How do you support financial inclusion, providing access to services for people who have historically been excluded, while protecting those consumers from unscrupulous actors and protecting the insurance industry against fraud and maladministration?
One of the biggest pain points for the insurance industry is missed payments and unallocated payments, both of which have the potentially devastating impact of compromising the customer’s insurance coverage. Add to that the challenge of creating equitable access for a large number of unbanked, or underbanked customers, many of whom either do not have access to digital payment platforms and channels, or who, for a variety of reasons, prefer to pay their premiums in person, frequently using cash.
So, how do you assist insurance companies in facilitating secure, timely payments while including the unbanked and underbanked consumer in a way that is frictionless, maintains consumer safeguards and that is cost-effective for the policyholder? These were the questions that payment aggregator Pay@ grappled with as it sought to provide intelligent payment solutions for the insurance industry.
They entered the insurance payments market because it spotted a gap in the market – helping insurers guard against unallocated payments while providing consumers with trust and peace of mind that their payments are being received by the insurer as intended, even when paying in a place of convenience.
Protecting customers with easy-to-use solutions
Regrettably, the insurance industry has suffered reputational damage caused by unscrupulous actors who accepted payments from customers, provided a manual, handwritten receipt, and yet failed to register those payments against the relevant policy. Instances like this cause policies to lapse, so that when a policyholder registers a claim, they’re told that their cover has lapsed, even though they may have made a payment in good faith. As a result, the industry is now highly regulated to ensure that customers are treated fairly and receive the cover they are paying for.
This means that payments must be tracked from the customer to the insurer, timeously and efficiently. Their solutions provide a range of trustworthy payment options, so that no matter whether the person is paying using cash to an agent, at popular retailers such as PEP, Spar, Shoprite or Boxer stores, or using a digital platform to make their payment, they can rest assured that the payment is received swiftly by the insurer. Having a wide reach and a massive range of places that accept payments helps customers minimise their non-price costs too – those costs such as missing work to travel to a place that can accept payments. Being able to pay at a retail store the customer would usually visit contributes to minimising those non-price costs and makes it easier and more convenient.
Helping insurers provide secure, reliable payment options
Pay@ is increasingly in demand among insurance companies to provide a safer and more convenient payment experience for their customers. The payment solution POS offer tangible benefits to billers, particularly small businesses such as funeral parlours, who can enable in-person payments, but no longer have to rely on manual recording of transactions and can reduce the risk of on-site theft through a daily bulk deposit that both reduces the cost of cash handling and provides a single reconciliation for the insurer. Pay@ POS provides an instant payment confirmation and reconciliation for the agent, with the customer immediately receiving an SMS or Whatsapp message from the insurer confirming the payment.
This is also beneficial to insurers who have agents in the field, for example, an agent who visits a farm to collect premium payments from the farm workers. The farm workers can present their Pay@ number to the agent, be validated in real-time with the insurer, and have their payment processed and receive a printed receipt in one simple transaction, while Pay@ enables the agent to accept micro-payments. The agent then simply makes one bulk deposit per day and the insurer receives a single reconciliation, which dramatically cuts down unallocated payments.
Insurance providers benefit from the advantages of a centralised platform that offers convenience and security, with multiple channels to reach their clients and the decreased chance of any fraud occurring within the payment process, while the customer has the security of knowing that they are dealing with a regulated entity.
Digital payment options are increasingly popular
Digital payment options such as SMS short codes and QR codes to scan are also booming in popularity as more and more people with access to smartphones look to manage their insurance premium payments. The advantage for insurers is that easily accessible links shared via smartphone and digital platforms provides multiple frictionless payment options for their customers while streamlining their payment management. Insurers can issue a secure link to pay via an SMS or WhatsApp message, and customers get a seamless payment experience.
“Pay@ provides customers with the flexibility to pay their insurance premium at a funeral parlour, at one of our many retail partners, via their banking app or an easy-to-use payment process on their smartphone. This ensures that their payment is received timeously by the right insurer, and their cover is secured, while negating the chances of an unallocated or misallocated payment for the insurer,” says Barry Williams, Head of Sales & Strategic Retail Relations, Pay@.