AmTrust EPLI product: low-cost and absolutely vital—it’s a win-win

Employment-related claims are a serious risk to any business. To lessen that risk, AmTrust offers Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) coverage—a comprehensive, low-cost product that is necessary to protect small businesses from employment practices liability exposure, especially in today’s lawsuit-happy world.

Our EPLI product provides free risk management services that were previously available only to larger companies. In addition, our EPLI product provides the insured with coordination of defense counsel, rather than selecting their own, which has shown to reduce costs by more than 35%.

Types of Coverage

The AmTrust EPLI product provides coverage for all employees including full-time, part-time, seasonal, temporary, volunteers and dedicated independent contractors and includes both Standard and Enhanced coverage options. The enhanced version covers inappropriate third party conduct and punitive damages.

EPLI-related Insured Events include:

Discrimination

Sexual harassment

Wrongful termination/demotion/discipline

Failure to hire/promote/fire/demote

Wrongful infliction of emotional distress

False imprisonment/detention, malicious prosecution

Libel, slander, defamation of character

Invasion of privacy

The website, http://www.amtrustworkplace.com, provides the following resources:

Online training to prevent sexual harassment—that meets stringent requirements in several states

Online training for following proper procedures of employee terminations

Online training to prevent employee discrimination

Information on compliance with wage and hour laws

Customizable employment policies and procedures, available in English and Spanish

Example employee handbooks

Human resources policies

FAQs

EPLI is straightforward, low cost, and is easy to add

The AmTrust EPLI product has every advantage and no downside. EPLI can be automatically added to class-qualified policies; it has straightforward underwriting rules; and it is low cost.

Additionally, our EPLI product also provides personal contact within 24-48 hours of all claims submitted; and, includes a risk management website for both agents and insured’s.

For additional information on EPLI coverage, please contact your Regional Sales Manager.

For more consumer tips and information regarding extended warranties and vehicle service amtservicecorpcontracts, be sure to visit: https://www.facebook.com/amtservicecorp

Extended Service Plans: More Value, Less Uncertainty

Everyone understands the importance of savings. We’ve been taught from an early age that the sooner you start saving, the better off you’ll be later down the road. Setting aside funds can increase your purchasing power when buying a home, prepare you for retirement at an earlier age and cover your expenses should you need emergency funds — all smart investments toward getting ahead and staying ahead.

However, a recent nationwide survey by Hart Research Associates shows that 48 percent of Americans say that they do not have the savings they need to achieve financial stability. In today’s economy, it is especially challenging to set aside rainy day funds for those unexpected moments that can drain your bank account and set you back even further. That is why it is in your best interest to consider an extended service plan (ESP).

Designed to help customers manage the cost and inconveniences of product failures, an ESP can be purchased for just a fraction of what you would normally pay for service repair. In some cases, the savings can add up to hundreds of dollars and even mean the difference between paying just a little extra cash as opposed to purchasing an entirely new product. Plus, there are several other advantages to consider with an ESP.

  1. Today’s plans and service programs are more affordable than ever before
  2. You’ll have added peace of mind knowing that your purchases will be fixed or replaced if something goes wrong
  3. If you are having trouble with a product, you’ll have immediate access to a qualified service professional who can diagnose the problem, saving you time and money
  4. A Warrantech ESP can readily be customized to fit your wants and needs

Above all, an ESP can protect you from incurring deeper debt and help save you money in the long run. This in turn can free up your finances so that you are able to accumulate greater wealth and maintain a respectable savings. And as most financial-savvy individuals view their major purchases as an investment worth protecting, an extended service plan should be considered a smart addition to your savings account.

For more consumer tips and information regarding extended warranties and vehicle service contracts, be sure to visit: https://www.facebook.com/amtservicecorp

Filed Under: Extended, plans, service, Warrantech

Get Ready. Fall Car Care Month Is Here

October is Fall Car Care Month. The milder temperatures make this the perfect time of year to get out and make sure your car is road ready. After all, you don’t want to wait until a blustery winter sets in, do you?

Even more important to consider, AAA regularly anticipates coming to the aid of more than one million stranded motorists during the year-end holiday season. This can really put a damper on your holiday spirit when you consider that most of these emergencies are highly preventable. Some of the more common problems involve:

  1. Dead or corrosive batteries
  2. Tires with excessive wear
  3. Damaged brake systems that isn’t equipped to deal with wet and icy road conditions
  4. Limited visions due to worn wiper blades, low windshield washer fluid and defrosters that aren’t working properly

Alarmingly, a recent report by the Car Care Council shows that three out of four cars, roughly 77 percent, are currently in some need of service or repair. As you can see from the accompanying info graphic, engine oil is the top culprit when it comes to vehicle trouble, followed closely by engine coolant. Brake, steering, and transmission fluids are also important to the performance or your automobile and should be checked regularly.

Eventually, of course, all cars require routine maintenance and service. A vehicle service contract (VSC) is a great way to plan for this inevitability and could save you time and money. In fact, a VSC can provide you with several value-added extras such as discounts on oil changes, towing, rental cars, locksmiths, roadside assistance and hotels in the event that something does go wrong. Plus, you’ll have 24-hour technical assistance and access to qualified service professionals.

If you still have questions about what to look for on your vehicle, the Car Care Council offers a free 60-page guide on their website which covers major car components and service recommendations. Plus, while you are at their site, you can set up service schedules, get DIY tips, use an online diagnostics tool to identify any car problems, locate a mechanic and much more. That way you are always prepared for what’s down the road and your vehicle is good to go year-round.

For more consumer tips and information regarding extended warranties and vehicle service contracts, be sure to visit: https://sites.google.com/site/amtwarranty/amt-warranty-provide-you-with-the-extended-service-plans

Filed Under: AAA, Car, Care, contract, Council, service, Vehicle

A Holistic Approach to Warranty and Service Contract Claims

The Fourth Annual Extended Warranty & Service Contract Innovations Conference recently took place in Nashville, Tennessee. One of the major topics covered was the industry’s image problem. Warranty Week was there to cover the event and submitted an article regarding Warrantech’s involvement. The following is an excerpt.

Sean Stapleton, president & CEO of Warrantech Corp., part of AmTrust Financial Services Inc., also spoke at the conference last week.

His presentation in Nashville, entitled “A Holistic Approach to Warranty & Service Contract Administration,” looked at a service call not only as an opportunity to fix a broken product, but also as an opportunity to cement a relationship with the customer.

“How the service provider responds to a claim will drive the customer’s perspective about the underlying failure,” he said. If it goes well, the customer will have a higher level of satisfaction than even cases where there was no claim.

Escalate It

Stapleton said service contract providers should never let the customer forget why they bought the coverage. In fact, he suggested that in cases where the customer’s product failed soon after it was purchased, the service provider should really make a fuss about it.

Maybe an early failure requires a response with a heightened service level, and a heightened sense of urgency? Maybe the failed product should be replaced with an upgraded unit and a sincere apology? Or maybe it’s just a matter of giving the customer a gift card, as some sort of compensation for their troubles?

Stapleton also suggested that service providers have to acknowledge that some of their social media activities need to go beyond just marketing, into actual problem resolution. And that can get tricky, because a service contract company such as Warrantech is really operating behind the scenes, supporting their retail and OEM clients and the brands they sell and manufacture.

For instance, a manufacturer or a retailer may post items to Facebook, and a disgruntled consumer may see one of those posts and take the opportunity to voice a complaint about a repair gone badly. Others see the complaint and add their own comments, and soon it’s hundreds of follow-up comments that have nothing to do with the original post. The longer it sits there unresolved, the more abuse it attracts.

Alternatively, let’s say there’s a complaint, and soon there’s a response from the company, and the problem is resolved. People read that and note the quick response, and they begin to form an image of the brand based upon its ability to respond quickly to problems.

Imagine, for instance, it’s the lonely Maytag repairman, who seemingly has nothing better to do than to monitor the appliance company’s Facebook page. When someone complains, there’s nothing more urgent in the world than fixing that problem. And the conversation is there for all current and future customers to read.

Brand Image Protection

That can turn out to be even more important a service for an administrator to provide than it is to operate a massive 24-x-7 call center that responds to complaints over the phone. For while a phone call is private, a Facebook thread is public for all to see, much like an advertisement run on television.

“I’m a huge advocate of using your partner’s brand versus building our own brand,” Stapleton said. “We’re the guy behind the scenes.”

Another attendee wondered how that would work, since it would require the administrator to essentially speak in the name of the retailer or manufacturer.

“It’s their brand you’re messing with,” he suggested.

“No,” Stapleton responded, “it’s their brand we’re protecting.”

For more consumer tips and information regarding extended warranties and vehicle service contracts, be sure to visit: https://www.facebook.com/amtservicecorp

Filed Under: AmTrust, customer, Financial, Sean, service, Stapleton, Warrantech

Vehicle Service Contracts Grow in Popularity

More than ever before, car buyers are purchasing vehicle service contracts to help prepare for the unexpected and save money on expensive repairs.

The Service Contract Industry Council (SCIC) estimates that consumers bought more than 10 million vehicle service contracts in 2012 for both new and used vehicles. Those service contracts covered 95 percent of annual claims filed, including repairs necessary due to normal wear and tear, providing coverage above and beyond a traditional manufacturer’s warranty.

An increasingly popular choice due to the rise in car repair costs, the SCIC points out that vehicle service contracts offer value and predictability by protecting the vehicle well after the manufacturer’s warranty expires. A vehicle service contract also offers additional coverage that isn’t offered in the original equipment manufacturer’s warranty.

The new technologies and complex components in today’s motor vehicles put consumers at greater risk for big out-of-pocket repair costs than ever before, said Timothy Meenan, SCIC executive director.  Service contracts help consumer’s better deal with the unexpected, so they don’t have to worry when expensive unforeseen repairs are needed.

The SCIC adds that today’s vehicles are made up of more than 10,000 components, yet the standard power train warranty covers only a fraction of them. The average new car has six to 20 computers that control everything from fuel injection and antilock brakes to airbag deployment. Those systems can be expensive to repair, due to both the high cost of parts and labor costs that can run as high as $250 an hour for specialized repairs on luxury vehicles.

For more consumer tips and information regarding extended warranties and vehicle service contracts, be sure to visit: https://www.facebook.com/amtservicecorp

Additional Benefits of Having a Vehicle Service Contract:-

A vehicle service contract covers systems not typically included in the manufacturer’s power train warranty, such as air conditioning, heating, power windows, electronics and navigation

Most service plans pay for the cost of a rental car while your car is in the shop—standard manufacturer’s warranties do not

When selling a vehicle, service contracts can be transferred to a new owner, which increases its value

Access to certified auto technicians

24/7 customer support and technical assistance

Filed Under: consumer, contract, service, tips, Vehicle

WCM Conference Keynotes

Sean Stapleton, president and CEO of Warrantech/AMT Warranty will be presenting at the 2015 Warranty Chain Management Conference on March 11 in Miami. The following is an excerpt from Warranty Week in anticipation of the event. 

 

The technology is changing. The need for repairs is changing. Even the concept of ownership is changing. And the way people shop is changing. Two industry experts describe how they see these changes impacting warranty and service contracts.

At this year’s Warranty Chain Management Conference, attendees are immediately going to be challenged to face the changes that new technology is forcing upon our industry.

It’s going to be a bit upsetting, especially to those who like the status quo. Rather than hearing about the latest best practices in the break/fix business, and how everything is slowly going to get incrementally better, attendees are going to be told how driverless vehicles will challenge the whole idea of automobile ownership, and how comparison shopping apps that seek out the lowest prices have made it tough to earn a living in retail.

A pair of warranty industry experts will deliver a one-two punch of keynote presentations at the WCM Conference on March 11 in Miami, about the impact of disruptive technologies upon warranty. We spoke with both of them this week about their presentations.

John Estrada opens the morning session with a talk about how driverless transportation will change warranty and service contracts, followed by AMT Warranty’s Sean Stapleton talking about how warranty and service contracts can help save retail from its downward spiral, by making value and customer relationships as important as low prices.

WCM’s Morning Schedule

In the WCM program, Stapleton’s 45-minute presentation is called “Combating the Retail Pandemic,” a title he said he came up with a few months ago when the Ebola scare reached the United States. They’re by no means the same thing, but in economic terms, the current state of the retail environment provokes a comparable level of fear for many veteran merchants whose iconic organizations are facing possible extinction.

“I certainly wanted to grab everyone’s attention, but more importantly I felt that the title set the stage for a discussion about a very serious and widespread situation for retailers and manufacturers,” he said. “A pandemic is a disease that has a disastrous impact felt both locally and globally.” And he said that many colleagues and friends in the retail industry are dealing with a profound change in both customers and the marketplace where a low price seems to be the main determining factor for product purchases. So they lose the sale, or they get the sale but lose money anyway.

In other words, the sales slump that’s hurting many of them comes not just in terms of revenue but also in terms of profitability. “Margin erosion has impacted retailers in ways never seen before,” he said. Price will always be a factor when a product is purchased, he added. This is nothing new – the modern difference is the ease by which customers can obtain pricing comparisons and make purchases through multiple sources.

The Great Recession

Stapleton said some people blame the current retail challenges on the lingering effects of the Great Recession – the decline of household income, aging baby boomers, rising unemployment, or falling home values. Others say it’s the lack of innovation, or the lack of exciting new “must-have” products.

“The reality is that there has been product innovation: smart phones, 4K and Ultra HD, wearable’s, advanced car tech, and highly functional tablets. You look at the growth the CEA expects for these segments, and it’s tremendous. So the innovative products do exist.”

Meanwhile, the economy may not be as strong as we would all like, but it’s not as bad as some people make it out to be, he said. The U.S. Census Bureau pegs the January-to-January sales gain at 3.3%, which isn’t great but also isn’t dismal. Total retail sales for the November-to-January holiday period were up 3.8% from the same period a year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate is now down to 5.7% and the median price of existing home sales is up 6.2% since last year. So what is it?

Ironically, he said, in an era where retailers are perhaps more connected with their customers than ever before, thanks to social media and big data, those connections are more superficial than ever.

“The heart of what I’m going to discuss is that many retailers and manufacturers are just not achieving a high level of loyalty and commitment from their customers,” he said. “Part of the problem is that we’re living in the ‘Age of Like.’ We see this play out on Facebook every day, with users happily clicking the thumbs up icon for just about anything they see. However, that’s where the customer commitment often ends. ‘Like’ should not be our collective goal. To be successful we need to aspire to win the love of our customers. The reality is that overall we aren’t seeing the same level of affinity for brands that we used to enjoy.”

For instance, Stapleton said, his father always bought Kenmore appliances. “He loved his Kenmore appliances because, in his mind, they earned his trust and loyalty year after year” he said. “He wouldn’t dare shop for another brand. Sadly, we don’t have that kind of an environment anymore.”

“As warranty and service contract professionals, we have a unique opportunity to affect customer loyalty,” he said. “We have the ability to turn a negative experience into a powerful trust building moment with customers. Customers recognize and accept that product breakdowns can happen to even the most reliable products. The customer’s perception of the product issues is more often driven by our responses.”

Stapleton further noted that one of the greatest challenges with service contract programs arises when a customer’s claim isn’t covered under the contract, whether as a result of an expired contract or other reasons. “In such situations, there is still an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive.”

He suggested that there are plenty of instances when no coverage exists, but accommodation can still be made to assist the customer and provide them value. Accommodations may take the shape of providing a product replacement or repair outside the service contract. However, there are other solutions that are less frequently utilized that can have a major positive effect with minimal financial impact.

For instance, Stapleton noted that broken products not covered under a plan can be purchased back from customers based on the products core value. Additionally, discounts on replacement products can be provided or even gift cards with token values which can be applied to future purchases can be offered to customers. The actual cash value is less important than the act of going the extra mile for a customer.

Discount Repair Services

Stapleton proposed another low-cost marketing idea: leveraging a claims administrator’s repair network by making it available to customers who have a non-covered product issue. Why not offer loyal customers discounts on repairs for their customer-pay jobs related to these types of product issues, or even for other products they own?

“Here’s how I see it: Warranty and service contract programs are developed by operations groups. However, the marketing departments of the retailers or manufacturers are rarely involved in the development of these programs. And I think that creates a level of disconnect. I see service contracts and warranty programs as one of the most powerful loyalty solutions out there. It actually is a game changer,” he said.

Manufacturers and retailers might not know the name and address of every single customer, but they certainly have that data for those who needed warranty work or who made claims under their service contracts. With this information, a critical segment of their customer base can be identified and hopefully saved.

Stapleton suggests that marketing departments utilize claims data to establish a loyalty campaign tailored toward these affected customers. “The fact is that some of these customers may have been your best customers in the past. The data currently residing in a company’s system can provide them the ability to know how and when a customer’s perception of them soured. Moreover, that data combined with a strong retention plan can help return the customer to their former loyalist status. Further, this type of strategy can prevent the impacted customers from becoming one of your net detractors.” He noted that with the power of social media, disenfranchised have the ability to shape an enormous population of existing and potential customers’ views of your product or company.

Ultimately, he said, when structured and executed appropriately, warranty programs build trust and loyalty. Stapleton said it is inexcusable to allow one claim to impact a lifetime relationship with an existing customer. “Instead of spending the majority of available marketing resources to bring in new customers, let’s keep the ones you have. Let’s prevent them from getting out into social media and destroying your reputation based on one poor claim event.”

The first step, Stapleton suggests, is to change the whole image of warranty within the retail industry. “If you want to change the perception of warranties and service contracts for customers, you have to change it internally first. We can’t allow warranties and service contracts claims to be viewed as an unfortunate expense. We need to view them as a marketing opportunity that can potentially save a customer thereby leading to countless future purchases and maybe even a means to evoke positive customer emotions that go beyond ‘like.'”

To read this article in its entirety, go to Warranty Week. And be sure to visit Warranty Conference for more information regarding the WCM Conference.

Filed Under: claimsConferencecustomerseconomyretailSeanserviceStapletonWarranty

Using the Better Business Bureau to Purchase Your Vehicle Service Contract

A vehicle service contract is a great way to cover service repairs and maintenance costs that inevitably come with ownership. It not only allows you to protect your investment and increase your car’s value, it provides you with a reliable way to make payments that fit within your budget so that you can avoid having any large or unexpected bills.

But do you know what you’re getting with your vehicle service contract? Does it meet your exact needs and match your particular driving habits? And, most importantly, who is the provider? The Better Business Bureau has compiled a list of helpful questions for you to consider before purchasing your vehicle service contract:

  • Who backs the service contract? It may be the manufacturer, dealer, or an independent company. Many service contracts sold by dealers are handled by independent companies called administrators. Administrators act as claims adjusters, authorizing the payment of claims to any dealers under the contract.
  • What’s the cost of the auto service contract? Usually, the price of the service contract is based on the car make, model, condition (new or used), depth of coverage and length of contract. The cost of the service contract can range from several hundred dollars to more than $2,000. In addition, you may need to pay a deductible each time your car is serviced or repaired.
  • What is covered and not covered? Few vehicle service contracts cover all repairs. Watch out for absolute exclusions that deny coverage for any reasons. For instance, if the contract specifies that only “mechanical breakdowns” will be covered, problems caused by “normal wear and tear” may be excluded.
  • How are claims handled? When your car needs to be repaired or serviced, some service contracts permit you to choose among several service dealers or authorized repair centers. Others require the car owner to return the vehicle to the selling dealer for service. Find out if you will need prior authorization from the contract provider for any repair work or towing services. Ask how long it will take to obtain authorization and whether you can get authorization outside of normal business hours.
  • What are your responsibilities? Under the contract, you may have to follow all the manufacturer’s recommendations for routine maintenance, such as oil and spark plug changes. Failure to do so could void the contract. To prove you have maintained the car properly, keep detailed records, including receipts. Find out if the contract prohibits you from taking the car to an independent station for routine maintenance or performing the work yourself. The contract may specify that the selling dealer is the only authorized facility for servicing the car.
  • What is the length of the service contract? If the service contract lasts longer than you expect to own the car, find out if it can be transferred when you sell the car, whether there’s a fee, or if a shorter contract is available.

Make sure that you read and thoroughly understand the agreement before you sign, and check to see that all verbal promises have been included. It is also a good idea to contact the Better Business Bureau for a reliability report on the business offering you the contract. A quick visit to the BBB website can tell you instantly whether or not a business meets their Accreditation Standards for integrity, honesty, transparency and responsiveness. http://www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/

Filed Under: BetterBureauBusinesscontractserviceVehicle

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