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Streamlining the Carrier Payment Process

Profiles in Partnership: Broker/Vendor Success Stories 

Lisa Nicol-Kerr, 

Chief Information Officer, 

Nicol Insurance Inc.

Back in 2011, I was asked to participate in ORBiT Canada’s working group on “payments”. I have always been extremely interested in the area of broker/carrier interface and assisting the broker community with ways of streamlining and finding efficiencies. The payments to insurance companies are one area that had been sadly neglected, in my opinion.


Within our ORBIT working group, one of our first steps was to put to paper what we envisioned as our “ideal” workflow. We did so, without regard to technology limitations. We came up with what we felt was a perfect workflow. That workflow reduced steps, in the case of Direct bill payments, from 10 down to 4. In the case of Agency bill, it went from 7 to 3 steps.


We worked out the “cost” associated with existing workflows. Not only from a tangible standpoint, the physical cost of a cheque and courier costs, but also the cost involved in staffing and time. We estimated a $20 cost for each cheque we write (not to mention the costs when a cheque goes “missing”).


In 2016 we started to see this vision actually materializing! I was gratified to find ClearPay was interested in working with us to implement the solution. They listened to our ideas and delivered to us something that would assist with linking banking between us and the insurance companies.


Our new workflows allow us to “pay” our account current or do a direct bill cash advance using our BMS. We don’t have to go into the bank’s website and all of our regular “accounting entries” are done as per normal. All necessary reporting is sent to our carriers automatically.


It is early days yet, but the potential benefits look very promising as we scale-up the use of this new process.

I think that this is a great example of stakeholders in the broker world coming together to address a problem area in a way that can provide benefits across the broker community.

John Knotek, 



Both carriers and ORBiT members were instrumental in defining the ideal payment and reporting experience that ClearPay has built. The savings Lisa mentions are real. Members should take a moment and celebrate as the conceptual has become actual with ClearPay.


From the very beginning, ClearPay has been laser-focused on building a once and done payment and reporting process for brokers, using existing workflows and with one way to pay. Everyone recognized that there is too much time being wasted using cheques and manual reporting, causing missing payments and records, which in turn creates unnecessary communication between brokers and carriers.


For principals, this time is a precious resource. It is far better to provide staff with the right tools to do their jobs, not only to save money, but free up valuable time to spend on improving the customer experience – either directly or indirectly. Quite frankly if the back end of the brokerage is not working at optimal levels then the front end experience will reflect that.


The silver lining in what BMS-based payments and reporting brings, is that brokers create a more secure and efficient process for carriers as well. Truly in this case, what is good for the broker is good for the carrier.

The ePayments working group was created in 2011 by several ORBiT Members including Lisa Nicol-Kerr (Nicol Insurance), and John Knotek (ClearPay). 

ORBiT organizes several Working Groups dedicated to building best practice workflows to streamline broker/insurer tasks. Joining a working group is one of the most important contributions an ORBiT member can make. In return, you benefit from being part of a passionate team working to address the key challenges of our industry.