard to justify not adopting technology.
With insurtech, the question isn’t “why?” it’s “why not?”
The ePayPolicy team is so passionate about insurtech and the positive impact it has on the insurance industry, that we’ve launched our first annual ePayPolicy InsurTech Award. The award aims to recognize the insurance agency that has best adopted and leveraged technology to grow its sales, marketing, and customer service in 2018.
The winning agency will receive $7,500 in prizes, including a $1,000 cash prize, complimentary consulting time with insurance experts Mike Stromsoe and Chris Paradiso, a free two-year subscription to our industry-leading payment processor, and much more.
Additionally, each applicant will receive an Insurance Technology Adoption Score (ITA Score), a high-level score of an agency’s adoption of tech. Applications are free to submit, open to all agencies in the United States, and not exclusive to ePayPolicy customers.