Sean Stapleton To Speak At Extended Warranty & Service Contract Innovations Conference

By: Jeff Hatch

September 01, 2017

The eighth annual Extended Warranty & Service Contract Innovations Conference opens September 13 at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville. Several hundred professionals from the extended warranty and service contract industry are headed to Nashville to talk about how changes in technology and regulations will impact their businesses in the years ahead.
 
Successful Partnerships 
 
On Thursday morning, Sean Stapleton, the President and CEO of AMT Warranty, will join with Kenneth J. Mac, the Director of Chevrolet-Buick-GMC-Cadillac Protection at General Motors Co., to deliver a presentation on "Successful Partnerships in the OEM F&I Space."
 
GM spun off its vehicle service contract, insurance, and finance business years ago into what is now known as Ally Financial Inc., but which used to be known as the General Motors Acceptance Corp. (GMAC). Then, of course, the great recession hit, and both GM and GMAC went through bankruptcy reorganizations. Afterwards, GM decided to re-enter the VSC business under its own name, and Mac's Customer Care & Aftersales unit decided to do it in partnership with an outside insurance underwriter.
 
Stapleton said AMT won the bidding after an extensive vetting process. "The relationship with GM has been truly phenomenal," he said. "We've been in business for many years now." He said they started working together in 2014, after AMT Warranty won the bid in late 2013.
 
"The program has grown tremendously since then," he said. "And it continues to grow. So I'm really proud of what AMT Warranty and GM have put together." Their joint presentation in Nashville will explain how the relationship works, how they strive for continual improvement and innovation together, and what advice they can offer to others looking to create similar partnerships for their service contract programs.
 
"It's a unique partnership in so many ways," Stapleton said. "This isn't a vendor relationship with them. We're not order-takers. It's very collaborative. We meet every Monday. We have our quarterly calls. We have update calls. We're living and breathing and looking at the same things."
 
Fear-Free Communications
 
Stapleton said he and Mac will outline some of the best practices that seem to work for them in their partnership, while acknowledging that things may be different for other partnerships. First, he said, the partners employ what he called "fear-free communications" between the two teams.
 
"We empower our teams to build these relationships amongst themselves," he said. "They fight for each other. It's almost like one organization. It doesn't feel like finger-pointing. It feels like we win or lose together."
 
The teams also are encouraged to ask a lot of questions, particularly around reasons why they're doing something a particular way. "Some of those things are hard to discuss, whether it's personal or professional, but we have that openness. And it's been really beneficial."
 
Stapleton said the partners started out in 2014 with just a handful of auto dealers selling their vehicle service contracts (most were still loyal to GMAC/Ally). Ally still had rights to the GM name. So the partners decided to sell Buick, Cadillac, and Chevrolet-branded VSCs, and gradually some of those dealers decided to come aboard.
 
"It was a huge challenge," Stapleton said. "But it was also a pretty exciting time -- to know that we were doing things differently, to do things that were intended to drive retention and loyalty. That's one of the biggest differentiators I think that the program has."
 
They also offered disappearing deductibles, and introduced a "white glove" level of service within the dealerships to boost loyalty and turn what could be a real negative (getting a defect repaired) into a real positive (cementing the relationship with a phenomenal experience).
 
"Issues create long-term relationships with these customers," he said. "Their alternator may have blown. And that stinks. But they had a great experience. They were put into a loaner car. And there's a disappearing deductible, so there's no money out of pocket. It makes it a whole lot easier, and it builds that level of trust. Challenges can actually result in longer-term relationships with customers."
 
GM could have done it alone, essentially remanufacturing GMAC all over again. But instead it decided to work with AMT. Stapleton said this allows the partners to share data about both the products and the risks, with each bringing their expertise to the table.
 
"We support other large OEM programs," he said. "So we know what's been successful, and we know what's been a failure." And it helps the partners to properly price the service contracts sold for not only for new GM vehicles, but also the used vehicles that dealers have on their lots. "We have a depth and breadth of understanding of this space that's hard to compete with, because this is our core."
 
Visit warrantyweek.com to read this article in its entirety and for more industry insight. 
 
And be sure to follow Warrantech on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn so you can keep up to date on company initiatives as they happen. 

Filed Under: AMT, conference, contract, extended, innovations, Sean, service, Stapleton, Warranty

Warrantech Improves Customer Experience by Reducing Service Time for Warranty Programs and Extended Service Plans

By: Jeff Hatch

July 18, 2017

Partnership with ServicePower Streamlines Repair Operations by Using Innovative Technology to Connect Customers to Technicians Instantly
 
July 18, 2017 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time
 
BEDFORD, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Warrantech, a leading national provider of extended service plans (ESPs) and warranties, announces a unique new offering that will improve the customer experience by reducing the amount of time it takes to service products.
 
Through a partnership with mobile workforce management platform ServicePower, Warrantech will now instantly connect customers who have service needs with available repair technicians. By using technology to schedule service appointments in real-time, Warrantech will dramatically reduce the average time it takes for repairs to be made to customer products.
 
Warrantech, a subsidiary of AmTrust Financial Services, Inc., provides innovative extended service plans, vehicle service contracts and warranty programs to retailers, dealers, distributors and manufacturers in numerous consumer and automotive markets.
 
ServicePower dispatches experienced third party contractors to repair product under contract through its contractor management solution, while improving warranty claim management through real time adjudication logic and collaborative business intelligence. Warrantech leverages improved visibility of each repair and real time data analysis to streamline and improve service operations.
 
“We are always looking to provide our large enterprise customers with an advantage in the competitive markets in which they operate,” said Ariel Gorelik, COO of Warrantech. “We believe this partnership with ServicePower will be positive for customers because it will make repairs quick and easy to schedule and we believe it’s positive for technicians because it eliminates the hassle of scheduling service times.”
 
“Warrantech operates in a complex industry serving many sectors and thousands of consumers,” said Marne Martin, CEO at ServicePower. “ServicePower prides itself on offering software solutions that minimize complexity, providing a real-time picture of field activities so that better-informed decisions can be made and executed to offer the best possible customer experience. That another project was delivered efficiently and on budget is further evidence to prospective customers that you can trust ServicePower to deliver.”
 
About Warrantech
 
Warrantech is a subsidiary of AmTrust Financial Services, a Fortune 500, multinational property and casualty holding company that is rated "A" (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company for their financial strength and stability. An innovative, technology-driven company, AmTrust brings its financial strength to Warrantech, enabling it to offer a unique, bundled approach that includes both underwriting and administration. This creates transparency and visibility to information that enables customers to change and create plans that are both highly customized and profitable.
 
About ServicePower
 
For companies providing field based services, ServicePower offers a field service and mobile workforce management platform facilitating hybrid workforce management, enabling organizations to save money, improve customer satisfaction and drive new revenue by efficiently managing both captive and 3rd party service providers. ServicePower uniquely combines customer entitlement and real time communications, schedule and route optimization, work order, asset and inventory management, service and maintenance contract management, contractor management and dispatch, warranty and claims management, field mobility, and business intelligence of all field service interactions, in a single solution.
 
ServicePower also offers a fully managed network of 3rd party service providers to enable rapid and high-quality on-demand “spill-over” servicing at peak times and in hard-to-reach locations across North America and the Europe.
 
For more information, visit www.servicepower.com
 
Contacts
Warrantech
John Eddy, 212-319-3451, ext. 648
or
ServicePower
Jenniffer L. Breitenstein, 703-287-8900

Filed Under: extended, plans, service, ServicePower, Warrantech

How To Beat The High Cost Of Appliance Repair

By: Jeff Hatch

April 05, 2017

It’s inevitable. No matter how well your home appliances are built, at some point they will reach their life expectancy and stop working. So can you afford to be without yours for long? Do you have a backup plan in place? And, more importantly, do you have enough money saved up to cover the repair or replacement?
 
According to Home Advisor, the average cost to repair an appliance is $170. But prices can vary greatly once you include such variables as the make, model and age of your appliance, as well as parts, labor and applicable service fees. For more accurate pricing, you can visit Home Advisor’s site to search by location or use the figures listed below as a rough estimate of what you might expect to pay per appliance. 
 
Average Repair Costs
 
Air Conditioner $200-400
Clothes Dryer $100-400
Dishwasher $100-200
Furnace $100-130
Microwave $75-150
Range/Oven $400-700
Refrigerator $200-400
Washing Machine $120-500
Water Heater $90-110
 
Now consider your own budget. If you have enough money set aside to cover all of the above, then you’re probably not too concerned. However, a recent survey by GoBankingRates showed that 69% of all Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. So if you fall in that category and suddenly find yourself without something as important as your refrigerator, the problem can go from bad to worse. There’s the added stress of having to spend your time being forced to go out to eat and the increased frustration of losing even more money due to food spoilage.    
 
So how do you avoid this scenario? “While some maintain consumers should put aside cash for repairs and replacement of essential electronic products or appliances, it is not possible or practical in today’s economy,” says Timothy J. Meenan, Executive Director of the Service Contract Industry Council. “An extended warranty [service plan] can help consumers manage unanticipated, unbudgeted expenses.”
 
It’s worth noting that just one service call can more than make up the price of an extended service plan. That fact alone makes it worth owning one. But when you consider that an extended service plan also provides you with added peace of mind, immediate assistance and may even cover ancillary damage such as food loss, suddenly it becomes an invaluable, yet inexpensive plan to help you manage the unwelcomed inevitable.  
 
Want to know more about the benefits of owning an extended service plan? Visit our site or call us at 800.833.8801.

Filed Under: appliance, budget, consumers, costs, extended, plan, repair, service

Extended-Service Contracts Help Build a Comfort Zone – and Long-Term Relationships – with Customers

By: Jeff Hatch

February 21, 2017

The following is an excerpt from an article by Jeff Crider, which appeared in the 2017 Jan./Feb. issue of RVBusiness. The full article can be found at: http://bit.ly/2m9hhac
 
“The quality of RVs in general has improved, but there are more and more gadgets,” said Joe Suttera, Warrantech’s vice president of specialty products. “From a warranty standpoint, there is certainly a lot more risk than there ever has been when it comes to these units.”
 
The continued growth of the RV industry in 2017 is good news not only for the nation’s RV manufacturers, aftermarket suppliers and retail dealers, but also for the companies selling extended-service contracts to this emerging wave of RV consumers.
 
In fact, the extended-service-contract business is booming, companies told RVBusiness, due to this sustained increase in the sales of new and used towable and motorized RVs. 
 
Indeed, the industry is currently experiencing its eighth consecutive year of growth, with wholesale shipments of new RVs expected to increase 4.4% in 2017 to 438,000 units, according to projections by Richard Curtin of the University of Michigan’s Consumer Survey Research Center.
 
That continuous flow of new- and used-vehicle sales creates huge opportunities for dealers to sell their customers extended-service contracts, the cost of which is typically added to the vehicle loan at the time of purchase. 
 
Regardless of whether their RV is new or used, consumers want to have peace of mind knowing that unexpected repair costs will be covered when their vehicle’s warranty runs out. While manufacturers provide different types of warranties to cover things that can malfunction in the mechanical and living areas of an RV, warranties only last for specific periods of time. Extended-service contracts have been designed to extend warranty protections for additional periods of time with varying levels of coverage and cost. 
 
Extended-service contracts are also available to cover things that are not typically covered by factory warranties such as roadside assistance, tire-and-wheel coverage and paint-and-fabric coverage.
 
Millennials, in particular, are in tune with the latest innovations in technology and they want it to work. 
 
Extended-service contracts can cover these items after the warranties expire to give consumers peace of mind with their RV purchases, regardless of whether they have new or used vehicles.
 
Bill Gilman, senior vice president of sales for Warrantech, an AmTrust Financial Company based in Bedford, Texas, said there were more “fit and fitness issues” with RVs back in 2007 when the RV industry was struggling through the Great Recession. The downturn forced many RV manufacturers out of business. But while the quality of today’s RVs has significantly improved from 2007, Warrantech and other extended-service contract providers see plenty of potential risks to cover.
 
“The quality of RVs in general has improved, but there are more and more gadgets,” said Joe Suttera, Warrantech’s vice president of specialty products. “Now you’re covering 50-inch flat-screen TVs, full walk-in showers. From a warranty standpoint, there is certainly a lot more risk than there ever has been when it comes to these units.”
 
As one might expect, companies that provide extended-service contracts closely monitor their claims reports so that they can price their contracts accordingly. They also monitor feedback from RV dealers and periodically either update their extended-service contracts to cover new products or develop entirely new types of extended-service contracts for dealers to sell. 
 
Extended-service contract companies offer a variety of educational programs and increasingly sophisticated electronic programs to expedite contract sales and claims processing. 
 
But the time to make the initial pitch to consumers is in the F&I process when they’re purchasing their new or used RVs. That’s when dealers have an opportunity to educate their customers so that they know the differences between warranties and extended-service contracts. 
 
Warrantech Automotive, an AmTrust Group Co.
Bedford, Texas  
Product offering: Warrantech markets exclusionary and stated extended-service contracts using the CampersEdge brand name. The company covers motorhomes valued at up to $5000,000 and with up to 100,000 miles. It also covers towable units valued at up to $150,000 and that are up to 15 years old. The company also offers specialty contracts for RV technical assistance; 24/7 roadside assistance; windshield repairs; painting and interior; tire and wheel coverage; as well as key/remote replacement coverage. Warrantech also provides Towbusters coverage with 24-hour emergency towing, roadside assistance, lost key and lockout service, map routing assistance and theft as well as hit-and-run protection. The company also offers guaranteed asset protection (GAP) coverage. 
Key contact: Bill Gilman, senior vice president of sales, (210) 788-2555 or bill.gilman@amtrustgroup.com

Filed Under: AmTrust, CampersEdge, contract, extended, RV, RVBusiness, service, Towbusters

Why Should You Consider An Extended Service Plan?

By: Jeff Hatch

April 11, 2016

1. Financial Strain

If you feel that having to purchase an entirely new item or making costly repairs would drain your bank account or leave you with a mountain of credit card debt, then you should definitely look into an extended service plan (ESP). It can actually enhance the value of your product as opposed to being a financial burden in the event that something does go wrong. With an extended service plan, you’re essentially transferring risk to the company that sold it to you and trading it in for peace of mind. Regardless of the product’s cost, having a smaller monthly ESP payment instead of an unexpected, large repair bill is a wise investment that can help keep you from breaking the bank.

2. Time Constraint

Another key consideration is time. An extended service plan can help: 1) Take the guesswork out of searching for a quality repair company to fix your damaged merchandise on short notice. 2) Find a replacement product and have it shipped to you in a timely manner if repair is not an option. 3) Provide you with on-site repair in many instances.

In short, a good extended service plan is designed to provide you with immediate assistance. If you are having trouble with a product, you’ll have instant access to an authorized service professional, via a toll-free number, who can diagnose the problem and help you get on with your day – right away.

3. Product Reliability

No matter how well designed a product is, nothing lasts forever. Failure is inevitable. That’s why it’s always a good idea to go online and research the potential shortcomings of the particular product you intend to purchase. Check into the long-term durability of that brand to determine its reliability and what type of coverage would be most beneficial to you.

Also, think about the implications of being without your favorite consumer appliance – whether it’s a refrigerator, television, dishwasher, washer/dryer or other durable good. If you feel that being without this specific item would be a burden to you, then an extended service plan serves as a good complement.

4. Accidents Happen

Consumer electronics have become more mobile over the years, which means that they are more susceptible to accidental damage from typical everyday use. Keep your habits and behaviors in mind as to how you use products like these. If you travel a lot or are constantly on the go, then your mobile devices could be at greater risk. And if you depend on a smartphone, computer tablet or laptop for important things like work or college assignments, just imagine how difficult it would be if you didn’t have coverage and had to spend a lengthy amount of time without them.

5. Long-Term Investment

It is human nature that we would treat a car that we intend to purchase and drive for a long period of time differently than we would a car with a short-term lease. If it belongs to us we’re more likely to keep it cleaner, buy higher-grade gasoline and go out of our way to avoid bad roads. The same can be said of any product. If you view something as a long-term investment more than simply a fleeting purchase, you’ll want to keep it operating at its very best for as long as possible.

An extended service plan is a must-have in situations like this and can be useful for items that depend on steadfast service. As always, be sure to read the coverage terms of your extended service plan to be certain that it meets your needs, and make sure that it includes a reliable repair plan to help keep your most important appliances working longer and to the best of their abilities.

For more information regarding extended service plans, visit warrantech.com or contact us today at 800.833.8801. 

Filed Under: consumer, electronics, extended, finance, investments, plan, reliability, service, time

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