CLIENT PROFILE: STRATEGIC INSURANCE SERVICES, DENVER COLORADO, BASED ON INTERVIEW WITH STEPHANIE BENINATI
Strategic Insurance Services (SIS) is a woman-owned agency specializing in industry-specific insurance and hard to place risk. Based in Denver, SIS is licensed in 18 states.
Broker/owner Stephanie Beninati says she’s been trying to implement processes and technology “from day one.” But finding solutions for SIS hasn’t been easy. “We do construction and excess and surplus lines. We don’t write with the big carriers, where you can type in a few things and get a quote. Our policies don’t download into our system.” She adds: “Where other agents may talk to a client once a year, I’m on the phone all the time. Our clients constantly have urgent needs (e.g., subcontractor certificates). We love it—but it’s time-intensive. ”
Stephanie’s a big fan of third-party vendors. She’s always on the lookout for partners who can automate business functions and make things easier for her clients. Two years ago, she switched her agency management to EZLynx.
Credit card payments
Next up on her list: a system to process credit card payments. Initially, she signed up with a credit card company. But they charged a hefty percentage per transaction. She knew there had to be a better way. She asked and asked. Finally, at a PIIAC event, she picked up an ePayPolicy brochure. And there was her answer: a digital payment portal designed exclusively for the insurance industry.
Stephanie describes ePayPolicy in two words: so easy. “I just called them up. It took five minutes. It was so easy to set it up. I did the 10-minute intro training and haven’t had to call them since.”
“ePayPolicy “literally changed my life”
She mentions again that she outsources as much as possible. “I hired a guy to handle our AP/AR who was willing to learn our EZLynx and ePayPolicy. Ever since:
- People have an easy way to pay
- Everything gets paid on time
- We no longer have to chase people down for money. We just give them the payment link and they can pay on the spot.
- I don’t ever have to look at money!”
Advice on technology
“As a society, we are moving faster and faster, and you have to adapt. You have to be smarter and quicker than others to survive. Technology is the revolution.”
Of her highly specialized work, Stephanie says, “I can train people on the business, but they have to have that fire in their belly, that “how do I make it better?” attitude. I look for people with tech backgrounds, or the willingness to learn new technologies—just like I’ve done myself.”
She’s so committed to speed, ease, and efficiency that she even switched SIS over to Macs and said goodbye to her PCs. Her employees were fully comfortable in just a few days. Like ePayPolicy, she describes Mac and the iOS operating system as “so easy.”
Advice on using ePayPolicy
ePayPolicy took a problem most insurance agencies didn’t yet see as a problem. And they engineered digital payment technology that’s easy to implement and use.
Stephanie says: “There is no reason in this day and age not to offer credit card and ACH payment.”
Her reasoning: “Taking money should be the easiest thing we do. Once we sell the product, if we can’t get paid for it, our cash flow suffers. Writing a big check makes you feel bad. No wonder clients drag that payment out. Digital payment is instant. When clients can pay quickly, they do. And they feel good.”
Plus, “It makes you look like a larger agency.”
Did you know that PIIAC members get two months free of ePayPolicy when signing up? Use referral code “PIIACagent” at signup.epaypolicy.com.