Vitesse was established in 2014 to ‘fix the opaque, costly and outdated payments process’ for the insurance industry. Tell us about the journey since then, and how the industry has changed.
Formed by serial entrepreneurs Phil McGriskin and Paul Townsend, Vitesse is challenging the status quo of customer claims payments experience.
In recent years, we’ve seen a shift in the market and payment landscape and listened to both client and consumer demand to support automation through APIs and payment optionality by delivering alternative payment methods to the market. Long gone are the days when a payment taking 5–10 working days to reach the beneficiary account is seen as quick by both businesses and consumers. Consumer demand is changing the landscape and Vitesse are leading the way in the insurance market to ensure we support the best possible payment experience.
We are now the approved payment vendor for the Lloyd’s insurance market, developing the Faster Claim Payment solution; digitalising legacy processes through integrating with market infrastructure and introducing effective and optimised liquidity management.
The company considers itself to be a treasury and payment partner for the insurance industry. How does the process work?
Our treasury and liquidity management platform allows clients to hold liquidity with Vitesse in a controlled and regulated environment, providing full visibility and control 24/7, 365 days a year. Insurers can provide delegated access to those funding pots to third party administrators (TPAs) who may undertake claims activities and/or payment handling on their behalf. The solution is agnostic, and therefore much simpler structures can be adopted to service our clients’ payment requirements. This ensures capital is in the right place, at the right time, to fund the payment instructions.
Our extensive correspondent network of banks globally accesses local clearing schemes to settle near real-time where there is real-time infrastructure. This allows Vitesse to bypass the costly and time-consuming SWIFT network and deliver cash to the beneficiary quicker and cheaper than our clients’ incumbent banking partners. Vitesse’s payment solutions guarantees full value is received by the beneficiary with a fully transparent set of commercials, removing uncertainty of cost with no hidden fees.
How flexible is the financial infrastructure for differing claims?
The type of claim handled is somewhat irrelevant to Vitesse; at the end of a claim there is a payment event and that is where we come into our own. The agile financial infrastructure can be tailored to meet our clients’ specific needs, coupled with the ability to hold various currencies with Vitesse to mitigate against FX risk. Vitesse has all claims covered through our suite of payment methods, whether that be to a network provider or direct to a claimant, to a bank account or to a card.
How important is new technology to the business, and what do you think the next innovation may be?
It’s clear that payments will be shaped by technological advancements, regulatory changes, and consumer preferences; coupled with traditional payment providers collaborating with fintechs and technology providers as their source of innovation. These factors present challenges but also opportunities for firms such as Vitesse and our clients.
As a fintech, new technology is fundamental to our business at Vitesse, to allow us to continue to innovate to meet the changing environment. In recent years, we have seen a shift to automate where possible, by integrating with our infrastructure via API and Host-to-Host. This has allowed our clients to undertake day-to-day activities within their own environment, remove everyday manual activities and deliver straight through processing of their claims payments.
We will see continued growth in the demand and usage of mobile and e-wallets, which provide convenience and immediate access to ‘cash’. Driven by regulatory changes and increased adoption, a growing number of mobile wallets are being funded directly from bank accounts. I anticipate a greater demand for pay-to-card settlement, both physical and virtual, giving clients increased coverage and reduced overheads attributed to those payments.
You support payments in over 170 countries and in over 100 currencies. How difficult is it to operate so successfully globally?
An extensive network of correspondent banks doesn’t come without its challenges, such as time-zone differences, and in country capital management to fund domestic settlements. However, Vitesse have developed robust controls and financial monitoring tools to ensure we are able to meet our service level agreements and client expectations.
Additionally, we have integrated with our banking partners via API to automate payment instructions, to remove manual intervention, and deliver straight through processing.