Automation is Coming… Is Your Agency Ready?

Love it or hate it, automation is the name of the game — and it’s here to stay.

Proponents of automation argue that it reduces human error, cuts down on new-hire spending, and evokes greater efficiency and productivity within organizations. Opponents worry that automation will lead to greater unemployment, as machines and computers replace humans to save money and increase precision.

Skeptics also contend that artificial intelligence (AI), and robots may be intelligent and efficient at the task and responsibilities at hand, but not yet sophisticated enough to handle unexpected situations. They are only programmed to do one or a finite set of actions.

As a tech company, operating in the insurance space (where human connection and relationships have historically dominated the culture), it can sometimes be difficult to get people onboard with the shifting landscape of technology and automation. But emerging tech shouldn’t be a concept to fear.

In popular culture, there are often dramatic depictions of potential negative, disastrous outcomes (think Terminator and Minority Report). However, in reality, AI, automation, and tech infiltrate almost every aspect of our daily lives, whether we realize it or not.

If you take a quick look around, you will notice everyday examples of little things that improve our productivity and personal lives. Look at coffee, for example. Many of us wouldn’t even dare to try and start our day without our usual cup (or three…) of caffeine. A 2017 study on The Motley Fool found that “approximately 150 million Americans drink 400 million cups of coffee per day — or more than 140 billion cups per year.”

Some big-name kitchen appliance companies took note of our country’s little caffeine obsession, threw in some new tech, and presented us with the gift of programmable coffeemakers. Whether you’re strapped for time or just trying to catch some extra Zs, automating your morning cup of Joe to be ready when you’re finally all set to head out the door each morning is a pretty undeniable convenience — and that’s all thanks to automation.

Another hugely convenient everyday helper is the virtual assistant. Let’s face it. Our days are colored with about 11 million little things to remember: to-dos, grocery lists, birthday reminders, dentist appointments, soccer games, that yoga class we keep signing up for; the list goes on.

Not long ago, we might have simply scribbled these things down on a piece of paper. But today, all we have to do is utter one of the following three phrases and instruct our virtual assistants to remember, remind, and re-schedule, for us: “OK, Google; “Alexa;” “Hey, Siri.”

Virtual assistants are engineered into our phones, laptops, tablets, and desktops. Some even come standalone, like Amazon’s Alexa. VAs are quickly growing in sophistication and popularity, with an estimated 35.6 million Americans using a voice-activated assistant device at least one time per month. “Hey, Siri — how many users is that per day?”

Much like VAs, online bill-pay is on the rise as the preferred method of paying bills for Americans. “[O]verall trends are shifting toward online and mobile bill payment,” said David Albertazzi in early 2017. Albertazzi, a Senior Analyst at Aite Group, encourages billers to “provide a frictionless payment process…through automated channels.”

That’s where ePayPolicy comes in…epaypolicy

ePayPolicy is a payment solution endorsed by the IIAT that enables agents and brokers to accept credit card and ACH payments online while passing on transaction fees to the insured.

With paper checks quickly declining, it’s imperative that the insurance industry is taking note of this and adapting to technology in order to continue bringing insureds a positive payment experience. The ePayPolicy processor is compatible across mobile, tablet, laptop, and desktop, making electronic bill-pay simple and efficient.

“ePayPolicy truly takes the headache out of online payments,” says Jason Carter of Brown & Brown Pinellas. “The setup was seamless and our clients love the option of online payment versus overnighting a check.”

With several management system integrations already tied to the company’s name (including Vertafore’s AIM, Sagitta, and FinancePro, as well as MGA Systems and i-Engineering’s ALIS), and many more on the way, ePayPolicy doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.

“The reality is that tech is here to stay,” says Milan Malkani, one of ePayPolicy’s Co-Founders. “Our customers realize that, and they want a solution for a more seamless payment experience, both for themselves as well as their insureds,” says Malkani. “ePayPolicy is that solution.”

Sign up today and start accepting payments in 24 hours (or less).

Getting started only takes five minutes, we promise. Be sure to use referral code “iiatmember” when you sign up!

To learn more about ePayPolicy, go to www.epaypolicy.com, or check out one of their many demo videos.

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