Yesterday at the Third Annual GWSCA Conference on Warranty and Service Contracts in Chicago, Illinois, Warrantech’s parent company, AmTrust Financial Services, Inc., won the award for “Innovation in Warranty” for its “Complete” program.
Complete is a comprehensive protection plan program developed for Microsoft’s OEM and third-party devices sold via Microsoft’s numerous sales channels, including their brick and mortar store locations, their online store, distribution partners, and resellers worldwide. In 2009, the Complete program launched in one Microsoft store. Today, AmTrust is the exclusive provider of Microsoft Complete in 60 countries, with plans that cover Surface Pro, Surface Book, Surface Hub, Xbox, Band, HoloLens and all third-party OEM PC products sold by Microsoft.
Visionary leadership, strong management, robust technology platforms, efficient operations, and focused client management are among the key attributes driving the success of AmTrust in support of Microsoft Complete.
AmTrust has worked diligently and rapidly to facilitate Complete sales in all the territories in which hardware is being sold. In less than 18 months from initial launch, they rolled out Complete in 60 countries and expanded the product offerings to include all Microsoft OEM products. They’ve developed unique mobile applications to market, sell and register smartphone insurance policies with Microsoft Mobile, formerly known as NOKIA.
The Global Warranty and Service Contract Association (GWSCA) serves the warranty and service contract communities worldwide. Founded and operated by industry professionals who volunteer their time and talents, GWSCA provides programs, resources and services that develop and enhance the knowledge, capabilities and performance of its constituency, both individuals and organizations. In this way, GWSCA fosters and promotes industry wide innovation and advancement towards excellence.
AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. is a financial holding company with 27 insurance companies operating globally and providing small business insurance, unique risk, and warranty and specialty risk solutions. All their insurance carriers are “A” rated by A.M. Best. AmTrust is a publically traded company trading under the symbol “AFSI” on NASDAQ.
AmTrust underwrote $6.8 billion in Gross Written Premium in 2015 and has assets in excess of $17 billion. They have offices in more than 40 locations and operate in more than 50 countries. In 2014, AmTrust was ranked 63rd in Fortune magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies. In the same year, Forbes named AmTrust as one of the best run companies (insurance). Warranty Week, the leading online authority in the warranty industry identified AmTrust as the most ‘warranty-centric’ company.
Congratulations to AmTrust Financial on this impressive accomplishment. For more information about the company and their services, visit amtrustgroup.com.
Filed Under: AmTrust, Award, Complete, Financial, GWSCA, Innovation, Warrantech, Warranty
This is one of the most frequently asked questions we receive and one that causes a lot of confusion among customers. Simply put, a warranty is an agreement to make any repairs or replace defective parts during a specified period of time upon purchase – a 90-day warranty, for example. It is provided by the manufacturer or dealer and included in the purchase price of a product. By contrast, a service contract/plan is a separate agreement designed to provide protection after the manufacturer’s warranty expires.
Since a manufacturer’s warranty is only good for a limited time, having additional coverage for important purchases makes a lot of sense. An extended service plan (or vehicle service contract) is a popular choice among customers who want extended coverage on everything from consumer electronics, automobiles, home appliances, boats, power tools and other items they truly value or see as an important long-term investment. For instance, a cash-strapped college student who can’t afford to be without a laptop computer for schoolwork would be smart to invest in a service plan.
A service contract also offers additional benefits that generally aren’t covered under the terms of the manufacturer’s warranty. If you bought a new vehicle, chances are your warranty only covers defects and issues that came about during the design and manufacturing process. With a service contract, you can get supplemental coverage for important systems like the transmission and suspension, and ancillary product protection that covers paint, dent, fabric and windshield repair.
In addition to product and purchase protection, service contracts offer consumers convenience and peace of mind. There have been several articles as of late that all list this as one of the main reasons that people feel that a service contract is well worth the added expense. Should something go wrong with your purchase, you’ll receive immediate assistance. Plus, a service contract can be purchased for just a fraction of what you would normally pay for service repair or, in worst-case scenarios, an entirely new item.
If you do decide that you are interested in extended protection, the best rule of thumb is to always make sure that you carefully compare the service contract with the manufacturer's warranty. Also, consider: 1) the cost of the service contract, 2) the types of coverage it offers, 3) the length of time covered, and 4) how you expect to use your purchase. And if you have any concerns regarding your service agreement or need help with a specific type of coverage, feel free to reach out to us. We’ll be more than happy to help.
Visit our website to view more frequently asked questions from our consumers. Or call us at 800.833.8801.
Filed Under: contract, plan, product, service, vehicle, Warrantech, warranty
TORONTO, September 24, 2015 – Sym‐Tech Dealer Services (the “Company” or “Sym‐Tech”) announced today that AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: AFSI), through its subsidiary AMT Warranty, has partnered with Sym‐Tech through a minority investment in the Company.
“We are very pleased that AMT Warranty chose to partner with Sym‐Tech,” said Brad Wells, CEO of Sym‐Tech Dealer Services. “AMT Warranty’s automotive expertise as well as their underwriting, OEM, insurance and reinsurance knowledge and experience will allow for an expanded offering of F&I products and services for clients in Canada.”
Sym‐Tech drives improved business office performance. A full suite of F&I products, industry‐proven training and in‐dealership development, as well as F&I menu and proprietary technology, combine to drive dealer performance and profitability.
Sym‐Tech’s 40 year history of serving Canadian dealers, combined with AMT Warranty’s extensive insurance services and solid financial backing, create a unique partnership that provides Canadian OEMs, auto dealers and automotive dealer groups with one of the most comprehensive offerings available. The full suite of solutions includes:
• A complete line of F&I products and programs
• Training and in‐dealership development
• Proprietary F&I technology
• Expertise in underwriting, actuary, insurance and re‐insurance services
“AMT Warranty has experienced tremendous success in the United States and we look forward to extending our success to the Canadian marketplace through a long‐term relationship with Sym‐Tech,” said Sean Stapleton, President and CEO of AMT Warranty. “Sym‐Tech has a solid reputation, one of the best F&I software platforms in the industry, extensive knowledge of the market and significant experience. Importantly, Sym‐Tech’s vision, values and strengths are strongly aligned with AmTrust.”
About AMT Warranty
AMT Warranty Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: AFSI), provides finance and insurance products to automobile, RV/trailer, marine and powersports retailers, manufacturers and financial institutions. AMT Warranty offers innovative F&I products, program development and customer support. With over 25 million active contracts, AMT Warranty has a reputation for providing highly scalable and financially successful programs. By incorporating extensive industry knowledge, customized program options and a customer centric approach to service, AMT Warranty has become the leading provider of F&I products in the aftermarket industry.
About Sym‐Tech Dealer Services Inc.
Founded in 1971, Sym‐Tech Dealer Services Inc. is a leading Canadian F&I provider to the retail automotive industry. Sym‐Tech is a performance‐driven company with the mandate to help improve business office performance. Sym‐Tech offers F&I products, industry‐proven training and in‐dealership development, as well as F&I menu and a proprietary software platform (d.a.v.e®) which drive dealer performance and profitability. For more information contact: Samantha Sampson, Sym‐Tech Dealer Services 905.889.5390, ext. 2930 or samantha.sampson@sym‐tech.ca or visit www.symtech.ca.
Filed Under: AMT, F&I, financial, insurance, OEM, partnership, Sym-Tech, underwriting, warranty
Losing a favorite place to buy a book, procure the latest electronic gadget or update the home can send passionate shoppers into an emotional spiral much like the stages of grief.
Denial sets in first. “They can’t go out of business; they are always so helpful and sell only the best products.”
Soon after comes the inevitable anger stage. “Great, they went out of business. Now my extended service plan (ESP)* won’t be any good. How could they do this to me?”
*NOTE: While many store associates and consumers consider the purchase to be an extended warranty, this is often not the case. Many extended plans are not truly adding on to the original manufacturer’s warranty, but rather, extend the post-warranty service options and are therefore more appropriately referred to as an extended service plan, or ESP.
Retailer bankruptcies have been an unfortunate reality, as almost 3,000 stores in the U.S. closed, were downsized or went out of business in the 2013 calendar year. While many analysts believe that the worst is now over, many consumers are still left wondering what will happen to their ESPs. The truth is there are a number of ways it can go.
In a worst case scenario, extended service contracts are voided when the company files for bankruptcy. This is often the case if the retailer underwrites its own ESPs. On a positive note, manufacturers’ warranties are in no way affected when a retailer closes. So, some repairs and replacements might still be covered.
In a better scenario, the retailer outsourced its warranty underwriting to a reputable third party.
“The end of a retailer doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the extended service plan,” said Sean Stapleton, CEO of Warrantech. “Responsible companies have safeguards in place, such as third-party contract underwriters, that protect their customers, even after bankruptcy.”
So, the first step is to read the service contract papers if a store closes. Chances are that the ESP isn’t actually owned by the retailer, so there’s no reason to panic. But, rather than waiting until the unthinkable happens, Stapleton advises to read the service contract before it’s purchased to avoid potential problems down the road.
“Check the fine print for a third-party provider and consider the reputation of the company,” Stapleton said. “Look for an address to write to or a phone number you can call if there are issues.”
Consumers are spending more on electronics and other big-ticket items than ever before, so ESPs are becoming increasingly important — as long as they will be there when they are needed. On its consumer protection website, the Federal Trade Commission urges shoppers to read warranty and ESP paperwork and look for answers to the following questions:
- How long does the warranty and ESP last?
- Who do I contact to get warranty and ESP service?
- What will the company do if the product fails?
- What parts and repair problems are covered?
- Are there any conditions or limitations on the warranty or ESP?
By asking these questions upfront and ensuring that their ESPs are backed by a reputable third party, shoppers can gain peace of mind that their purchases will be covered — even if a favorite retailer permanently closes.
Filed Under: extended, plans, purchase, retailer, service, store, Warrantech, warranty
As a retailer, you know that extended service or warranty plans are a natural product offering for your business. They’re both comforting to consumers and profitable from a business perspective. But how much do you know about how your warranty programs work? Who are the players involved and who’s responsible for the various elements in fulfilling the plan? What’s your return on investment? Understanding the life cycle of your warranty plans not only impacts your customers and profit margins, but also your brand.
Filling in the family tree of a warranty program can be a confusing process. Who’s responsible for what, when and for how much can be seen as a burden that many retailers choose to disregard. But, unless you know the answers, you’re leaving your store and customers at risk.
An easy starting point is uncovering who the insurance company is that’s covering your plans. The insurance company, or underwriter, is the one who insures claims liabilities from the warranty contracts. It’s important to look for insurance companies that are well-managed and well-capitalized because they are truly the foundation of your plans. This is the company that you’re building your reputation on when claims need fulfilling, even if your business fails. This is the group that needs to be trusted, vested and insured so you and your customers can have peace of mind.
A service contract provider is the company that is legally and financially obligated to repair or replace the customer’s covered product. This company is your business partner. They create and administer customized extended service plans on your behalf to meet your operations’ needs, customer expectations or product requirements, and in return, collect a fee for their services. Full disclosure of costs and margins is important because once plans are agreed upon with the service contract provider your store is able to mark them up accordingly or offer them to consumers at recommended retail prices.
If you’re not sure what you’re paying for, you have every right to ask your service contract provider a few questions to level the playing field:
1. How is your cost divided between insurance and administration?
2. What is each entity’s profit margin?
3. What is the program loss ratio, both overall and by product? If your loss ratio is very low it should give you the opportunity to lower prices to sell more ESPs, be more competitive or collect more profits and put them in your pocket.
4. Am I going to receive all the information I need on a regular basis to ensure I am getting the best price and product compared to the market?
5. Do you participate in a profit sharing program with your insurer?
6. Is my program compliant to protect my company’s brand reputation? Have all statutory compliance and filings been addressed?
7. If there is an insurer and/or re-insurer involved, what is the financial strength rating of each and who is your contact at the insurer?
The service contract provider and warranty administrator (or third party administrator) are usually the same organization. As a customer facing group, it’s critically important that your store has access to a contact person and your customers find it easy to work with this organization. They are also responsible for training your sales representatives on the ins and outs of selling warranty plans and how to facilitate a claim.
Since you’re paying the administrator a fee, you want to align yourself with well-respected companies that work hard to earn trust and deliver on expectations — for your store and your customers. Working with administrators that allow communication with all parties, including the underwriter, keeps the relationship in check and ensures plans operate smoothly and adhere to specific terms and conditions. Additionally, administrators contract with repair facilities to repair or replace covered products, so easy access and open lines of communication are essential in this relationship to ensure the parties involved — you and your customers — get what they’re paying for.
The Customer’s Role
The service contract is an agreement between the service contract provider and your customer. The service contract terms and conditions may state that for service or to report a claim, the customer should call a separate number to contact the warranty administrator. For your store, keeping the administration and underwriting under one umbrella provides a hassle-free arrangement that ensures warranty plans deliver positive results for customers throughout the life of the plans.
Is Your Plan Working?
While creating an effective warranty program certainly takes a little work, becoming educated about the process and asking the right questions to ensure you’re partnering with the right service contract provider is critical to the success of your business. Bottom line, knowing who the extended warranty players are and how they impact your business can mean the difference in profit and loss — of revenue and customers.
Filed Under: administrator, contract, customer, extended, insurance, plan, program, provider, service, warranty