TWICE Executive Forum Q&A

By: Global Administrator

April 28, 2014

Sean Stapleton, president & CEO of Warrantech, recently took part in an Executive Forum with TWICE magazine. The following is his response to the magazine’s inquiry regarding the criteria for choosing an extended service plan provider.

“What criteria should retailers look for when electing an extended service plan provider for their operation?”

Retailers searching for the right extended service plan (ESP) provider should carefully evaluate the financial stability of any prospective provider. The industry has far too many examples of providers who have shuttered their doors leaving both retailers and the customers holding the tab. Audited financials showing a history of strength and stability should be a precursor to any discussion.

Next, retailers should look to partners who are committed to providing complete program transparency, including claims data down to the product level. Often, providers do not share this data for fear of a retail partner understanding the real economics associated with their program. One of the hidden benefits of this transparency is that retailers gain a better understanding about the performance of the products they sell. This data provides insight to the customer experience (beyond the OEM warranty) and allows retailers to more effectively negotiate with product manufacturers and distributors regarding product prices and discounts.

Most importantly, retailers should choose a provider who understands the importance of providing fanatical customer service and has the tools and resources to provide such levels of service for the long run.

For more information about customer care solutions from Warrantech, be sure to visit http://www.warrantech.com/partners/partner-services/customer-care/

Filed Under: customer, extended, magazine, plan, provider, Sean, service, Stapleton, TWICE

The Changing Face Of Extended Service Warranties

By: Global Administrator

April 14, 2014

The following article by Shara Richter appears in the TWICE Guide to Extended Service Contracts, a supplement to the April 7 issue of TWICE magazine. For more information on the stories in that issue, be sure to visit www.twice.com.

The concept, image, definition and demographic of the extended service warranty have all changed substantially over the years.

Extended service warranties were meant to be insurance contracts that retailers sold to consumers to cover repairs on products that were either not covered by the manufacturer's warranty or that went into effect after the manufacturer's warranty expired. In theory this was and is still a great idea that should have protected consumers and increased profits for retailers. In the past however, the warranty business gained a mixed reputation for leaving some consumers holding the bag. Consumers were less likely to buy warranties on electronics and retailers were losing out on all the potential profits. But that is old news. Today, consumers and retailers alike are opting in on service warranties for a variety of reasons and benefits.

Today's extended warranty service plans are an upgrade from the past and offer better services for customers — whether it be in customer service, product repairs or product replacements. Shawn DuBravac, CEA's chief economist and senior director of research says "The whole service environment has changed. It's no longer just about increasing margins, but also improving the customer experience. You want your customers to be happy and to come back," he recently told TWICE.

This expanding definition may be raising the bar on consumer expectations of their warranty coverage. Some service contracts now include such perks as 24-hour/seven days a week technical support. Consumers can tap online resources that are at once intuitive and automated and give technicians remote access for real-time troubleshooting and fixes. Plus some contracts offer protection for previously uncovered circumstances such as accidental damage and typically exempt services such as installation, says the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

These consumer-friendly upgrades appeal to a key CE demographic, millennials. The young consumers are dependent on their mobile devices, and those products have a greater chance of sustaining drops, spills and other accidental damage precisely because of their portability. As a consequence, millennials are more inclined than preceding generations to insure their products with repair and replacement plans. CEA research shows that these consumers are not only open to buying protection plans but want to buy them to protect their most important possession — their mobile devices.

For more information about service contracts and extended warranties from Warrantech, be sure to visit http://www.warrantech.com/partners/consumer-products/extended-service-plans/.

Filed Under: Association, Consumer, devices, Electronics, extended, millennials, mobile, service, TWICE, warranties

Peace of Mind: the Ultimate Add-On

By: Global Administrator

April 07, 2014

Sean Stapleton, president & CEO of Warrantech, recently spoke with Dealerscope magazine about the importance of extended service plan programs for retailers. The following is an excerpt, providing a brief glimpse of what the company has in store for 2014 to help businesses increase their extended service plan offerings and give customers the most value for their money and a worry-free shopping experience.

Warrantech Corporation works closely with its retail partners, field training teams and consumer focus groups to develop innovative programs designed to drive extended service plan sales. Through this collaborative effort, new program offerings are developed and tested. Once beta testing has been completed, successful programs are rolled out to Warrantech partners.

Based on recent beta-testing results, Warrantech is making available to its partners a number of dynamic offerings designed to increase both partner revenue and customer retention. One such offering is Warrantech’s Verify & Protect program, which is a real-time missed point-of-sale extended service plan program for online retailers. This program utilizes multichannel marketing solutions to offer customers who have not purchased an extended service plan as part of their product purchase an additional opportunity to do so on a real-time basis. Additionally, the program is designed to create a white-glove experience for customers by providing them with real-time purchase detail and shipping confirmations on their recent purchases.

Look for the full article in the March 2014 issue of Dealerscope or online at www.dealerscope.com.

And be sure to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn so you can learn more about our innovative products and services as they become available.

Filed Under: &, customers, Dealerscope, extended, plan, Protect, retailers, Sean, service, Stapleton, Verify, Warrantech

The Importance of A.M. Best's Financial Strength Ratings

By: Global Administrator

March 28, 2014

When deciding on an extended service plan or vehicle service contract, it is important to know who is backing your coverage. Is the company reputable? Is it financially stable? And, just as significant on your part, do you really have time to research each and every company?

This is where A.M. Best comes into the picture. As the world's oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source, it sets the benchmark for determining an organization's credibility. Insurance agents, brokers, financial advisors, banks and other insurance professionals have all come to rely on A.M. Best's ratings and analysis to verify each insurer's financial strength. And if you're like most smart consumers who insist on doing thorough research, this rating can be one of your most valuable tools.

A.M. Best's Financial Strength Ratings provide you with an independent third-party evaluation of an insurer's ability to fulfill its financial obligations and can help serve as a key indicator as to whether or not your coverage plan is a smart long-term investment. Each rating is based on a comprehensive quantitative and qualitative evaluation of a company's balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile. So you're basically getting a snapshot of how the company's business plan is expected to perform over an extended period of time.

And when you consider how volatile the market has been in recent years, these ratings have become even more important. A.M. Best has a proven track record in indicating which insurers may encounter financial difficulties. Or as Warranty Week noted in a recent article: "A.M. Best gets it right over the long term … there is an insistence on the part of some banks and credit unions that they won't finance a VSC (vehicle service contract) without an A- or better. And we'd suggest this threshold could also become a defining level for VSC buyers. Ask the question: 'Who is your underwriter and are they rated A- or better?' If not, why not?"

For more information on A.M Best's Financial Strength Ratings, visit http://www.ambest.com/ratings/guide.asp

 

Filed Under: A.M., Best, contract, financial, ratings, service, strength, vehicle, Warranty, Week

Combat Weather-Related Car Trouble With A Vehicle Service Contract

By: Global Administrator

March 11, 2014

This has been a winter of extremes. While a number of cities in the eastern United States set records for frigid temperatures, snow accumulation and maintenance costs, western cities like Las Vegas and Tucson reported their warmest winters on record. The effects have been immediately noticeable to anyone who has had to endure the elements. But what might not be as apparent is the effect that these excessive record-setting temperatures can have on your vehicle.

“When consumers buy a new car, they may not be thinking about how weather extremes can affect the life of crucial car parts,” said Tim Meenan, executive director of the Service Contract Industry Council (SCIC). “No one can do anything to control the weather or its impact on vehicles, but extended warranties can make a tremendous difference in getting past those problems. They’re the best protection for your wallet when extreme weather causes damage that requires a trip to the repair shop.”

An extended warranty (sometimes referred to as a vehicle service contract) can also provide you with added peace of mind in case you find yourself stranded in a remote area during a snowstorm or heat wave. Plus, it allows you to protect your investment, increase your car’s value and make upfront payments that fit within your budget so you can avoid having to pay for any large or unexpected repairs in the future.

The SCIC points out that the winter and summer seasons are the busiest times of year for car repair shops. Salt, sand, UV rays and ice are just a few of the culprits that can lead to rusting, corrosion and expensive repairs to core components.

Brian Hafer, vice president of marketing for AutoMD.com, adds that extreme temperatures are a car killer, which makes regular maintenance all the more important. “Not following the maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual is very common,” says Hafer. “People have these repair issues because they didn't consult their owner's manual. Typically, it happens more often with younger drivers because they just aren't aware.”

What You Can Do About It

Besides having a reliable vehicle service contract and establishing a routine maintenance schedule, here are a few simple tips to help extend the life of your vehicle and save you money in the long run.

  • Check your antifreeze. Not having fresh coolant can cause your water pump to freeze during the winter and overheat your engine in the summer.
  • Examine all fluid levels. Oil, transmission, brake and power steering fluids can all thicken in cold weather, while excessive heat can cause fluid loss.
  • Make sure your battery is fully charged. Batteries get stressed in extreme temperatures. If yours is more than three years old, consider replacing it.
  • Consider an engine block heater for the winter months. At the very least, always warm up your car engine before driving to allow oil to circulate properly.
  • Keep the gas tank half full. This will help you avoid frozen gas lines.
  • Inspect your tires. Cold weather can cause tires to lose several pounds of air pressure and searing heat can lead to cracking.
  • Clean the windshield before using your wipers. Ice can tear wiper blades and restrict motion, which can also tear up the wiper motor and pop the arm.
  • Keep extra fluids in your car. Extra coolant and windshield washer fluid are always good to have on hand in case of an emergency.

For more information about vehicle service contracts from Warrantech, visit http://www.warrantech.com/partners/automotive/service-contracts/

Filed Under: contract, extended, extreme, service, temperatures, Vehicle, warranties

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