Innovative Ways To Increase ProfitWritten By: Mary Seaman
Article Date: 10-03-2005
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
Advanced Insurance Solutions helps dealers increase business.
While insurance may not be the first thing that comes to mind when dealers consider ways to boost profit, that's exactly the goal of Advanced Insurance Solutions. "Thinking that drives profits" is not just the company's slogan - it's the cornerstone of the company.
Based in Nashville, Tenn., Advanced Insurance Solutions (AIS) is in the business of creating opportunities for dealers and rental companies to improve their core businesses through insurance.
President Linda Turner founded the company in 2003 after spending more than 20 years in the insurance industry. Prior to starting the company, she served as president of Caterpillar Insurance.
According to Turner, she started the agency and consulting firm specifically to supply insurance products and services to equipment manufacturers and dealers.
"We are the first company," says Turner, "to bring this type of insurance solution to the dealer. Our expertise creates new value and a healthier bottom line for some of the industry's leading manufacturers, dealers and rental companies."
What AIS Does
AIS provides extended service contracts, physical damage insurance, liability insurance, used equipment warranties and inventory protection, including loss damage waivers. Unlike other insurance agencies that sell standard insurance, AIS writes policies tailored to the customer's needs.
"We make the dealer an insurance agent so they are in essence a co-broker with us," says Turner. "We arrange the product for them and the relationship with the insurance company, and we help them through the entire process."
Those dealers that are not interested in handling the product are provided with an 800 number, so that when a customer is buying equipment the dealer can refer that customer to AIS. In addition, manufacturers come to AIS for help in providing insurance products to their dealers.
"What sets us apart from other insurance agencies," says Turner, "is that we not only understand the needs of dealers and customers, we are able to meet those needs by working with our insurance company partners to write custom policies."
How does AIS help dealers generate revenue and reduce costs? Most of the policies and programs AIS offers are designed to assist dealers in selling parts, service and equipment. In addition, dealers are able to reduce costs, as AIS eliminates most of the administration.
AIS products are designed to enhance a dealer's relationship with the customer by adding value. For example, AIS might show a dealer how different extended warranty plans could help their customer keep his equipment running and keep him in business. This not only gives the dealer a "cradle to grave" touchpoint, it also heightens that dealer's value to the customer.
"If your customer trusts you with equipment issues, they can trust you with their insurance needs," says Turner.
Dealers that sell physical damage insurance will not only know when there is a claim, but they'll be able to sell their customer new equipment, if needed. In addition, dealers will receive all the parts and repair business on that equipment throughout its lifetime.
"If you get into an accident, a typical insurance company tells you where to take your car to get it fixed," says Turner, "but we want the dealer to be the one working with the insurance company in order to receive that
One of the most unique characteristics of AIS is that all of their products have been written from the dealer perspective.
For example, one of their extended warranties allows a dealer to sell used equipment from more than 100 manufacturers with a 90-day warranty. By offering a used equipment warranty, dealers are not only likely to gain additional business, they can also enhance the relationship with the customer.
In addition, if a problem occurs during the warranty, the dealer provides the service under warranty and the end user walks away happy with the hassle-free claim.
"When you sell something "as is," you're putting a red flag on it," says Turner. "With this one product, dealers can sell used equipment with confidence and they don't have to label their used equipment "as is.'"
AIS is in the process of releasing an extended service contract that will allow a dealer to choose the number of hours and years on the contract. While most company's programs are for fixed years and hours, with the AIS extended warranty, the customer chooses the years and hours of the contract. As long as the equipment is in its first life - it will be covered.
The physical damage policies available from AIS allow the dealer, the customer and the insurance company to make a combined decision.
Together, they decide if the dealer has a used piece of equipment on the lot comparable to what had been damaged or destroyed. If the customer is amenable, the dealer can then give the customer that piece of equipment, and the customer can get back in business faster. And, of course, the cash option is still available.
AIS can show a dealer or rental company how to use loss damage waivers on their rental fleets. The rental customer is not required to produce certificates of insurance, and the dealer's revenues increase.
"We see our role as being the catalyst to making strategic industry changes," says Turner. "We want to help make the insurance product a real marketing tool for the dealer. It's not insurance as you've ever known it."
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