Travel near Medford, WI and you’ll see wide vistas of fields, forests, lakes and the Little
Black River. It’s a rural area, dotted with farms, homes, and businesses that are often
more than five miles from the nearest fire department.
In this scattered landscape, convenience and creativity are critical when it comes to
insurance. Little Black Mutual knows this and strives to make it easy for the region’s
populace to do business with them.
But a few years ago, Little Black’s payment process was anything but easy. Premiums were accepted in check or cash form only, which could be inconvenient for policyholders and required customers to have sufficient cash every period. It was difficult for Little Black’s agents to accept and process these payments on behalf of customers, and the company’s daily task of handling physical funds was very labor intensive.
To make it easier to do business, Little Black decided to improve their payment process.
An Easier Way to Pay
Little Black knew that customers wanted an easier way to pay than writing and mailing checks.They also recognized that accepting payments by credit card could be a retention tool, by allowing customers to avoid policy lapses when cash was short.To enhance their payment options, they turned to IMT Computer Services insurance software along with ReliaFund payment services.
With this integrated platform, Little Black began to allow premium payments by bank or credit card and to accept one-time payments and scheduled bank debits. One-time payments could be made on the Little Black website.The company found that one-time payments are especially helpful for policyholders who normally pay by check but who need a different, more convenient method when on vacation.
Scheduled monthly payments are initiated by the IMT Computer Services software, and processed by ReliaFund as ACH transactions. ReliaFund also processes the web, bank and credit-card payments. Once cleared, ReliaFund deposits these funds in Little Black’s bank account, and provides online reporting to track and balance the entire process.
To ease end-of-month cash balancing, Little Black does a daily balance of the credit card and checking account payments, using ReliaFund’s online reports. Besides staying on top of their cash flow, this daily activity allows them to catch duplicates and errors earlier.This, in turn, helps them serve customers by keeping double charges or wrong amounts from throwing off their customers’ accounts.
Results and Benefits
Little Black’s president, Tony Wilke, says that the payment enhancements enabled by IMT Computer Services and ReliaFund have resulted in fewer late payments, plus a more even cash flow from monthly premiums.“Customers and agents appreciate the flexibility and ease of paying premiums now, and have provided very positive feedback on the process,” said Mr. Wilke.
“The system is easier for me, too,” he said.“I use the ReliaFund web-based dashboard frequently to keep informed and catch our occasional errors.”
“Overall, the easy credit card and bank sweep functions help us serve our customers better at a very cost-effective price.”
“Customers and agents appreciate the flexibility and ease of paying premiums now.”
Little Black Mutual Insurance Co.
PAYMENT SERVICES USED
“Easy credit card and bank sweep functions help us serve our customers better at a very cost effective price.”
Tony Wilke, President
Little Black Mutual Insurance Co.