Why You Need A Vehicle Service Contract

By: Jeff Hatch

October 19, 2017

Contemplating a vehicle service contract, but unsure of how it works or how it differs from an automotive warranty? You’re not alone. A lot of consumers tend to get the two mixed up or fail to understand just what they cover. But seeing as how your vehicle is usually the second most important purchase you will make right after your home, it is in your best interest to do your homework and make sure that you are protected.    
 
What exactly is a vehicle service contract? 
It is an agreement to cover costs associated with repairs or services made to your vehicle. A manufacturer’s warranty, on the other hand, is a promise from the manufacturer to stand by their workmanship for a limited time after you purchase the vehicle. Once this warranty expires, a vehicle service contract becomes valid and provides you with much-needed coverage on your vehicle’s most important systems and components. 
 
Is a vehicle service contract right for you? 
Here are a few things to consider:
 
Keep in mind that the average hourly rate for a mechanic is $100 an hour. A vehicle service contract can help do away with this cost, save you money and keep you from paying any unforeseen and unexpected repair bills. 
 
If you plan on owning your car for an extended period, it’s definitely in your best interest. A vehicle service contract can keep your car running at its very best and on the road for a long time. 
 
Even if you don’t intend to keep your car for long, a service contract can increase your vehicle’s resale value once you decide to sell. But before you do, make sure that the service contract you’re purchasing is transferable.  
 
Do some research into the make and model of the vehicle you plan on purchasing. Is it likely to need repairs and, if so, what are the costs? Weigh this against the price of the service contract to determine if it is worth it to you.
 
Does the contract include extras such as discounts on hotels and restaurants, rental car benefits, locksmith services and 24-hour roadside assistance? Not only do these add to the value of the service contract, they can provide you with added peace of mind in the event that something goes wrong while you’re on the road and away from home. 
 
Take your driving habits into account. Will you be on the road a lot? Is there a lot of stop-and-go traffic? What are the road conditions like? Do you park outside where the weather is extreme? These can all have an adverse effect on your vehicle. 
 
Check the terms and conditions carefully. Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting and what is covered specifically. 
 
In addition to the type of coverage, be mindful of the length of coverage, miles of coverage and deductible. 
 
Research the company providing the service contract. Are they reputable? Some guidelines to help determine this might include checking their Better Business Bureau rating to see how they work with consumers and finding out what their A.M. Best rating is to verify financial strength and stability. 
 
Have questions about a specific vehicle service contract? 
Don’t hesitate to ask your salesperson or agent for more information. Most dealerships typically provide you with a brochure or direct you to a website so you can review the plan in its entirety. Take time to make sure that you fully understand the scope of the service contract and don’t get pressured into purchasing something that makes you feel uncomfortable. With so many options currently available, you are sure to find something that is satisfactory for your budget and your vehicle’s specific requirements.
 
Visit us online to learn more about our available vehicle service contracts or call 800.833.8801 to speak with a customer service representative. We’re happy to help.

Filed Under: contract, service, vehicle, Warrantech, warranty

Building Blocks to Success: The Warrantech Advantage

By: Jeff Hatch

September 12, 2017

When choosing a provider for your extended service plan (ESP) program, it’s important to consider someone with the ability to adapt quickly to your company’s unique needs. The market moves fast and your ESP administrator has to be able to keep up in order to meet the growing and fluctuating demands of your business.
 
One of Warrantech’s core strengths is the scalability of our infrastructure. Rapid expansion capability is a hallmark of our business and woven into the very fabric of our company. As your needs change, our modular approach allows you to make changes to your program in order to reach your goals and, most importantly, maintain superior customer service and financial stability. 
 
Flexibility
Customized to grow with your needs
Program incubation and growth strategies
Complete training and support solutions
 
Transparency
Real-time program performance
Monetization of product performance data 
Pricing and underwriting data sharing
 
Scalability
State-of-the-art infrastructure and technologies 
Profit sharing / reinsurance / alternative risk transfer
Modular solutions
 
Dedication
Dedicated staffing model
Segregated data/systems
Creation of dedicated obligor company for your business
 
Execution
Industry expertise 
Proven implementation and project management expertise
Focused, entrepreneurial and accountable philosophy 
 
Financial Stability
A 2017 Fortune 500 company
Rated “A” (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company for financial strength and stability
Ranked 45 on Fortune magazine’s “Fastest-Growing Companies” list
Named Forbes’ “2014 Best-Managed Company (Insurance)”
 
To learn more about our customized extended service plan programs, visit warrantech.com or call 800.833.8801.

Filed Under: dedication, financial, flexibility, stability, transparency, Warrantech

AmTrust Reports Second Quarter 2017 Net Income And Confidence In Long-Term Financial Strength

By: Jeff Hatch

August 09, 2017

AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. (Nasdaq:AFSI) today announced second quarter 2017 net income attributable to common stockholders of $5.8 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, compared to $127.2 million, or $0.73 per diluted share in the second quarter 2016. For the second quarter 2017, operating earnings were $72.9 million, or $0.40 per diluted share, compared to $135.3 million, or $0.77 per diluted share, in the second quarter 2016.
 
Net income and operating earnings in the current quarter were impacted by catastrophe losses of $16.1 million after-tax, or $0.09 per diluted share, ($24.8 million pre-tax).
 
"We took transformative steps in the second quarter, executing on a number of strategic initiatives to increase certainty and confidence in AmTrust's long-term financial strength, and appointing a new CFO," said Barry Zyskind, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AmTrust. "In particular, we enhanced our balance sheet and capital base through a $300 million equity investment by members of the Karfunkel family to further support our insurance business and organic growth opportunities. Our sale of approximately 86% of our equity position in National General simplifies our balance sheet and reduces concentration in our investment portfolio composition. The reinsurance agreement we entered provides up to $400 million of coverage for adverse net loss reserve development, in excess of our stated net loss reserves as of March 31, 2017, to insulate AmTrust from future reserve volatility. We undertook these actions with a long-term view for the Company and our shareholders, to demonstrate strength and stability to all of our partners, brokers, agents, and insureds, and to enhance our earnings consistency."
 
Mr. Zyskind continued, "Our second quarter financial results reflect disciplined sales execution and high policy retention levels with gross written premium of $2.2 billion, up 6.1%. We are focused on maintaining underwriting and pricing rigor in our target markets, and are taking a conservative stance toward our book of business in order to support future profitability and balance sheet strength."
 
Second Quarter 2017 Results
 
Total revenue was $1.6 billion, an increase of $0.2 billion, or 18.2%, from $1.4 billion in the second quarter 2016. Gross written premium was $2.2 billion, an increase of $0.1 billion, or 6.1%, from $2.1 billion in the second quarter 2016. Net written premium was $1.4 billion, an increase of $0.1 billion, or 8.2%, compared to $1.3 billion in the second quarter 2016. Net earned premium was $1.4 billion, an increase of $0.2 billion, or 16.8%, from $1.2 billion in the second quarter 2016. The combined ratio was 101.2%, compared to 91.3% in second quarter 2016, and the adjusted combined ratio was 95.9%, after giving effect to the adverse development cover.
 
Year-to-Date 2017 Results
 
Total revenue was $3.1 billion, an increase of $0.4 billion, or 16.0%, from $2.6 billion YTD 2016. Gross written premium was $4.5 billion, an increase of $459.8 million, or 11.5%, from $4.0 billion YTD 2016. Net written premium was $2.7 billion, an increase of $0.2 billion, or 9.1%, compared to $2.5 billion YTD 2016. Net earned premium was $2.6 billion, an increase of $347.2 million, or 15.4%, from $2.3 billion YTD 2016. The combined ratio was 98.6% compared to 91.6% YTD 2016. The adjusted combined ratio was 95.8% compared to 91.6% YTD 2016.
 
A summary of Q2 results is listed below along with a link to the earnings release. 
 
Financial Highlights
 
Second Quarter 2017 Highlights
 
Second quarter gross written premium of $2.2 billion and net earned premium of $1.4 billion, up 6.1% and 16.8%, respectively, from the second quarter 2016
Second quarter service and fee income of $168.4 million, up 35.5% from the second quarter of 2016
Second quarter net income attributable to common stockholders of $5.8 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, compared to $127.2 million, or $0.73 per diluted share, in the second quarter 2016
Second quarter operating earnings of $72.9 million, or $0.40 per diluted share, compared to $135.3 million, or $0.77 per diluted share, in the second quarter 2016
Second quarter gain of $68.4 million on sale of 10.6 million shares of National General stock
Second quarter loss ratio of 74.2% compared with 66.4% in the second quarter of 2016
Second quarter loss ratio of 68.9% after giving effect to the adverse development cover
Second quarter combined ratio of 101.2% compared with 91.3% in the second quarter 2016
Adjusted combined ratio of 95.9%, after giving effect to the adverse development cover, versus 91.3% in the second quarter 2016
Second quarter annualized return on common equity and annualized operating return on common equity of 0.9% and 11.4%, respectively
Board of Directors approves payment of quarterly dividend on common stock of $0.17
 
To view AmTrust Financial Services’ Q2 earnings release, visit the Investor Relations section at http://ir.amtrustfinancial.com/index.cfm or click on the following link: http://ir.amtrustfinancial.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=1036573 

Filed Under: 2017, AmTrust, earnings, financial, Q2, share, Warrantech

3 Keys to Customer Satisfaction: Speed, Efficiency, Knowledge

By: Jeff Hatch

July 24, 2017

Customers want fast service or support from knowledgeable people where, when and how they prefer to receive it, based on results of a study the CMO Council published Tuesday.
 
Together with SAP Hybris, the CMO Council last year conducted an online survey of 2,000 respondents, equally divided between men and women. Fifty percent were in the United States, and 25 percent each resided in Canada and Europe.
 
Among the findings:
 
52 percent mentioned fast response time as a key attribute of an exceptional customer experience;
47 percent said knowledgeable staff, ready to assist whenever and wherever needed, was key;
38 percent wanted an actual person to speak with at any time and place;
38 percent wanted information when and where they needed it;
9 percent wanted brand-developed social communities; and
8 percent wanted always-on automated services.
 
Consumers have a shortlist of critical channels they expect to have access to, the survey found, including the company's website, email, a phone number, and a knowledgeable person to speak with.
 
"The mindsets of consumers -- whether B2B or B2C -- are shifting, said Liz Miller, SVP of marketing at the CMO Council.
 
Marketers "have to start asking, 'Are we set up to be a responsive organization that looks at data, looks at analytics, understands what's coming in through CRM and is able to reflect that back through all touchpoints, including physical ones, quickly? Or are we simply waiting to react?'" she told CRM Buyer.
 
Serve Us Well or Die!
 
Angry customers hurt brands. The survey identified the following behaviors:
 
47 percent of respondents said they would stop doing business with a brand if they were continually frustrated;
33 percent were annoyed because of slow service or dealing with reps who knew nothing about their past history or purchases;
32 percent said they would email a company to complain; and
29 percent said they would tell their family and friends about their bad experience.
 
That's a possibility that Warrantech, which provides extended service plans and warranties nationwide, is well aware of.
 
The company on Tuesday announced a partnership with mobile workforce management ServicePower, which will let it instantly connect customers who have service needs with available repair technicians.
 
"Prompt response time is critical in our line of business," said Brian Weaver, director of service operations at Warrantech.
 
The teamup is expected to reduce overall customer turnover time by up to 10 percent across all verticals and "ultimately translate into commensurate lifts in clients' sales and customer retention," he told CRM Buyer.
 
The Customer Wish Conundrum
 
One problem marketers face is that customers appear to have conflicting desires, as shown by the survey results:
 
36 percent of respondents were angry about not being recognized for their loyalty;
12 percent wanted companies to recognize their history with the brand at any touchpoint;
10 percent wanted multiple touchpoints; and
23 percent felt they were being followed online.
 
That poses a conundrum for marketers.
 
"This survey did indicate the respondents wanted knowledgeable staff -- and for that, I'd argue part of the knowledge is knowing about the customer, not just the product, so that the advice can directly address the customer's unique problem," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
 
"Knowing about the customer improves the quality of the engagement," he told CRM Buyer.
That said, consumers don't care how companies do what they do -- they only care about the results, the CMO Council's Miller noted.
 
"It's a sausage factory. Consumers don't care how you make them, they just want tasty sausage. At the end of the day, consumers want to be treated like persons," she said.
 
"Each firm needs to survey their own customers, assess the impact and costs of changes, then formulate a strategy that applies uniquely to them," Enderle suggested. "Some may find that the cost/benefit ratio is still better with automation." 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. 

Filed Under: Consumer, satisfaction, service, ServicePower, Warrantech

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

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