Insurance always has to be different. If you are in the business, you know what I mean.
How do you handle a premium refund if the premium was paid to your agency with a credit card?
What the Card Rules Say
Under the Rules, any payment accepted as a card payment must be refunded through a credit to the cardholders credit card account.
To protect you from refunding the money twice!
How Does A Double Refund Happen
Since the cardholder can always dispute and reverse the card payment they made to pay the premium originally, the cardholder can, in effect, get a refund without ever asking you about a refund.
The cardholder disputes the charges and the card company automatically credits the amount of the payment back to the cardholder and takes the payment amount out of your bank account. (Yes, you agreed to this when you signed your Merchant Agreement.)
NOTE:Disputes are rare for insurance premium payments.
If you make a refund that is not through a credit back to the cardholders card account, the credit card company has no record of any of this refund. Since they do not know you have done this, their software will allow your customer to dispute the charge and automatically provide a refund credit.
How Can You Prevent This
If you have refunded this payment through the card network, the card company will see that reversal and will not allow a dispute of the charge since the cardholder has clearly already received a refund.
Simply Easier Payment's Refund Feature
Your Simply Easier Payments account lets you void a full payment or do a partial refund.
Your do this from the Report function. Check out our help section or call and ask us how if you need help in learning how.
There are times as an insurance agent when you need your customer to sign a form in addition to making a payment.
The ACORD 37 Statement of No Losses comes to mind immediately.
We have just added a feature to our invoicing system that allows you to add a form with a certified electronic signature on the form to your invoice.
When your customer clicks the link for the invoice the required, pre-filled form opens with the e-signature field prominently displayed telling your customer they need to sign the document before they can make the payment.
If they do not sign the document the payment screen is not accessible.
Once they do sign the document, the payment screen automatically appears.
Two Tasks with One Invoice
This new feature saves you time because you only need to send one email.
It saves your insured time because they only need to respond to one email.
It saves you both the issue of only getting one or the other task done.
In a seven or eight states there are no insurance specific laws or general business laws which prohibit an insurance agency from charging a convenience fee to their customers who pay by credit card or debit card.
In these states, insurance agents, like any other business, can charge convenience fees or surcharges. These two things - "convenience fees" and "surcharges" - are defined as different things by Visa. Today I will cover convenience fees. In my next post I will cover surcharges.
What an Agency Was Doing
Recently an agent mentioned they were charging a 3% convenience fee on card payments. They were not charging the fee on all lines of business.
2 Violations of Visa Rules
This situation creates the following violations of Visa Rules:
1 - Visa requires a flat dollar fee to be charged for all convenience fees regardless of the payment size
2 - Visa requires that all card payments be charged a fee or that no card payments be charged a fee.
My wife and I recently bought a Chevrolet Bolt. Our first electric car.
We bought the Bolt because it has great range - 250 miles on a full charge - and because it is priced in the range of most cars. After the Federal tax credit it cost us less than $30,000.
Before owning this car I was of a mind that local charging stations would start popping up the way local gas stations have. After all I see them in all the public parking decks in town. I was told by the car salesman that the Sheets gas stations are all putting in charging stations.
I even downloaded the ChargePoint and EVGo apps to be able to find charging stations.
After owning the car for a month I have radically changed my thinking.
Local EV Charging Stations Will Never be Like Gas Stations
We drive the Bolt 25 to 75 miles a day. We plug it in at home and get a full charge each night.
We will never have a need for a local charging station the way we do for a local gas station.
With our old timey internal combustion engine cars we buy gas only from gas stations. We do not have the option of filling up at home. I know farmers and a few others have their own gas pumps, but most people do not.
Everyone can "fill up" their electric vehicle at home because everyone has electricity at home.
Change Happens Over Time, But It Still Happens
I know I am an early adopter. I know the move away from most cars being gas powered cars is a decade or more away. But that change is coming.
The future is always farther than the past. However, the future is where we are going.
What will be the downstream effects of people not needing to go to the local gas station to buy gas?