Deal will cut fraud, speed up payments and allow charge back for insurers 

Claims payments disruptor Optal has won a deal to partner Allianz Worldwide Partners UK.

Allianz Worldwide Partners UK provides services to both people and companies including breakdown help, faulty heating assistance and emergency medical help abroad. 

The deal means Allianz will pilot and use Optal to pay suppliers in vehicle breakdown. 

Optal general manager Andy Downes said Optal payment is different to traditional payments methods such as BACS, which can take days to complete the payment. 

With Optal, the supplier such as a garage that has managed an Allianz partners customer’s vehicle, gets a virtual account number - a unique code - which they then use to receive payment over the Mastercard network. 

Downes says using the code means payment can be made very quickly; insurers don’t have to store the supplier’s sort codes and other information that could be hacked thereby reducing the risk of fraud or data theft; and finally, there is a charge back mechanism.

The charge back mechanism means if the supplier provides faulty good or services, then the insurer is able to charge back all or part of the money paid.

An example of this would be if a vehicle has had a spray paint, but it is later found out to be done badly, the insurer can immediately get back some or all of the payment.

Downes said: ”We have spent 18 months going round the insurance world, introducing our new digital payments service.

“A lot of insurance companies feel like banks are the only place they go for innovation in payments. In the B2B world, when it comes to paying suppliers, there’s not been a lot of innovation. The innovation on payments has mainly been done by the likes of Apple Pay. But we are breaking really new ground, and in particular, in insurance.”

He said that claims payments should not be viewed as ’just another cost’.

“We understand the challenges facing businesses today, and are working hard to overturn the long-held belief that B2B claims payments are just another cost to operations. We’ve shown that by taking a new approach, organisations can reduce administrative overheads, lower costs and make payments work for them,” he added.

Helping distressed customers 

Allianz Worldwide Partners UK operations director Rob Lunt said he believed the deal would help customers in distressing times. 

“These challenges can be distressing for end-customers and frustrating for claims suppliers”, he said. “With Optal, we are using a new approach to overcome inefficiencies and streamline our claims payments.

”Reconciliation is automatic and immediate - reducing overheads and eliminating manual errors - and payments can be highly personalised with various parameters to increase security and improve auditability.”