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2 Minute Read

The Check’s Out: Start Your Agency’s Digital Payments Journey Now

Date Published: June 6, 2024

Curtis Reed.

By: Curtis Reed

Products & Services

2 Minute Read

The Check’s Out: Start Your Agency’s Digital Payments Journey Now

Date Published: June 6, 2024

Curtis Reed.

By: Curtis Reed


Paper checks have been the predominant method of paying insurance premiums for decades. However, the insurance industry is experiencing a major shift towards digital payments. One reason is that consumers expect the ease and convenience of paying electronically for any product they buy.

The global pandemic also accelerated this transition. With lockdowns and social distancing measures in place, paper checks were no longer a practical payment option. The insurance industry must adapt and provide digital payment capabilities to continue serving customers where they are, which is online.

There are several compelling reasons why insurance agencies should embrace digital payments:

  • Aligns with consumer preferences. Most policyholders now expect to pay bills and purchase online or via mobile devices. Checks are frustratingly slow and outdated for tech-savvy consumers.

  • Improves operational efficiency. Manual check processing is labor-intensive. Digital payments reduce administrative costs and free up agency staff for higher-value work.

  • Enables remote work arrangements. With staff working from home more frequently, digital payments facilitate premium collection without physical check handling.

  • Reduces errors and speeds up cash flow. Automated digital payments have much lower error rates than manual data entry and depositing of checks. Funds are received faster.

The time has come for insurance agencies to adopt modern, digital payments processes. Yet, not all agents are on board. Let’s explore some of the reasons why.

Resistance to Adopting Digital Payments & How to Overcome It

Implementing any new system comes with valid concerns that need to be addressed. Here are some of the most common concerns agencies have with adopting digital payments, along with perspectives on overcoming them:

  • Fear of Technology: The insurance industry can be slow to adopt new technologies. Some agents who have done business a certain way for many years are apprehensive about digitizing payments. They may be uncomfortable moving away from paper checks and manual processes. Overcoming fears around new tech will be an important part of the change management process.

  • Security Concerns: It's natural to have some hesitation about the security of online payments. However, many digital payments systems actually offer enhanced security features compared to paper checks. Solutions like tokenization, encryption, and fraud monitoring help keep sensitive information safe. Work with your provider to enable the appropriate security settings for your needs.

  • Cost Constraints: Budget limitations at small agencies could make large-scale tech upgrades seem daunting. However, the right digital payments solution shouldn’t require any upfront fees. Automating payments frees up employees to focus on more high-value work. Evaluate the potential ROI – higher productivity and eliminated paper expenses often lead to net cost savings.

  • Perceived Complexity: Digital payments systems are designed to be user-friendly for agencies and clients. With the proper support and training, the learning curve is quite manageable. Many systems offer self-service onboarding, tutorials, and 24/7 customer support to facilitate adoption. Start with pilot groups to test workflows before rolling out more broadly.

  • Billing Challenges: Some agencies rely heavily on premium financing or sell mainly direct bill policies. These billing methods can introduce complications with certain payment systems. The ideal solution will integrate smoothly across billing types to collect and reconcile payments, with many flexible enough to support customized workflows, splitting payments, and rules-based invoicing. With an adaptable platform, these need not pose adoption barriers. Discuss options with your payments provider.

  • Client Adoption: Overcoming client inertia takes education and encouragement. Highlight the convenience, security, and accessibility benefits of digital payments. Offer incentives for early adopters. Provide resources and support to make the transition easy. A bit of nurturing helps shift even reluctant customers.

Steps Your Agency Can Take to Offer Digital Payments

Implementing a new digital payments system requires careful planning and execution. Below are steps you can take to help make the transition smooth and successful for your business:

  • Assess Current Payment System: Conduct an audit of how payments are currently handled – what methods are offered, what works well, and what pain points exist. Look at the entire process, from payment collection to accounting, and identify opportunities to improve efficiency.

  • Choose Digital Payment Solution: Research and select a digital payments solution that aligns with your needs. Important factors include integration with your management system, flexibility of payment options (credit card, ACH, debit card, etc.), and ease of use for staff and clients.

  • Develop a Change Management Plan: Creating a thoughtful change plan is crucial for adoption. Outline how and when you'll communicate the changes, train staff, and support clients. Highlight the new system's benefits.

  • Train and Support Staff: Training staff on the new procedures and systems is critical. Break training down by role – client-facing teams need different knowledge than the accounting team. Have tech support readily available as staff get used to new processes.

  • Phased Rollout: An incremental rollout allows time for adaptation and working out issues. Start with a pilot group, then expand in stages. Gather feedback throughout to improve the process.

  • Continual Monitoring and Improvements: Keep a pulse on how the transition is going. Monitor adoption rates, user feedback, and pain points. Optimize along the way and be ready to adjust course when needed. Change is a process, not a one-time event. Stay nimble.

Now Is the Time to Modernize the Payments Process at Your Agency

Making the switch to digital payments can seem daunting at first, but the long-term benefits for your agency are immense. The time is now to start your journey towards modern, efficient processes that your clients will appreciate.

We encourage you to take the first step by requesting a consultation with our team of experts. We can walk you through best practices, address any concerns, and provide a roadmap tailored to your agency's needs. You won't have to figure this out alone – we're here to guide you every step of the way.

Investing in digital payments sets your agency up for sustainable growth and positions you as an innovative leader. Don't let perceived hurdles hold you back from embracing the future. Reach out today so we can start mapping your transition to seamless digital payments.


Do You Want a Modern Way for Your Customers to Pay?

Simplify and streamline your payment processes with Applied Pay.

  • Curtis Reed.

    Curtis Reed

    Head of Marketing for Applied Pay

    Curtis Reed, Head of Marketing for Applied Pay®, oversees the global marketing initiative for Applied's highly anticipated digital payments solution Applied Pay.

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