Tag Archive | "Safe-Guard"

Safe-Guard Canada Announces New Montreal Training Facility

ATLANTA — Safe-Guard Canada today announced the opening of a new training facility located just outside of Montreal to better service Quebec clients and their dealers.

The new location will allow Safe-Guard to broaden retail training and development support for dealers within Safe-Guard’s client roster, including BMW Canada, Harley-Davidson Financial Services, Honda Financial Services, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Nissan Canada Extended Services Inc., Porsche Financial Services, and North American Automotive Group.

Safe-Guard offers a wide range of retail training and development, including certification courses, regional workshops and meetings, and train-the-trainer opportunities. The new Montreal facility includes a boardroom to host corporate and dealer personnel, a large training room that will be utilized for multi-lingual training, and business offices staged like real F&I offices to simulate real-world scenarios.

Safe-Guard’s F&I training curriculum includes product knowledge, sales techniques, compliance basics, and the customer experience — all led by expert Safe-Guard sales and training staff with real-world dealer and F&I experience.

“We’re very excited about the opening of our new Montreal training office,” said Scott Ashby, general manager of Safe-Guard Canada. “Our new facility will allow us to better service our Quebec partners and coach them on the latest F&I product knowledge, how to build value for their customers, as well as compliance standards in order that we can help them grow their businesses and create long-term customers.”

Safe-Guard has been serving Canadian customers since 2001 and has their main office in Mississauga, Ontario. The new Safe-Guard Canada sales and training facility in Montreal opened April 1, 2018.

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Safe-Guard Appoints Finance & Insurance Leader Scott Ashby as GM of Canada

ATLANTA – Safe-Guard Products International announced that Scott Ashby has joined the company as General Manager of Safe-Guard Canada, Ltd.

“I am pleased to welcome Scott to the Safe-Guard team as General Manager of Canada,” said David Pryor, CMO of Safe-Guard. “His role will be vital to servicing our Canadian clients and their dealers as well supporting the next stages of growth within our company.”

With over 15 years of experience in finance and insurance, automotive product development, operations management, and automotive retail, Ashby’s experience and knowledge will serve the growing Canadian finance and insurance market well. Most recently Ashby was Aftersales Program and Operations Manager for Nissan Motor Corporation and National Manager of Nissan Canada Extended Services, Inc. which offers financial and insurance products to Nissan and Infiniti dealers across Canada.

Safe-Guard Canada has been serving Canadian customers since 2001 and operates a state-of-the-art facility in Mississauga for their call center and operations management and sales training. Safe-Guard Canada supports clients such as Harley-Davidson Financial Services, Honda Financial Services, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Nissan Canada Extended Services, Inc., Porsche Financial Services, and North American Automotive Group as well as their dealers across Canada. With continued growth in the Canadian automotive industry, and increased focus from auto dealers on Finance & Insurance (F&I) products, Safe-Guard Canada saw contract volume grow over 70% in 2015 and is poised to support clients with another successful year in 2016.

“We continue to see growth in the Canadian market,” said Pryor. “Our existing clients are adding new products and solutions, dealers are seeing success with branded programs supported by training and sales support, and consumers continue to demand care-free auto protection. We’re excited to support clients and their dealers with a complete finance and insurance solution.”

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Safe-Guard Expands Presence With New Office On West Coast

Atlanta, Ga. – Safe-Guard opened a third office location in Irvine, Calif. to better service clients across the United States and Canada. With recent growth in the automotive industry, an increased focus from auto dealers on F&I products and desire from consumers for complete and care-free auto protection, demand for F&I products is at an all-time high. Established in 1992, Safe-Guard is headquartered in Atlanta and opened an office in Toronto to service Canadian clients in early 2013.

The expansion to Irvine also allows Safe-Guard to grow its training capacity and support West-coast partners in training initiatives through Safe-Guard University. The office includes advanced training facilities and technologies to host corporate, regional and area sales persons. Safe-Guard University and other customized training programs are led by Safe-Guard managers with real world dealer experience.

“We’re very excited about the opening of our Irvine office,” said Randy Barkowitz, CEO. “Client service is an important part of who we are. Having an office in Irvine will allow us to focus on West-coast partners to help them grow their business and create long-term customers. And having a state of the art facility on the west coast will help us expand our training capacity in order to continue to propel our client’s business forward.”

The Safe-Guard Irvine office opened in December 2013.

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Making the Case for Excess Wear & Tear Products

When I started researching this story, I had ten companies on my list of providers to call. While leasing has traditionally not been as heavily targeted when it comes to selling F&I products, I nevertheless found it interesting that at the end of the day, the vast majority of providers I called didn’t carry this particular product.

Which leads me to wonder why. Zach Matta, director, Product and Business Development, Family First Dealer Services, actually had a good explanation for it. “A very strong OEM presence exists with Excess Wear & Tear (EWT) due to the fact that a large majority of leases are held by OEM captives or OEM-partnered finance companies,” he noted. “It’s clear why; considering EWT protects and most often increases CSI scores which in turn supports retention efforts, one of the core tenets of the leasing concept. The lesser EWT presence is of Third Party Administrators (TPA). There are few TPAs that stand out above the rest in this product category. Why? It is not clear. Theories include faithful underwriter relationships, the volatile loss environment of the past and the protection of loss data. In terms of the future of the market, we will see OEM’s continue to hold the majority market share for the same three reasons there are few TPA players in this space.”

That being said, two providers do offer the product, and had some interesting insights into it. One was the increasing need for higher coverage amounts. Dave Duncan, president, Safe-Guard Products International noted that his company increased it’s coverage from $500 per occurrence to $1,000 per occurrence. “Technological advancements are the main reason the per-occurrence coverage of our program has increased from $500 to $1,000,” he noted. “For example, windshields now incorporate heads-up displays and rain sensors. It may cost more than $500 to replace a windshield. While limits are in place so Excess Wear & Tear coverage isn’t used instead of primary insurance, as components become more advanced, we’ll see more claims that are more than $500.”

That additional coverage becomes even more important, with many lease companies becoming far more inflexible about waiving customer fees, said Gerry Gould, director of training, United Development Systems. “In the past many excess wear & tear charges could be negotiated and often times reduced or even waived if the customer leased or purchased with the same manufacturer after the lease was terminated. I think it’s safe to say that today the lease companies have become less flexible as a result of the loss ratios in the past. Many lease companies are now sticking to what is stated as normal versus excess use & wear on their lease agreements.”

He went on to note that in many cases, the dealer used to conduct the inspections at the end of the lease, but now, many lease companies have their own third-party inspectors on sight making the determination as to what’s normal and what would be considered excessive wear and tear. Which makes this product even more attractive.

Then and Now
While the product continues to evolve, American Auto Guardian Inc. (AAGI) noted that it believes it created a product to fill a need almost a decade ago. “AAGI was the first provider to introduce an excess wear & tear product back in 1997,” said Kristen Gruber, vice president of product development. “We wanted a product designed for lease customers and there wasn’t much to offer at the time. The product was a natural fit because most customers were familiar with the excess wear and tear provision in their lease agreement and they understood their accountability for damages at lease end. Customer satisfaction at lease termination is key to brand loyalty and excess wear & tear is a great way to improve CSI and increase retention.”

Gruber believes that leasing rates as a whole will remain fairly stead over the next few years. She believes the growth of this product won’t come from larger pool of customers, but instead from showing more of those customers who lease the value of the product. “AAGI’s growth will come from expanding our existing agent and OEM base as well as developing additional product niches,” she noted.

Duncan agreed, noting that the key to growing the product category is showing the lease customers the value of the products. “Leasing is approaching 30 percent of the market,” he noted. “Although finance managers have less F&I products to offer, since GAP comes with the lease and many lease terms fall under the factory warranty period, smart finance managers will offer products with the most benefits for lease customers. In addition to excess wear & tear, tire & wheel is a core product for lease customers. Paintless dent repair, windshield protection and key replacement are also great products to offer to lease customers.”

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Safe-Guard Announces Two High-Profile Additions To Its Management Team

Atlanta, Ga. – Safe-Guard Products International LLC hired Kaizer Siraj as Chief Information Officer, and named David Pryor to Chief Marketing Officer.

“The addition of Kaizer and David to the Safe-Guard management team represents the beginning of the next phase of the Safe-Guard story. Already the industry leader in customer service, we can now leverage that strength to build our marketing and IT capabilities that will continue to drive growth and excellent service for our partners,” said Randy Barkowitz, CEO, Safe-Guard Products. “Our investment in industry-leading talent is just one more way that Safe-Guard sets itself apart in the F&I industry and allows us to maintain our unrivaled position in the market. The automotive purchase experience has been transformed by the digital revolution, and manufacturers are increasingly focused on customer experience as a differentiator. Safe-Guard is now even better positioned to capitalize on this changing environment.”

Siraj is responsible for overseeing Safe-Guard’s portfolio of technology platforms and the continued development of technology-based product solutions. He brings more than 15 years of leadership experience in information technology, including global implementation, product launches, mobile technology, critical system management, quality assurance, security and application development within the wireless, retail and warranty/insurance industries.

“I am excited to lead Safe-Guard’s expanding investment in technology solutions for our partners. Our industry has often lagged consumer expectations, which have recently been transformed by the capabilities of emerging digital and mobile platforms. I see a tremendous opportunity to bring my 15 years of experience in the telecom and retail industries to Safe-Guard and our clients,” said Siraj.

Pryor will lead Safe-Guard’s marketing relationships with the company’s agent, national retailer and OEM partners. Pryor brings more than 15 years of automotive OEM experience to Safe-Guard. Most recently, he was brand vice president for Jaguar North America, and prior to that, he was the chief marketing officer at Porsche Cars North America. He has served in a variety of roles in the automotive industry including marketing, product development, finance, aftersales and customer relationship management.

“Safe-Guard has an incredibly compelling story that is waiting to be told. As a marketer I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity: A respected brand, great customer service and a strong management team with an overwhelming desire to deliver innovative products and services,” said Pryor. “I look forward to drawing on my 15 years of automotive experience as we continue to lead the industry in delivering solutions to the changing F&I landscape.”

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Please give us a short background to your company and the broad product categories that you support and sell (VSC, GAP, Theft, etc.)

Safe-Guard Products International, LLC offers exceptional F&I products, effective income development and unparalleled customer service. By incorporating extensive industry knowledge and a client-first approach, Safe-Guard has become the leading provider of F&I products in the automotive aftermarket industry while also offering a wide array of products for the RV/trailer, marine and powersport segments.

With a complete product portfolio and sensible technology solutions, top OEMs, dealers and agencies choose Safe-Guard more than any other provider. Safe-Guard’s product suite includes GAP, tire & wheel, theft protection, lease wear & tear, paintless dent repair, windshield protection, roadside assistance, identity theft protection, key replacement, planned maintenance, interior & exterior protection, mechanical protection and emergency notification. The company is also a leader in e-business solutions, menu software, training and income development.

There are many different types of products in the Theft category. Which ones do you support and why?

Safe-Guard Theft Protection

Safe-Guard’s theft protection product suite includes window etching and parts labeling. Safe-Guard is also the administrator for the guarantee benefit for LoJack.

Safe-Guard’s theft protection programs help to prevent vehicle theft and aid in recovery in the event a theft does occur. Most importantly, the product suite assists in the financial trauma that is caused as a result of a theft.

Window etching permanently “etches” the vehicle’s windows with identification numbers while parts marking permanently marks the vehicle’s body parts (i.e., trunk, hood and doors) with labels that leave indelible identification numbers that can only be seen with ultra-violet light. In the powersport segment, Safe-Guard also utilizes DataDots, which are tiny microscopic discs (microdots) that contain unique identifiers. The identification numbers from these products are tied to the vehicle and registered in a national database, which can be scanned by law enforcement officials to trace the vehicle’s ownership. In addition to aiding in recovery, these visible markings deter thieves because “chop shops” do not want a vehicle with marked parts.

Safe-Guard’s theft protection programs also offer a benefit in the event the vehicle is stolen and not recovered to help with expenses not normally covered by insurance companies. Payoff deficiencies, deductibles and replacement vehicle costs, such as down payments, sales taxes and miscellaneous fees can be covered by the financial benefit.

Which type of Theft products do you not support and why?

GPS has never shown any traction in the F&I office. In addition, since alarms have become standard equipment on many vehicles, it has become a duplicate product from the F&I point of view. At Safe-Guard, we believe in products that allow the dealership to get into the theft protection business with little cost, which means products that are easy to install – ones that don’t require extensive rewiring or that could create mechanical complications during the installation.

In which circumstances do you encourage dealers to sell each type of Theft product?

Safe-Guard trainers and representatives encourage dealerships to etch or mark their entire inventories through a lot program. It is easy to pre-install window etching or parts marking on every vehicle. Every customer (new, used, finance, cash and lease) should be offered theft protection. And with etching or marking, the theft protection program can be presented as a simple transfer of protection from the dealership to the consumer. However, it is crucial for dealerships to fully disclose to consumers that this product is optional.

How does the future look for Theft products in the F&I Suite and which type of Theft products do you believe will be the most successful?

Safe-Guard was the innovator of window etching as a theft protection product and is still responsible for the majority of the theft protection programs being sold in F&I offices today.

At the end of the day, dealerships want to offer theft protection for the lowest investment possible, which means not getting the service department involved. Etching and marking theft protection products are easy to install.

With the added financial benefit in the event a vehicle is not recovered, these products offer tremendous value to the customer. He or she is in a good position to purchase his or her next vehicle. This in turn creates the opportunity for great loyalty to the dealership.

In the marketplace, theft protection has made a comeback over the last five or six years. Among Safe-Guard’s products, theft protection is third in penetration, rivaling tire & wheel protection.

Because this product not only offers consumers peace of mind when purchased but also does such an extensive job of taking care of the customer in the event a theft would occur, theft protection will continue to be a successful core F&I product for years to come.

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