Michigan-based Universal Fire & Casualty Insurance Co. has started accepting cryptocurrency for premium payments.
The company, which insures small businesses and offers surety bonds products, says the move is to increase its competitive market position as part of a broader innovation plan.
UFCIC said it is accepting a variety of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin, for premium payments for direct online license and permit bonds and other surety bond products. The company claims its payment process is seamless through its portal with the monetary exchange handled by UFCIC’s payment processor.
“Early in the development of UFCIC’s innovation plan it became evident that the use of crypto for mainstream customer insurance transactions was not a matter of if, but when,” John Lucker, the company’s chief strategy and analytics officer, said. “When we implemented our new direct online surety bond portal, cryptocurrency was a way to provide our customers with a broader and flexible array of convenient payment options that the marketplace is demanding.”
UFCIC CEO Chris Tim (father of Root CEO Alex Timm), said that cryptocurrency is part of a larger push to diversify and become a multiline insurer,
“UFCIC is uniquely propelling itself forward as a multi-line, multi-product insurer by embracing innovative technologies, highly-responsive distribution options and customer service portals, unique product positioning, and advanced analytics leveraging predictive models, artificial intelligence and Big Data resources,” Timm said.
The insurer isn’t the only insurance company letting customers use Bitcoin to buy insurance. In May, pay-per-mile auto insurer Metromile announced that it would let customers use bitcoins to buy insurance or receive payments for claims, starting later this year.
While demand is increasing, many financial firms still see cryptocurrency as risky and few insurers are willing to underwrite the risks.
The payments firm PayPal and a number of major retailers including Microsoft, Home Depot, Starbucks and Whole Foods accept Bitcoin. Fans of the sports teams Dallas Mavericks and Miami Dolphins can use bitcoin to purchase tickets and concessions, according to BuyBitcoin. Tesla had been accepting Bitcoin for car purchases but stopped, promising to resume when cryptocurrency miners reach 50% clean energy usage.
Source: Universal Fire & Casualty Insurance Co.
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