New survey explores strategic priorities around digital payment and personalization

By Elisa Logan, Vice President of Marketing, VPay, which is now part of Optum Financial

There’s a lot of talk in the insurance industry about digitization and personalization. And for good reason: A Salesforce Research survey found that 88% of customers expect companies to accelerate digital initiatives in the wake of the pandemic, and an Epsilon survey found  80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a company if it offers a personalized experience.

In terms of digital payment, it seems that insurers understand the urgency. A recent survey—commissioned by VPay and conducted by Arizent Research—of 100 insurance executives and managers found that nearly all had adopted some form of digital payment. Yet, those same companies still processed 50% of B2C and B2B payments on paper.

The reality is that today’s property and casualty insurers face a multitude of challenges implementing forward-thinking, consumer-centric digital claim payment processes. Some of these include multi-department coordination, security and integrating digital platforms with legacy systems. Consequently, strategies are often characterized by a piecemeal approach to digital payment technologies, which often produces headaches down the road.

According to the VPay/Arizent Research survey, the top benefits insurers cited with expanding digital payment processes include: 1) reduced management costs (47%); 2) better customer experiences (45%); 3) reduced claim handling times (43%); and improved customer self-service functionality (43%). With these benefits in mind, it only makes sense that insurers take the right steps to realize a higher percentage of digital payment fulfillment.

The survey also found that insurers overwhelmingly believe that digitally driven factors like customizing payment type, speed of payment and ease of use are key when it comes to customer satisfaction with claims. Further, 81% said that personalization is a critical or very important component of their overall digital strategy.

To ensure policyholder satisfaction and operational efficiency, insurers must be prepared to embrace a holistic digital payment strategy. This requires a solution that brings together a full suite of digital payment offerings—from automated clearing house to push-to-debit and virtual cards—to deliver flexible options for both B2C and B2B payments, allowing customization based on comfort level and desire for speed and convenience.

As insurers speed digital claim process strategies, many are finding that the business case for outsourcing digital payment is an easy one to make, according to a recent Celent report. Findings suggested that many groups were pushing out non-strategic activities, such as payment, to third parties, as they lacked the infrastructure and expertise to implement and oversee a holistic strategy.

Insurers that lay the groundwork to align their priorities with a well-thought-out digital payment strategy will have a better chance of extracting the most return on investment from the outset. Meanwhile, those that don’t could find themselves shopping for new technology or overhauling back-end systems to try and stay relevant.  


Elisa Logan is Vice President of Marketing at VPay which is now a part of Optum Financial. She brings more than 25 years of B2B strategy and marketing experience to her role and has worked as a senior executive with a variety of Fortune 100 technology leaders and start-ups in healthcare and technology.