Insurtech Innovations: AmTrust Offers Warranties, Tech Support for Fing-Discovered Devices

By: Jeff Hatch

June 25, 2018

The following is an article by Julie Jacobson, which appeared on June 18, 2018, at cepro.com. The full article can be found here: http://bit.ly/2tpSNiu

AmTrust's innovative TapSafe IoT initiative has Fing scan networks for connected devices, and then offers smart-home warranties and tech-support on-the-fly based on risk-assessment profiles.

The property and casualty firm 
AmTrust Financial Services is rolling out an innovative and ambitious IoT-based insurance program using the popular Fing network scanner to discover connected devices in the home. Once products are discovered, AmTrust offers instant quotes for warranties and technical support on each connected device.
 
The new service, called 
TapSafe, was developed by AmTrust Innovation, the innovation arm of AmTrust Financial. Calling it "the world’s most progressive warranty product," the group demonstrated the most polished version of the platform yet, at Parks Associates’ Connections Conference 2018 last month.
 
TapSafe participants simply load the app on their mobile devices, and whenever a new product is connected to the network, Fing and AmTrust get busy on the back end gleaning device data and crunching the numbers to get to a price. The warranty price is presented in real time, and users can opt in from the app.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of US households have over $2,500 in connected devices, according to the 
AmTrust Connected Households 2018 survey, and 50% have had a device damaged or malfunction in the past year.
 
AmTrust demonstrated TapSafe at Connections 2018, joining several insurance companies who were looking to exploit IoT and the smart home for the purposes of 1) risk assessment, 2) loss mitigation, 3) customer engagement and 4) new sources of revenue.

AmTrust doesn’t believe a simpler warranty service is compelling enough for consumers to use TapSafe, which is why the organization provides tech support in addition to warranties.

“We don’t believe the future is in warranties, but in service and support,” says Conor O’Sullivan, senior vice president, AmTrust Innovation Labs.

There are several tiers of tech support available through AmTrust’s third-party provider, including self-help options, online chat and phone support. The tech-support provider uses 
Support.com’s SeeSupport Remote Visual Support, which allows an agent to view the customer’s premises through the camera on the user’s own mobile phone or tablet.
 
The agent can then see the affected product(s) in context – what is connected to them, which lights are blinking, and whether there might be obstacles affecting performance.
The agents can take command of the screen, making annotations to indicate which buttons to press, which connector to unplug, etc., and even light up the space by activating the phone’s flashlight.

If phone support doesn’t do the trick, customers can use the app to schedule repairs and arrange replacements, and even schedule in-home consultations and installations. AmTrust will cover a portion of the cost of installation for the replacement device.

Fing + AmTrust: AI + Predictive Analytics

Fing is a leading network-scanning application, with over 25 million downloads and 9 billion connected devices discovered. The service grows smarter as more devices are connected, network properties are learned, and device characteristics are entered into the app by users.

AmTrust, meanwhile, is one of the largest property and casualty insurers in North America, with 20 years of data on its servers.

With TapSafe, AmTrust takes the devices discovered through Fing – often down to the model number – and melds the information with its own database, delivering a risk-assessment profile for each device in real-time, allowing customer to purchase warranties, or extended warranties, on the fly.

Administered by Warrantech in most U.S. locales, TapSafe is available as a white-label service to third-party providers.

Covered devices include smart TVs, thermostats, home automation hubs, smoke detectors, wearables, smart speakers, smartphones, laptops & tablets and most smart home devices.

Coverage is provided for extending the manufacturer’s warranty with mechanical and electrical breakdown, additional cover for power surge, a no-lemon guarantee and coverage for accidental damage. Furthermore, screen-only cover for Apple and Samsung smartphone is offered as an option.

Filed Under: AmTrust, connected, devices, home, innovation, IoT, smart, TapSafe, Warrantech

Stand Out From The Background Noise

By: Jeff Hatch

June 22, 2018

One day as he drove to work, Chris Johnson noticed there were so many dealerships along the road that it looked like one huge car lot.
 
“You could not tell where one began and the other finished,” said Johnson, owner of 6th Gear Auto Sales in Fort Worth, Texas.
 
Johnson, who had established his independent dealership in 2011, knew he had a better operation than most. He had grown up in the business and had been taught by his father, a successful dealer.
 
The problem was how to distinguish his operation as special among the two hundred used car operations within a five-mile radius of his store.
 
The more he thought about the competition the more he thought the best way to increase his business would be to broaden his base from the used car row of Fort Worth to the national market by way of the Internet.
 
The problem was, he found the same clutter on the web that he’d seen on the street around his physical lot.
 
The same problem of how to stand out among all the car lots trying to be heard also exists on eBay, Carfax or any other of the many automotive listing services.
 
As Johnson studied the problem it became clear that if he wanted to stand out, whether on the street or on the Internet, he was going to need a certified pre-owned product.
 
Johnson had built 6th Gear Auto Sales from the ground up. He wanted to see the business thrive and provide income for his family and his employees for a long time to come.
 
“I realized that without being able to advertise certified pre-owned, I would lose the 60 percent of the market that is currently looking for the comfort of a certification program,” he said. “Sixty percent is a large segment. Not all of them know exactly what certified is and what it means, but they know it is something special and they want it – or at least the option of having it.”
 
Johnson knew to take 6th Gear where he wanted it to go, he would have to find a certified pre-owned program his customers could afford. He also knew his options were limited as an independent dealer.
 
“There are not many national programs to choose from,” he said. “The factories have their programs but they are exclusive to franchises – and they’re way too expensive.”
 
Eventually, Johnson came across a program that was tailor-made for his operation – the NIADA Certified program.
 
“First off, it was a National Independent Automobile Dealers Association program,” he said. “Since I was already a member of the association, that made me feel confident.
 
“When I found out it was backed by Warrantech, the same people who handle General Motors CPO and Mazda’s and Bentley’s programs, I knew this would be the program for us.”
 
Johnson’s employees love the changes that have come out of becoming an NIADA CPO dealership.
 
“It has been a culture change for us,” finance manager John Frymire said. “People see the certified cars on the Internet and because there is a warranty protecting them, they don’t mind coming from a long way away to buy our cars.”
 
There has been a big change in the inventory because the cars are selling faster. Johnson said he had 90-  to 120-day turn of inventory before the CPO program – now he is at 47 days and is working toward turning his 70-car inventory in as little as 30 days as his operation becomes more known for having certified pre-owned inventory.
 
“The news is spreading like wildfire on both the Internet and in the community,” 6th Gear salesman Elvys Agreda said, “and that is good for business.”
 
Want to stand out from the background noise in the used car market? Just ask Chris Johnson how adding NIADA Certified Pre-Owned vehicles changed his business.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: William Carr is a longtime auto industry veteran in sales management and training and the regional training director for Warrantech Automotive, Inc., administrator of the NIADA Certified Pre-Owned program. For more information on the NIADA CPO program, visit www.niadacertified.com/dealers.

This article originally appeared in the June 2018 edition of Used Car Dealer magazine and can be found online at: http://www.omagdigital.com/publication/?i=502218&ver=html5&p=28

Filed Under: car, Carr, Certified, CPO, market, NIADA, Pre-owned, vehicles, Warrantech, William

What Do Service Providers Say About Extended Service Plans?

By: Jeff Hatch

June 01, 2018

Regular maintenance can help keep your appliances running at their very best. But it’s just part of the equation. What do you do when the inevitable happens and the refrigerator or HVAC system that you depend on every day eventually breaks down? As a backup plan, numerous service technicians suggest that you look into an extended service plan (ESP) as a way of saving time and money on repairs – and making sure that your home appliances not only run right, but last.
 
So when is an ESP worth it? It depends on how much your products cost and what their value is to you. A good rule of thumb that a lot of service providers abide by is that an extended service plan is definitely worth the money if you’re purchasing an appliance that costs more than $500.
 
For higher-end items it makes the most sense. You should view these purchases not as products, but as investments that you plan on protecting to the best of your ability.
 
Another consideration is the manufacturer’s warranty. You might already be covered, but for how long? Most OEM warranties last anywhere from three months to a year when the appliance is still new. However, a service plan extends your coverage by offering additional protection when your item is older and you’re more likely to need it.
 
That brings us to product reliability. Several of our service providers have pointed out the intricacies of today’s appliances, which rely more on computer boards and electronics, and are built differently than they were some 20 to 25 years ago. The need for extended service plans weren’t as great then, but when you consider that today’s parts can run as high as $300 an ESP makes a lot more sense.
 
Also keep in mind that the average repair for a washing machine can run anywhere from $150 to $500 and eat through your budget pretty quick. For an oven/range, it’s even worse and could end up costing you between $400 and $700.
 
A service plan is designed to protect you from absorbing those high repair costs. And most repairmen will tell you that one service call alone can more than pay for the price of having an extended service plan, making an ESP worth it to you.  
 
Have questions about one of our extended service plans? Don’t hesitate to contact us. Visit warrantech.com, call 800.833.8801 or send us an email at
info@warrantech.com. We’re happy to help!

Filed Under: appliances, cost, maintenance, plans, repair, service, Warrantech

Filing A Claim – A Customer’s Perspective

By: Jeff Hatch

May 01, 2018

The following advice comes from a Warrantech customer who purchased an extended service plan for a tablet. All claims are handled differently – depending on product, problem and usage – but hopefully this provides you with some insight as to what to expect and how you can be prepared in the event that you need to file a claim.

I was a little unsure about purchasing this accident plan for my new tablet. However, my tablet fell off an elliptical trainer and was trapped between the moving metal arms of the machine. It ended up bent into a semi-circle ... somehow still working but definitely no longer reliable, and no longer fitting in its case. So I filed a claim. They exceeded my expectations in several ways:

1) I had never finished registering the product when I first received it. But they helped me finish the registration process a year late, which they totally could have declined to do.

2) They sent me a shipping label, and I put the broken tablet in the mail 3 days before my coverage period was up. I called and they assured me "we will see this repair through to completion even if it extends past the time of your insurance coverage, because you were covered when you made the claim.”

3) They needed replacement parts, and those took time. But both times when I called for an update, I was given great service and reliable times for expected repairs.

4) The item shipped earlier than expected, and when I got it back it looked brand new and works perfectly.

I am totally surprised to be saying this because my expectations were low, but I am 100% happy with my service experience. It was absolutely worth the money!

To learn more about what our customers have to say about us and our extended service plans, visit warrantech.com.

Filed Under: claim, coverage, customer, extended, plan, repair, service, Warrantech

Tips For Choosing The Vehicle Service Contract That’s Right For You

By: Jeff Hatch

April 11, 2018

So you are finally purchasing that vehicle you’ve always wanted and are overcome with an enormous sense of bliss. Your first thought is to fill out the paperwork as fast as possible so that you can grab the keys, hit the road and show your new car off to all your friends. However, as thrilling as ownership can be, you still have some important decisions to make. 

Do you have enough money to take care of it? What happens if something goes wrong? This is a major purchase and it would be a huge mistake for you to get caught up in the excitement without taking some time to think about what you will do once the inevitable happens and your car needs service. 

That’s where a vehicle service contract (VSC) can help – by alleviating the maintenance and repair costs that come with owning a car, truck or SUV. So which VSC do you choose? Here are a few things to consider, so that you can take care of business and get back to enjoying your new ride.   

How Long Do You Plan On Owning Your Vehicle?

If you only intend on having the car for a few years, a long-term contract probably isn’t on your radar. However, if you plan on driving your vehicle for a long time then you definitely want a VSC. It’s a great complement to an older vehicle that’s no longer under warranty. 

What Does The Plan Include?

Not all people share the same driving habits, so you’ll want a plan that is tailored to the way you drive and the type of vehicle you have. Make sure you know what the plan covers, and be sure to consider the number of miles and length of coverage. Also be aware of the deductible to determine if it fits within your budget.  

Are You Focusing Too Much On Price?

“You get what you pay for” is a good rule of thumb, and a cheaper contract usually comes with a higher deductible. The price might look good on paper, but if the VSC doesn’t provide the coverage that you need, then it’s going to be worthless to you. 

Have You Read The Contract Carefully?

Don’t make assumptions. One of the biggest mistakes customers make is signing a service contract without getting the specific coverage they want. And the last place you want to be when you find out that you’re not covered for benefits such as roadside assistance is when your car breaks down and leaves you stranded in the middle of nowhere. 

Are You Rushing Through The Process?

Take your time. See something in the contract that you don’t understand? Get clarification and make sure that you are comfortable with what you’re signing. 

Did You Get All Of Your Questions Answered?

Be proactive. You definitely don’t want to be in a service center at a later date asking defensive questions like, “What do you mean that’s not covered?” Find out now. 

Have questions about one of our vehicle service contracts? Don’t hesitate to contact us. Visit warrantech.com, call 800.833.8801 or send us an email at info@warrantech.com. We’re happy to help! 

Filed Under: contract, customer, maintenance, plan, repair, service, tips, vehicle, VSC

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