I wonder whether the water fountains at some insurance companies are spiked. Certainly, it must be some pretty potent stuff where the employees who came up with this cost saving gimmick work. I mention this because of a story, P&C Insurers Can Pay Claims With Prepaid Visa, N.Y. Rules, in the National Underwriter which noted:

The New York Insurance Department has issued a legal ruling that with certain restrictions a property and casualty insurer can pay claims by issuing prepaid debit cards rather than checks if the claimant agrees.

According to the department, the insurer must make the funds accessible to the claimant within the applicable timeframe for paying settlements; must fully explain all aspects of such a program, including the disclosure of any potential fees to the claimant; make clear that the claimant’s participation in the program is voluntary and that the claimant must opt into the program; and must ensure that the claimant has easy and ready access to the funds.

To be fair, the Visa card is optional. Further, it has apparently worked for workers compensation claims. The article further noted positive findings from the New York Department of Insurance:

The department said the insurer said providing claimants a card offers advantages over payment by check, such as immediate access to funds, savings of cash checking fees, and access to millions of ATMs and Visa merchants, 24-hour toll free bilingual customer support as well as security from theft or loss.

What will they think of next?