Modern business has always evolved around one specific material: paper. And the insurance industry was no exception to this rule. Money is made of paper, first of all. Paper was the surface on which important documents were forged and signed. Paper was also what made up the checks that insureds received in the mail when it was time for any given insurance company to make good on a policy promise.
That being said, the modern world is constantly evolving to keep up with its lofty title and, as technology advances, so has business as a whole. Computers have taken the place of typewriters which took the place of pen and paper a hundred years ago. E-mail has largely taken the place of what is now called “snail mail” and we text each other (even in the realm of business!) instead of calling or sending a telegraph they way people did not too long ago.
Yet another way that companies are evolving is by going completely paperless. This is just what it sounds like. Video laced marketing communications pop up in e-mail inboxes instead of the 3-fold pamphlet that used to arrive in your mailbox, and invoices, customer service assistance, and actual bill payment are mostly carried out online these days.
However, this idea of paperlessness doesn’t stop there. Rather, it extends even further–into customer payout. Property Casualty 360 describes the merits of the idea of issuing pre-paid debit cards to insureds awaiting insurance company payment as such: “Contents replacement is a retail activity for insureds. You get your payment and it is time to go shopping to replace what you have lost. Most consumers today are accustomed to using debit cards. Unlike paper checks, pre-paid debit cards provide a record of every purchase and the insured’s balance, so the contents replacement process can be easily tracked and monitored by the cardholders from first to final purchase.”
This industry development isn’t just a boon for customers who prefer plastic over paper when it comes to spending, though. It saves money that would be spent on printing and mailing checks–never mind reissuing them when developments in a claim occur. And, just as is the case for the debit card-holding insured, it’s much easier to track the purchases and spending progress via the insureds’ electronic financial records than it would be to deposit a check, wait for it to clear, and then take money out of an ATM. Claims adjusters even have the ability to bring a stack of fresh debit cards when meeting with insureds so that said cards may be swept and activated instantly on an individual basis.
All in all, the world is always changing and, often, improving upon itself. The idea of pre-paid debit cards funding insurance payments seems undeniably convenient and easy when given the choice between this and waiting for a check to arrive for what always seems like too long, no matter how dire the circumstances actually are.
The verdict? Paperless gets two thumbs up.