Tag Archive | "Larry Dorfman"

Beyond the Full Product Suite


Interest among dealers in F&I production and profitability is elevated as profit margins remain compressed, new-vehicle sales show signs of plateauing, and dealers seek to maximize opportunities for service-department revenue. Among F&I product providers and administrators, the pressure to deliver benefits that appeal to agents and dealers and deliver real value for end users has never been greater.

To learn how the industry is keeping pace with the evolving needs of agents, dealers, and car buyers, P&A met with six high-ranking executives from some of the provider and administrator segment’s biggest players.

The Importance of a Full Product Suite

Matt Croak, president of Wise F&I, says his company constantly updates, changes, and augments its F&I product mix. Product development has been a focus for the past decade, he says, stressing that, to be competitive, a provider must offer a complete lineup. But in the age of digitization, they also have to do a whole lot more.

“A full suite of products isn’t enough; it’s having the technology to bring those products into the dealerships through online contracting and menu providers and adapting to changes in the car-buying process,” Croak says.

Like Croak, David Pryor of Safe-Guard Products International says his company invests heavily in product development — at the corporate level as well as with dealer clients.

“Program and product design is a key part of the Safe-Guard process and is usually one of the first discussions we have with clients,” says Pryor, who serves as the company’s CMO. “Over a series of product design sessions, Safe-Guard will be able to understand the client’s goals, desired customer experience, and, ultimately, design the program and product requirements to drive success.”

Tony Wanderon, president of National Auto Care, says offering a full product suite ensures every agent and dealer can find the products that fit their customers’ needs. Partnering with a full-suite F&I provider introduces “numerous efficiencies,” adds Dave Border, president of Allstate Dealer Services, including easier account maintenance, combined billing and commission payments, and improved reporting.

Larry Dorfman adds “consistency in sales and F&I training” — a key consideration for any dealer that is serious about F&I production — to the list of additional benefits brought by a full product suite. A single provider can offer “streamlined training for all benefits, rather than two or more different companies fighting for shelf space and confusing the employees with different training processes,” says the chairman of APCO, home of the EasyCare and GWC Warranty brands.

For Patrick Brown, president of IAS, a full suite is “more than just VSC and ancillary products,” noting that his company offers services ranging from income development and reinsurance to compliance training and marketing solutions. “We can help them grow their business by offering everything they need to increase F&I production.”

Defining the Full Product Suite

National Auto Care’s Wanderon says that his definition of “full suite” depends largely on the client, but most will include vehicle service contracts, GAP coverage, tire-and-wheel, and appearance protection as the most critical benefits, relegating other product types to a lower tier.

Pryor also includes prepaid maintenance on his must-have list, followed by “daily driving” coverage, including but not limited to tire-and-wheel, dent, windshield, and roadside assistance. He says Safe-Guard is working to “round out” its suite with lot-management, connectivity, and theft-deterrence and -recovery products.

“We’ll continue to evaluate how consumers drive and use their vehicles and make sure that we’re offering products that offer extra peace of mind and convenience,” Pryor says.

Allstate’s Border divides F&I products into categories: Service contracts offer long-term peace of mind, GAP adds a layer of security to financing, and appearance products assure the customer their investment will be protected against undue disfigurement.

“The ability to bundle a number of these products into a combo product can greatly simplify the presentation process and increase consumer comfort. Additionally, a provider with a full suite of products should offer a competitive reinsurance program,” Border says.

Brown agrees, adding that components such as income development and training, technology that streamlines the sale and administration of F&I products, and “multiple, A-rated underwriters” are somewhat less tangible but still valuable features that can help make a product suite complete. Finally, Dorfman says new technology can help dealers and managers build smarter processes and help establish lasting relationships with car buyers.

“It shouldn’t stop with vehicle coverage,” Dorfman says. “Retention tools like the SAVY Driver app tie the customer to their vehicle and to the dealership for service and repeat sales, which is instrumental in today’s digital age.”

As for which products to leave out, Wanderon says that, if pricing cannot be based on the underlying risk, he’s not comfortable with it. “In other words, some administrators underprice their products to gain market share, and we will not chase those who chose that path.”

Brown stresses that each of the products in IAS’s suite provide value to dealers and customers and that his company takes extra steps to ensure they are properly presented and sold.

“We’re not comfortable providing products that don’t have a clear benefit to the consumer. Additionally, we stay on top of the regulatory environment to ensure that products are being provided in a compliant manner,” Brown says.

Self-Administration and White-Labeling

Dorfman says each of APCO’s products are self-administered and -insured, noting, “Our EasyCare and GWC brands are on them and we assure the service delivers our brand promise.” Allstate Dealer Services “proudly” stands behind their products as both administrator and insurer, says Border, and his company develops and insures white-label products as a service for other admins.

“As a full-service F&I provider, we have complete control over the design and pricing of our programs and products,” Border says.

“We have seen a demand for white-labeled products in various channels and are able to provide that service for our clients,” says Croak, noting that Wise F&I administers every product in its suite. IAS and Safe-Guard self-administer nearly every product in their lineups, according to Brown and Pryor, with roadside assistance serving as a notable exception for both companies.

“Safe-Guard administers all of the products we offer except roadside assistance. Roadside requires significant scale to efficiently operate a 24/7 response center and the associated dispatch networks. We prefer to partner with a dedicated roadside provider to provide this service to our clients,” Pryor says.

Although more than 95% of his company’s products are self-administered, Brown prefers to rely on third parties for “smaller bolt-on services,” roadside included. “The key for us is ensuring that we have the ability to deliver the best product, service, and value to the consumer. We strongly prefer to do that in-house, but if we can’t, we partner with third parties to ensure that we can deliver best-in-class solutions.”

Wanderon says National Auto Care’s 34 years of experience in the administration business has been “critical” to the success of the company and its agent and dealer partners. He counts more than 6,000 dealerships, credit unions, and banks and finance companies on NAC’s administrative services roster and millions of contracts sold to date.

“We believe providing these services to our partners, along with the product offering, is imperative. Being the administrator allows us to have unwavering commitment to superior customer service and support,” Wanderon says. “In addition, it allows our partners to place their trust in us to take care of their customers — and the end consumers — in a time of need.”

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EasyCare® Promotes Scott Jacobsen to National Director of Business Performance for SAVY


NORCROSS, Ga. — EasyCare® (div. APCO Holdings) has named Scott Jacobsen as the National Director of Business Performance for SAVY®, the award-winning, dealer-branded mobile app suite designed to bridge the gap between the customer’s digital vehicle shopping experience and the dealership retail experience.

Based in the Atlanta area, Jacobsen will lead the SAVY team as well as the ongoing, store-by-store rollout of SAVY, which has earned a number of accolades since its launch including a first-place finish in the Tech Tank competition at last year’s Digital Dealer Conference & Expo.

“The response has been resounding. Our pipeline is full and we have already exceeded our second-quarter goal,” Jacobsen said, crediting SAVY’s success to its ability to transform lot operations and drive front- and back-end growth for dealers. “It’s all-encompassing. SAVY improves the upfront sales process and is the ultimate customer retention tool.”

Jacobsen joined EasyCare in 2011 as a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina. He played a pivotal role in the development and launch of the 7th Profit Center, a turnkey retention program that markets to dealers’ customers, resulting in vehicle sales, after-sale service contract sales and more service business.

“Scott has been integral to realizing our goal of connecting dealers and customers with industry-leading technology that helps deliver a better customer service experience,” said Larry Dorfman, Chairman and CEO of APCO Holdings. “We appreciate his hard work and look forward to even greater accomplishments in the years ahead.”

For more information, visit www.EasyCare.com/savy.

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Doug Frey Joins EasyCare to Lead New Agency Development and Acquisitions


NORCROSS, Ga. — APCO Holdings LLC, home of the EasyCare and GWC Warranty brands, announced the addition of Doug Frey to its executive team. Frey will serve as executive vice president of new agency relationships and acquisitions and will lead the company’s new agency development and acquisition campaigns.

“We believe the agency market has seasoned and that there are great operators out there looking for more from their administrative partners. There are also agencies looking for a company with the resources to work with them on continuing to grow their business while planning a successful exit strategy for the future,” said EasyCare’s chairman and CEO, Larry Dorfman. “We can uniquely provide either or both solutions. Doug has the highest integrity and is one of the most respected people in the industry. His background is perfect to lead this effort.”

Frey most recently served as COO of Allstate Dealer Services and brings more than 30 years of F&I industry experience to his role at APCO, including more than 15 years in senior executive roles.

“I have known Larry Dorfman, chairman, and John Lee, president of APCO Holdings, for 25 years. I admire what they have built with first-class service to agents and dealers,” Frey said. “The whole company has a unique culture that is focused on helping dealers and agents succeed. This company still operates with an agency mentality and that resonates with their agency partners. It is great to be with a company that has committed significant capital to growth and with a clear and well defined vision of the future.”

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EasyCare Appoints Steven Spivey as Director of New Agency Business Development


NORCROSS, Ga. – EasyCare, the leading provider of automotive F&I benefits, and dealer solutions that drive customer engagement and retention, announces the addition of Steven Spivey as Director of New Business Development. Spivey brings over 21 years of experience in implementing innovative training and professional development programs in the automotive industry. His background includes over a decade of in agency, dealer facing management experience working on a national and then regional basis as Vice President of CNA National.

In his new role with EasyCare, Spivey will be expanding EasyCare’s partnership opportunities with independent agencies and across the nation, helping them develop their business and cultivate more passionate and engaged relationships with their dealership customers.

“EasyCare is uniquely positioned within the industry because we don’t only focus on F&I. We provide a complete suite of benefits and technology designed specifically to help dealers create more passionate employees and customers and to help agencies assist their dealers in getting what they want and need from their franchises”, said Spivey. “I have the exciting role of engaging with industry leaders and innovators across the nation to help them succeed in their individual businesses.”

“Steven has an unparalleled reputation in the industry for his phenomenal track record of helping agents succeed,” said Larry Dorfman, Chairman/CEO of EasyCare. “He has a great work ethic and his values align with ours here at EasyCare; he’s a great fit for the company and we’re excited to see how he helps our agency partners and dealerships grow.”

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Easycare Appoints Pete Lee as Vice President of Product Development and Business Performance


Norcross, Ga.  – EasyCare, the leading independent provider of automotive F&I benefits and dealer business performance services, has appointed Pete Lee as Vice President of Product Development and Business Performance. Bringing 15 years of automotive experience to the table, Lee will be leading EasyCare’s Product Development and Business Performance teams, focusing on expanding the company’s line of F&I benefits and helping dealers improve processes and profitability.

Lee launched his automotive career in 2001 at EasyCare, where he worked for eight years. He then went out in the market to develop additional skills during the next seven years. He now returns to EasyCare, bringing with him a wealth of additional experience and expertise from various roles within the automotive and insurance industries.

“What brought me back to EasyCare is the culture and core values the company lives by. We offer our dealers an unprecedented level of support, engaging with them at every customer touchpoint to create passionate employees and customers,” said Lee. “We offer services beyond F&I, such as the Custom Dealer App, training programs led by industry-leading experts, dealer marketing and so much more. It’s a holistic approach to a dealership’s success.”

“Pete came to us from college and we knew back then he was going to be a superstar. His ability to connect the dots on literally any assignment and execute to success is really unique,” said Larry Dorfman, Chairman/CEO of APCO Holdings, Inc., EasyCare’s parent company. “Having worked with dealers and agents across the country during the past seven years, Pete has really expanded his knowledge of the business, so we are truly excited to have him back home at EasyCare.”

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Easycare Appoints Rob Mirra as National Director of New Business


Norcross, Ga. – EasyCare, the leading independent provider of automotive ownership benefits and dealer services that help dealers create more passionate employees and customers, has appointed Rob Mirra as National Director of New Business Opportunities. Mr. Mirra will be leading the building of new EasyCare relationships with dealerships across the nation who are interested in creating a better experience for their employees and customers, and driving more opportunity for success in every area of the dealership that touches the customer.

“Rob has a unique way about him that truly engages people. The relationships he builds last for years and we are excited to bring his special personality and talents to the EasyCare family. People engage with Rob because of his direct and honest approach, and his intense desire to help others succeed. Rob’s a perfect fit for our culture here at EasyCare” said Larry Dorfman, CEO of EasyCare.

Mirra brings with him over ten years of automotive experience. Having worked through the ranks as a sales person, F&I Manager, General Manager and owner of dealerships, he’s gained comprehensive insight into the industry on a grand scale. Prior to joining EasyCare, he was Executive Manager and Partner at Henderson Hyundai, and before that National Sales Director at Hyundai Capital America where he was primarily responsible for insurance, commercial credit and finance.

Mirra has served the public for many years as a veteran of the US Army and as a police officer for the Newport News Police Department.

“What I’m mostly excited about working at EasyCare is that we’re introducing a completely different approach to working with dealerships. Finance and insurance doesn’t start in the F&I office anymore. It starts at the first contact with the customer. Our business is more of a partnership and we help dealers engage their customers at every touch point. It’s a lot more personal,” said Mirra. “It’s important to continuously seek out new ways to fulfill the needs of our dealers and provide the most positive experience for their employees and their customers.”

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