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Payment Processing Case Study

Elmdale Farmers Mutual

A lot has changed since Elmdale Farmers Mutual was founded in 1898. The cost of insurance that year was five cents per hundred dollars of coverage, and the company’s first claim was a whopping $20 for a fire-damaged barn, hay, and harness.

By 2005, the company had grown to serve several thousand policyholders. But along with that growth came a bothersome problem: late payments were increasing, especially for quarterly premiums. Late payments required time-consuming lapse notices and costly certified-receipt cancellation letters. Even when these formal collection efforts were successful, the eventual payment was often delayed by months.

Poor cash flow and spiraling costs meant something had to be done.

A More Timely Payment Process

To help manage growth and reduce payment costs, Elmdale automated their policy management with IMT Apps software.They also selected the services of ReliaFund to process electronic payments and deposit collected funds in the Elmdale bank accounts.

With this foundation in place, Elmdale encouraged habitually late payers to switch to automatic payment withdrawal (using ACH) to reduce the incidence of late payments. They also added one-time web payment and telephone payment options, which are especially helpful in late-payment situations.And in early 2014 the company added one-time credit-card payments as an option as well.

Elmdale now alerts all customers to these electronic payment options. Policyholders can choose automatic payments on a schedule that works best for them, or make payments by phone or on the Elmdale website.

Through the combined payment features of IMT Apps and ReliaFund, Elmdale seamlessly processes credit card and ACH payments and gets a same-day notification on any NSF’s that may occur.

Because the IMT Apps payment process is fully integrated with ReliaFund’s processing services, the entire procedure is seamless and requires little effort by Elmdale employees. Policyholders can make payments directly from their bank account by ACH debit or can pay by credit card.All details of these efficient, on-time payments are easily tracked throughout the process. The ease and precision of electronic payment processing have met customer demands and eliminated any question over when or if a payment was received.

The transition to electronic payments has helped improve cash flow for Elmdale, with fewer late payments. In addition, the company keeps its cash account automatically matched with receipts. Policyholders get better cash flow, too, with payments spread out throughout the year and fewer fees for late payments.

Elmdale has realized other savings as well, including office staff time.Automatic posting to policyholder accounts, easier balancing, less data entry and far fewer lapse notices all add up to time savings for the office staff.

Future Plans

Elmdale is in the same building as their local bank, so manual deposits are relatively easy for them. But converting checks to electronic transactions may hold further savings in their future, and they recognize that check scanning may have even more impact for firms who aren’t co-located with their bank.

All in all, Elmdale is confident that they’ll continue to serve the needs of their customers with IMT Apps and ReliaFund.

QUICK LOOK

Established 1898

3,200 policyholders, 21 agencies

$1.6 billion insurance in force

Annual premiums $2 million

“We love the email notices we get when returns occur.”

Diane Cornell, Banking & Customer Service

Elmdale Farmers Mutual Insurance, Inc.

PAYMENT SERVICES USED

ACH Transaction Processing

Credit Card Processing

“If we have any questions, ReliaFund has been quick to respond and offered great help when we needed it.”

Diane Cornell, Banking & Customer Service

Elmdale Farmers Mutual Insurance, Inc.

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