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CUNA Mutual: Winner of the 2021 Bronze Alexander Hamilton Award in Technology Excellence

For more than 75 years, Madison, Wisconsin–based CUNA Mutual has provided insurance and lending solutions to credit unions and their members. When the company introduced pet insurance in 2018, the goal of the new product offering was to simplify life for pet owners. Affordable monthly premium payments would make pet medical care much easier to fund than the traditional approach of paying for each large and unexpected veterinarian bill out of pocket.

Unfortunately, the pet insurance pilot project revealed barriers to consumer participation. The new business unit had selected a third-party financial technology payment processor to manage customers’ automated premium payments. The service was expensive. Worse, it utilized a cumbersome microdeposit process to validate customer accounts. When consumers signed up for pet insurance online, they had to return later to the CUNA Mutual website to confirm their bank account information.

“We built mechanisms to encourage customers to confirm their microdeposits and resolve their account-verification issues,” says Travis Ellis, treasury consultant in CUNA Mutual’s treasury department. “However, the process was still confusing and problematic, even with our best efforts at automation and explanations. For a pet insurance customer signing up to pay a $15 per month premium, having to enter a microdeposit to validate that transaction does not make business sense, nor does it follow our standard process.”

Meg Waters

Meg Waters is the editor in chief of Treasury & Risk. She is the former editor in chief of BPM Magazine and the former managing editor of Business Finance.

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