Implementing digital payments solutions at your independent agency can help meet your clients' expectations, save time for agency staff and provide security for agency owners.
Traditionally, the insurance industry has been slow to adopt new capabilities, but this changed during the coronavirus pandemic. Independent agencies are transforming their technology roadmaps through optimized processes and enhanced communication capabilities to meet the needs of consumers and agents.
A focal point in the industry is the digital payments process. Payments are the most frequent interaction between agents and insureds and can also be the most impactful. Digitizing this significant touchpoint offers a valuable opportunity for an agency's business strategy. Specifically, implementing digital payments solutions can help meet expectations, save time for agency staff and provide security for agency owners.
1) Meet expectations. Customer expectations are changing. Big players like Amazon and Google have set the standard for service expectations and have created efficiency, openness and trust with the use of digital applications, especially for digital payments. Eighty-two percent of consumer respondents said they are currently using contactless payment methods, according to a 2020 Mastercard study, pointing to the fact that customers expect fast, convenient and easily accessible payment options.
Adopting and prioritizing digital insurance payments for an agency creates an environment of ease for customer payments through quality service options, such as flexible payment methods, ease of access to accounts, pre-populated fields and direct payment links sent by text to customers. Opening this digital faucet provides the efficiency that customers desire in their day-to-day lives.
2) Save time. Cloud-based digital payment solutions enable agents to provide clients with the flexibility to pay premiums digitally and streamline the payments process. This digital solution can also automatically handle payment authorization, reducing manual effort and improving the accuracy and timeliness of payments.
By investing in a digital payment solution, agents will no longer have to chase down payments over the phone or wait for checks in the mail, leaving more time to focus on fostering client relationships and increasing their client base.
3) Business security. Incorporating digital payments into your business also means collecting and managing large amounts of sensitive customer data. If this data is not secured properly, it can result in cybersecurity issues that could potentially destroy an agency's reputation and customer loyalty and trust.
Investing in a fully digital solution eliminates the human component and ensures all the data is kept protected throughout the entire transaction process. As the need for security increases, using a solution that keeps your data safe and reduces errors & omissions exposure is a necessity.
Adopting digital payments is a simple solution with far-reaching effects on all stakeholders. It provides your clients with a modern payment solution and eliminates the time-consuming manual payment processes, leaving your team to focus on offering the best customer service. It also provides the agency owner with the security of knowing that client data is safe while reducing E&O risk. Prioritizing a digital payments solution for one's business is a smart investment that will prove its worth for many years to come.
Allan Lacoste is chief payments officer at Applied Systems.