JPMorgan Chase & Co. is issuing prepaid debit cards for customers of Assurant Specialty Property, a division of the insurance provider Assurant Inc.
Assurance Specialty Property said Wednesday that it has started using the cards to pay claim settlements for renters insurance.
The program will be expanded "later in the year" throughout the specialty property division "to other property and casualty insurance programs, including manufactured housing," Assurant said.
The cards run on the Visa Inc. network. There are no fees for using them at retailers or for getting cash back at the point of sale. A spokesman for Assurant said they cannot be used at automated teller machines.
Customers can continue to receive their settlements by check, Assurant said, but the debit cards would enable faster access to payments.
The cards can be delivered within three to five business days, and customers get access to funds "as soon they receive the card," Kathy McDonald, a senior vice president for Assurant Specialty Property, said in a press release.
"With a paper check, it sometimes can take 10 to 15 business days to process the check and for the bank then to release the funds," she said.
The shorter turnaround time could benefit renters who have suffered a catastrophe and "typically have an immediate need for cash to arrange for temporary housing or replace necessary items, such as clothing, that have been damaged or destroyed," Ms. McDonald said.