Seamless digital payments: ePayPolicy & Alpha Direct Agency podcast recap

The Insurance Perspectives Podcast involves contributors outside of HawkSoft. The participants' views are entirely their own and may not reflect the views of HawkSoft.


This recap of the Insurance Perspectives Podcast summarizes highlights of the two episodes about HawkSoft partner ePayPolicy, where HawkSoft host Kenny Hendricks interviews Zac Franz, Manager of Strategic Partnerships at ePayPolicy, and Emmanuel Osuyah of Alpha Direct Agency, which uses the ePayPolicy payment solution. 

Zac and Emmanuel discuss how ePayPolicy helps Alpha Direct Agency streamline their payment processing and reconciliation, which saves time and manual data entry and provides peace of mind for the agency.



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In this article:



Part 1: ePayPolicy (Zac Franz)

Watch the video podcast - Part 1


Question 1: Why does ePayPolicy exist? What is your reason for participating in the independent agency channel?

  • Zac Franz explains that in a nutshell, ePayPolicy does everything related to accounts receivable and accounts payable, solely for customers in the insurance space. This includes accepting payments, sending funds, and reconciling collected payments.

  • He shares that ePayPolicy started 10 years ago as one of the very first payment providers that was specific to the insurance space.

  • ePayPolicy’s founders, Todd Sorrel and Milan Malkani decided to go into business together because Todd owned a premium finance company and had experience in the insurance industry, and Milan was a developer looking for a product idea.

  • Todd and Milan began by developing a payment tool for Todd’s company in Austin, and in the process saw how the product could be scaled for wider use in the insurance space.

  • ePayPolicy began by catering to independent agencies, and over time has also refined their product for use with other players in the industry like wholesalers and brokers, premium finance companies, and even carriers.

  • Kenny Hendricks points out how rare it is for a payment company to come from within the independent agency channel, instead of outside it.

“We've been solely in the insurance space for 10 years. We have about 7,000 customers now, and they've been pointing us in the right direction all those years. Getting hyper-focused on the insurance space has allowed us to make the lives of our customers simpler.”



Question 2: If you had to pick one aspect of ePayPolicy that draws in and keeps agencies working with you, what would that be and why?

  • Zac points out that ePayPolicy has a 98% retention rating, similar to HawkSoft, and credits it to the exceptional service the company provides to its customers.

  • Emmanuel agrees that he’s been happy as a customer of ePayPolicy and has not considered moving to a different payment provider since moving to them.

“When our clients talk about HawkSoft, they use a certain word that you don't really hear a lot in the management system space or the payments space: love. They say that they love working with you, talking to you guys, interacting with the employees. And we feel that same sentiment from our customers here at ePay. We've got a 98% retention rating. So when folks sign up with us, we treat them right and we do our jobs well.”



Question 3: How does ePayPolicy approach data ownership with regards to your customers?

  • Zac makes it clear that ePayPolicy customers own their data, and that they can export all their payment data at any time, without charge.

  • He points out that companies that allow their customers to own and move their own data are showing customers they’re confident that they can keep them as customers without resorting to holding their data hostage.

  • He mentions that ePayPolicy is leveraging their work with agencies and premium finance, carriers, and MGAs to move into a new space regarding the reconciliation of accepted payments and payables.

  • ePayPolicy is able to provide data from these different segments to help agencies see data points around policy lifecycle management. He stresses that this is done solely to help agencies make better business decisions and would never be an additional cost.

“It says a lot about companies that say, it's your data, you can take it because we know that we're going to treat those customers right. We're not going to give them any reasons to leave. And if they need that data, you can download every piece of payments data that we have right from your dashboard. We wouldn’t even think about charging somebody for that kind of stuff.”



Question 4: What is the hardest part of working with insurance agencies?

  • Zac admits that the insurance industry is behind the technology curve, and often customers are resistant to changing their business practices, because it’s hard for them to conceptualizes how much better a new solution could be.

  • Emmanuel agrees that this can be a problem in the industry, although his own agency was an early adopter of digital payments. He observes that even if the agency wants to make a change in how they accept payments, the customer may not want to change the way they pay

“There's the ‘if it ain't broke, don't fix it’ mentality that I've noticed. Trying to convince somebody that's taken checks for 30 or 40 years that you don't have to do that is hard. You can take ACH online, it's going to get to you faster, it's more secure, it's going to be cheaper. And you can also offer credit cards in case anybody wants to do that.”



Question 5: What is the best part of working with insurance agencies?

  • Zac shares that he loves the passion that independent agents have for what they do, which is taking care of people. He appreciates how eager agents are to learn, share ideas, and improve.

  • Kenny agrees that insurance agents are some of the hardest working people he knows, with the biggest hearts. They go far beyond simply filing paperwork and really look out for their clients during difficult times.

“The agent’s job is taking care of people, and they take that to heart. People call on them in some of their darkest days, and the ability to provide that service in a quick and professional manner, along with a compassionate manner, is huge for people in a time where there's a lot of uncertainty and they can be scared.”



Question 6: How does ePayPolicy work with the HawkSoft management system? 

  • Zac mentions some of the points discussed earlier around how ePayPolicy is moving more into the data space to provide agents with more insights.

  • He talks about how HawkLink can be used with ePayPolicy to automatically flood data from HawkSoft into ePayPolicy.

  • Agents can also create a shortcut button to the ePayPolicy website in HawkSoft, and add payment links to the invoices they send out.

“You can add the ePay link on the HawkSoft invoice templates so that when you send an invoice out, it says you can now pay online. You give them a one-click option for getting to your payment page. So there's a lot of great ways that we work together [with HawkSoft] now.”




Part 2: Alpha Direct Agency (Emmanuel Osuyah)


Watch the video podcast - Part 2


In this episode:


Question 1: Tell us about your agency. How long have you been in the business, and how did you get into the business? Do you have any specializations? What gets you excited about insurance?

  • Emmanuel Osuyah is the principal at Alpha Direct Agency, which has offices in New York, North Carolina, and Florida and writes business in 18 states.

  • Emmanuel has also authored three books on marriage, finding the zest for life, and leadership, and recently launched The Recode Podcast, which is focused on leadership.

  • Emmanuel grew up inspired by his father, who was a businessman. Emmanuel had a goal to own his own business by the time he turned 30. After having negative experiences as an employee at a bank, he started his agency with a vision of creating an uplifting and tight-knit environment for his employees.

  • He mentions that it’s the agency’s 10th anniversary and the thing he’s most proud of is the great working environment he’s fostered for his employees, which has garnered recognition for the agency.

  • Alpha Direct Agency currently has 14 employees, and Emmanuel discusses the process of scaling his staff for the workload to avoid burnout and preserve work/life balance, which he feels passionately about.

  • Alpha Direct Agency specializes in the commercial space, with a niche in food-related businesses including truckers, supermarkets, and restaurants.

  • Emmanuel shares that the thing that gets him most excited about insurance is the people. He discusses with Kenny and Zac how insurance is able to connect people from all walks of life.

“I vowed that I would never treat my employees the way I was treated in the corporate America space. So enter our agency. We exist to create an environment where our employees feel challenged and inspired to be more. What is being born out of that effort is an environment where we feel like we have a connected family.”



Question 2: What was your agency looking for when you first encountered ePayPolicy?

  • Emmanuel shares that he was looking for a better payment provider, as the process of calculating the percentage payment of fees and doing reconciliation was cumbersome and time-consuming for his agency. After trying several providers, he found ePayPolicy, which offered the all-in-one solution he was looking for.

  • He appreciates having one solution for reconciling credit card and check transactions, not needing to deal with the merchant service fees, and being able to get things reconciled far more quickly.

  • Zac observes that Emmanuel’s previous providers likely weren’t specific to the insurance space, and subsequently didn’t have a good idea of the actual needs of independent agencies. He notes that ePay is continually innovating and adding new features based on suggestions from customers.

“The month after I signed up with ePay, I could knock reconciliation out in an hour and a half, instead of a month and a half. I didn't need two separate logins to reconcile credit cards and to reconcile checks. I didn't need to memorize two sets of payments in fees a month. It was just all in one spot.”



Question 3: What is your agency able to do now with ePayPolicy that you couldn't do before?

  • Emmanuel likes that his entire leadership team has access to the system so they can process refunds or other items that previously only he could accomplish.

  • He likes being able to include the payment link within the HawkSoft invoice, so clients can immediately make the payment upon receiving the invoice.

  • He mentions the capability to embed ePayPolicy right into the agency’s website, which allows customers to easily make payments from the website, as well as employees accepting payments from customers. Customers can also set up autopay for recurring payments.

  • He also appreciates how customizable the software is, so the agency can set things up in the way that works best for them.

  • He observes that ePayPolicy is constantly innovating to stay ahead of the game, rather than simply meeting the current needs of their customers.

“Sending a customer a link that's embedded in our HawkSoft receipt, or just creating an invoice online, that's fantastic. It's a game changer. You can walk out of the office and send a link to a client and by the time you get home, you’re being paid for the policy.”



Question 4: What is one thing that you would change about ePayPolicy if you could?

  • Emmanuel mentions that something he’d like to see in the future is the ability to automatically record the payment back into HawkSoft once complete.

  • Zac and Kenny mention that two-way integration is already something that the two companies are working on for the future.

  • Emmanuel says he wouldn’t change anything about ePayPolicy’s current system, but is glad to see that ePayPolicy is constantly improving the platform, and mentions that he recommends it to any agency that isn’t using it today.

  • Emmanuel has used six different AMS platforms before HawkSoft, and shares that he appreciates how well HawkSoft integrates with other systems. He knows that any platform that’s an API partner with HawkSoft will work well with the other pieces of his tech stack.

“They [ePayPolicy] constantly iterate. They're constantly designing the product to meet us or stay ahead of our needs. I still recommend it to everybody. If I know any agent who's not using it, I'm like, what are you waiting for?”



Question 5: How would you describe the value that ePayPolicy brings to your agency?

  • Emmanuel says the value lies in the peace of mind he has with never having to worry or even think about payments, because everything runs so smoothly with ePayPolicy.

  • He mentions that with a previous provider he would have outages or hit limits, which would require him to contact the support team frequently, but ePayPolicy proactively reached out to him if any issues came up so they could help him resolve them.

  • Emmanuel discusses with Zac the potential in future to get multiple reminder emails for his staff on payments that happen outside of business hours, so they don’t get lost in the inbox by the time his staff logs in the next day.

  • Kenny mentions the potential of automating reminders in HawkSoft in the future as well.


“I think the peace of mind that it gives me that I don't have to worry about, how do I get the software to work, or there is a glitch? The value is really priceless, that peace of mind of not having to worry about a payment processor.”





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HawkSoft Marketing Editorial Team

Author: HawkSoft Marketing Editorial Team

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