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Road America Wins Stevie Award for IT Excellence

Miami, FL – Road America was awarded the Silver Stevie Award for Information Technology Department of the Year in the 2012 American Business Awards. The American Business Awards are the nation’s premier business awards program. All organizations operating in the United States are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small.

More than 3,000 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories, and for IT Department of the Year, Road America was chosen as the winner..

In January of 2011, the Road America IT Department, in collaboration with AT&T, launched a pilot test of LocateMe, which uses AT&T’s Phone Locator Service to pinpoint the addresses where emergency roadside assistance calls originate. Applicable on both land and wireless lines across all major U.S. carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and Metro PCS, and now fully operational, LocateMe can locate over 90% of the Road America customer base. In the summer of 2011, AT&T published a case study to highlight the shared success of this project.

“On behalf of everyone at Road America, I must say that we are extremely honored to be the recipient of a Silver Stevie Award. Our IT Department works around the clock to provide the most innovative solutions in our industry; and they, like the rest of the Road America team, are dedicated to offering unparalleled support to our clients and their customers,” said Dennis Fantis, President, Road America.

In 2011, following the success of LocateMe, the Road America IT Department started developing a mobile roadside assistance application for simultaneous launch across all major smart phone platforms using the same source code. Using Rapid Application Development (RAD) techniques the team developed Drive On and, by the fall of 2011, the app became available in web stores for iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

Finalists were chosen by more than 140 business professionals nationwide during preliminary judging in April and May. Over 10 specialized judging committees determined Stevie Award placements from among the Finalists during final judging.

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Road America

Kevin NeSmith, Director of Client Services

Can you give me a little bit of the history of your company and how it became involved in offering roadside assistance programs?

Road America has been providing emergency roadside assistance to motorists since 1978. In 2003, it was acquired by the MAPFRE Group, which operates an extensive international assistance network through its MAPFRE Asistencia division, the direct parent company of Road America. MAPFRE Asistencia is a leading international conglomerate providing emergency roadside assistance and general assistance services worldwide throughout 84 countries and 44 business units to 1500 corporate clients. As a division of MAPFRE, Road America gives large corporations proven financial peace of mind, long-standing business partnerships and a reputation for performance.

How do you distinguish your product offerings from your competitors? What makes you different?

Road America’s service portfolio includes a full range of comprehensive services, which clients can use to enhance the benefits provided by their company or to custom design a benefit offering or membership program that can be private-labeled to meet their company’s unique marketing or sales goals.

We represent the ideal fusion of organizational size, international strength and client-centric support. Road America is uniquely qualified to customize a program that will combine the needs of customers with the requirements of a program and ultimately deliver exceptional quality in speed of service; accuracy; reliability; and communication.

Road America delivers enhanced value to our corporate clients and their customers, highlighted by understanding and respecting everyone we serve. We have spent over 30 years identifying and designing the most comprehensive selection of quality vehicle-related assistance services, such as:

• Roadside Assistance Services
• Call Center and Customer Care Services
• Recall Assistance
• “Reunite” Service Programs
• Dealer Locator Services
• Specialty Automotive Assistance Services

We also offer many value-added products such as custom trip routing, trip interruption assistance, car theft reward, legal fee reimbursement, mechanical repair savings, rental car arrangements at disablement sites and discounts on car rental, hotels, major attractions and more.

Where do you focus your sales efforts when it comes to selling this service? EG: direct sales via dealers/agents; bundled with service contracts, etc. What would you consider your primary sales channel to be?

For more than 34 years, Road America has been building a respected reputation as one of the most reliable and responsive roadside and assistance providers in the United States. We specialize in servicing prestigious brands that trust us with their customers and, by extension, their corporate reputations. Through this firm foundation, and with their referrals, we have been able to expand our portfolio of business.

Our products and services are thus sold through a variety of sales channels that benefit our client partners, such as dealers/agents, bundled with services contracts, included in membership benefits programs, etc.

How important is technology to your business? Where could technology add even more efficiencies to your products and processes?

Service and efficiency improvements through technology and IT innovation have always been and remain a key corporate objective. More specifically we aim to continually create best-in-class technology platforms, enhance mobile technology, add more automation of our offered services and continue to develop new technologies that enhance, improve and add value to each customer experience.

Some examples of the technology Road America has developed to increase efficiency include our receive and dispatch application – RADIISNT – a Web-application that can interact with external applications and/or databases using standard web services for real-time exchange of data in XML format. We also produced our own registered mobile app Drive On, which is a device-independent wireless application that allows customers to make direct roadside assistance requests and receive text notifications with status updates; it is supported by all major platforms – iPhone, Blackberry and Android.

Another product that has added more efficiency to our processes is LocateMe. Developed with AT&T, LocateMe is a GPS technology solution for pinpointing breakdown locations in seconds, which was unique to the motor club industry. With a landline communication or wireless phone, Road America is able to pinpoint the customer’s precise coordinates to ensure that our service providers on scene arrive at the vehicle’s exact location.

We at Road America believe technology can add efficiency in every division of our product offerings and will always continue to strive to develop technologies to make such improvements possible.

Where do you see the most growth potential for roadside assistance products in the future? What changes, if any, do you believe the product will see in the next 5-10 years?

Roadside assistance, always in high demand, offers a value-added product. Our industry is therefore one from which most outside companies can benefit. Our products will continue to change and mold to their evolving environment. More specifically speaking, through constant technological advancements our product will become more efficient and cost-effective.

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