Tag Archive | "The Warranty Group"

Assurant Completes Acquisition of The Warranty Group

NEW YORK — Assurant, which provides vehicle service contracts through its Assurant Solutions business unit, announced the closing of its acquisition of The Warranty Group from TPG Capital.

Following the closing, the risk management solutions provider announced several appointments to its global automotive leadership team, including the appointment of John Laudenslager as president of Assurant Global Automotive.

“We are excited to close our acquisition of The Warranty Group, which significantly advances our global lifestyle growth strategy of helping consumers protect their appliances, mobile devices, and electronics, while solidifying our global position as the premier provider of vehicle protection services,” said Assurant President and CEO Alan Colberg. “The combination of our two companies will support ongoing product and service innovation for the consumer, while we expect to realize significant operating synergies and generate more diversified and predictable earnings over time.”

The transaction’s $2.5 billion total enterprise value reflects approximately 10.4 million Assurant shares, or $993 million based on the acquisition agreement’s closing price, and approximately $1.5 billion in cash — after considering the repayment of The Warranty Group’s $594 million in existing debt.

The Warranty Group, which has annualized revenues of more than $2 billion (as of March 31, 2018), brings new client partnerships and distribution channels, including dealer networks and national accounts to Assurant. Jointly operating across 21 countries, the addition of The Warranty Group also provides additional resources to accelerate the company’s mobile strategy in key markets such as Asia-Pacific, according to company officials.

As part of the transaction, Peter McGoohan and Eric Leathers, both representatives of TPG Capital, will join Assurant’s board of directors and serve on the board’s compensation and finance and risk committees, respectively.

Laudenslager, a 30-year industry veteran who previously served as president of Assurant’s global vehicle protection services operations, will now lead a team consisting of executives from both companies. “With John at the helm of our global automotive business, this team will leverage our collective expertise in risk management, product innovation, operations, client services and program optimization to best support our clients and their customers,” said Keith Demmings, president of Assurant’s global lifestyle business unit.

On Laudenslager’s leadership team is Charlie Robinson, who will continue to lead the team serving the U.S. dealership and agent distribution channels as president of Assurant Resource Automotive — a role he held with The Warranty Group. He brings more than 40 years of experience in the F&I segments of the automobile retail industry.

Additionally, Justin Thomas, former executive vice president of The Warranty Group’s North American Specialty Solutions division, will now lead U.S. automotive national accounts for the combined companies. He will also serve as president of financial services at Assurant. Thomas spent 11 years with The Warranty Group, serving in various account management, sales, and operations positions across the company’s auto, appliance, technology, and administration groups.

Assurant officials also announced that Daniel Lenczner, the firm’s former senior vice president of strategic business development, will assume the role of senior vice president of the company’s third-party administrator group. He has more than 25 years of experience in the automotive and insurance industries.

Assurant also announced changes to its international leadership team. Those appointments can be found here.

“I’m looking forward to leading this talented team, which brings together the best of both organizations,” said Laudenslager. “The collective experience of this team will provide continuity and additional value and benefits to our clients, while also driving innovation in the vehicle protection industry.”

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Craig Robinson Named President of AAGI

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — American Auto Guardian Inc. (AAGI) announced that Craig Robinson, a 20-year veteran of the insurance and third-party administration segments, has joined the company as president. Tim Brugh, who has held the title of president since May 2013, moves into the CEO position.

Robinson started his career with Aon Warranty Group, driving operational results through dealership and manufacturer clients. He went on to manage clients such as CarMax, as well as all automotive, appliance and electronic, powersport, medical device and furniture third-party administrators on behalf of The Warranty Group’s wholly-owned insurance company, Virginia Surety Company.

In June 2011, Robinson was named executive vice president of the The Warranty Group’s Latin American region, a role in which he led all elements of the company’s business in Mexico, Central America and South America. Most recently, Robinson worked for the largest non-publicly traded dealer group in the United States before providing consulting and brokerage services to third-party administrators, private equity companies, and other business in the automotive aftermarket product industry.

In his new role as AAGI president, Robinson will coordinate strategy and development for AAGI’s products, services, and technology, as well as assume responsibility for the company’s day-to-day operations.

“I’ve had a tremendous amount of respect for AAGI for more than a decade,” Robinson said. “After many conversations with Tim regarding his vision for the company, I knew this was the right fit for me.

“AAGI is often referred to as the best company many people have never heard of. Well, that’s about to change,” he added. “We have enormous aspirations and I look forward to working with Tim and our entire team of automotive experts to capitalize on what’s been built to date. The sky’s the limit for AAGI, and I’m incredibly excited to help continue shaping the company into a dominant force in the automotive aftermarket space.”

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An Interview with Aaron Lunt

In late August at Paris Las Vegas, Aaron E. Lunt delivered “F&I Products, Regulators and the Presidential Election,” a dynamic opening keynote address that served as a crash course in the design, sale and regulation of F&I and other insurance products. As an attorney and executive, Lunt helps make the big decisions at The Warranty Group, where he serves as assistant general counsel and head of regulatory affairs. P&A caught up with Lunt to talk about his love for the law, the rigors of college athletics, and the past, present and future of compliance.

P&A: Aaron, what made you want to become a lawyer?

Lunt: I was a business administration major at Trinity Christian College, which I attended on a partial basketball scholarship. I considered making political science my major, but it just didn’t make sense. A professor encouraged me to take the LSAT, and I did reasonably well. I was able to get into the John Marshall Law School here in Chicago.

But I should tell you my interest in the law was originally piqued by my high school soccer coach, Bob Thomas. He was a placekicker for the Chicago Bears in the 1970s and ’80s. He became an attorney and later an appellate court judge, and he currently sits on the Illinois Supreme Court. He mentored me and was highly influential in my decision to pursue the law as my career.

P&A: What was law school like?

Lunt: Intense. Law school is designed to beat you up a little bit. In the first year, they scare you to death. Then they work you to death in the second year and bore you to death in the third. There is an unbelievable amount of reading.

The goal is to develop your analytical and reasoning skills. They use the Socratic method. The professor calls on a student and you literally could be on for the next 45 or 50 minutes, answering questions and lobbing counterarguments. Then you take an exam at the end of each semester, and that’s your entire grade. It was intense, and the competition was fierce.

P&A: Did you excel?

Lunt: I did. I made the law review, which is the preeminent journal each law school has, and it’s typically only open to students who rank in the top tier. I would say I quickly emerged as a thought leader.

P&A: How did you end up practicing law in the automotive industry?

Lunt: My first job out of law school was with an insurance defense law firm. I then migrated in-house at Zurich Insurance, where I learned all about corporate law and compliance, and then to The Warranty Group. So you could say I fell into it. It’s really a combination of your first job and where your passions lie that dictate the type of law you practice.

When you’re an in-house lawyer, you need to be part of your company’s strategic planning. When you’re with an outside law firm, more often than not, you react to problems as they manifest. You have no financial connection other than your fee. When you’re working in-house, your client is your employer, and you need to be prescient. You’re navigating the headwinds of the market, the regulatory environment and the broader economy. You need to help the company move forward.

P&A: An attorney friend of mine once told me a good lawyer will tell you what you can do, whereas a bad lawyer only knows what you can’t do.

Lunt: I agree with that statement. A lot of legal departments get labeled as the “deal prevention unit.” You can come in with a great idea or a great new client relationship, and the lawyer says there are too many problems. I spend a lot of my time on strategic development initiatives. I understand our direction, the type of clients we want to win and the types of products we want to sell to consumers. Being engaged on the front end enables me and my team to think of compliant solutions early, so business goals and objectives can be attained.

P&A: Are friends and family always asking you for free legal advice?

Lunt: It happens from time to time. They often ask about family or estate planning issues, which I know little about, as it’s not my area of expertise.

P&A: Do you resent that? Wouldn’t you rather they asked about your other interests?

Lunt: No, I don’t. I do wish I could be more helpful at times. Someone might need technical guidance on a particular area of law, which I know little about, but I oftentimes can be helpful in assisting them in breaking down the issue or pointing them to a resource. So I don’t resent it. I can put my analytical and problem-solving skills to use and help coach them in the right direction.

P&A:Do you often get to work with agents and dealers?

Lunt: Not as much as I would prefer. Our frontline sales team primarly handles those relationships. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in our industry, and I love that. We are an industry of problem-solvers and we work in an industry that is important to the national and global economy. People are looking for financial peace of mind when they buy a protection product. Our organization is excited when we are able to assist a consumer in their time of need to fix their automobile, which is the mode of transportation to get them to work, to see family, to the grocery store, to community outings, or just about anywhere they need to be. We want to do the right thing as an industry.

P&A:You have spoken at three Compliance Summits. Are you encouraged by what you’re hearing there?

Lunt: I am. I think it’s a great event that brings together agents, dealer principals, providers, attorneys, compliance professionals — it’s just a great cross-section of industry stakeholders. We can get too focused on the day-to-day and miss the bigger picture. What are the really big issues? You learn new things from each other and new business happens.

P&A: Do you believe the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will attempt to regulate the pricing and sale of F&I products?

Lunt: The CFPB has said they’re looking at the add-on products market. I don’t know exactly what that means or where they’re looking to go; only time will tell. To this point, the CFPB has focused primarily on lenders and how add-on products are marketed. I think the industry, however, has an incredible opportunity to explain our value proposition to the CFPB and consumer organizations. We have to counter some of the negative perceptions with education.

P&A: Will that require a structural change? Do we have to bring F&I out of the back office?

Lunt: Not necessarily. I don’t think we need a structural change. With the advent of the Internet and increasing sources of information, we have a more educated consumer. The degree of knowledge is only going to grow, for a variety of reasons. The F&I office is the traditional way to distribute product, but there are direct-to-consumer companies competing for those customers. So they have a lot more choice than they’ve had and certainly more access to information.

P&A: Do you think there’s enough good information about F&I products out there to counter the high-profile consumer advocates who are telling car buyers they don’t need them?

Lunt: No. I think there is an opportunity to provide information on the importance of extended warranties and service contracts, as well as help educate consumers on selecting the best provider for their needs.

P&A: Are you from Chicago?

Lunt: I am, born and raised in the northwest suburbs.

P&A: Tell me something about Chicago that most people don’t know.

Lunt: Most people don’t know that Chicago is literally a little insurance capital in North America. You’ve got several insurance companies headquartered in Chicago or in the Chicagoland area. The Warranty Group was founded in Chicago in 1964. But other major players have a significant presence, including Zurich, CNA and Allstate. You’ve also got several brokers with headquarters or a substantial presence in the area. Chicago has a lot of industry; it’s almost like the Wall Street of insurance.

P&A:It’s funny you say that, because I’m calling from Hartford, which bills itself as the insurance capital of the world.

Lunt: Hartford certainly has a big piece of the insurance industry. I’m not trying to dethrone Hartford. But Chicago has so much industry, and it’s in the center of the United States. So in my opinion, it has a geographical advantage over Hartford. Our city has a lot of things going for it.

P&A: What do you do in your spare time?

Lunt: I’m married and we have three children, all boys. We are involved in a lot of sports, including soccer and basketball. We like to swim as a family. And we are very active in our local church.

P&A: You played basketball at the college level. Do you still play competitively?

Lunt: No, I do not, other than with my kids. It’s hard to find time, and I would be worried about injuries. It would be difficult to commute if I blew out my knee or twisted my ankle. Not to mention the fact my skills have greatly diminished since my playing days!

P&A: Don’t you miss it?

Lunt: I miss the competition, intensity and discipline of being a collegiate athlete. But I channel that energy into other areas. The lessons I’ve learned from playing competitive sports have translated well into my professional career.

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The Warranty Group, Inc. Names Nelson J. Chai as President and Chief Executive Officer

CHICAGO – The Warranty Group, a leading global provider of warranty solutions and underwriting services, announced today that Nelson J. Chai will join the company as its new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective January 4, 2017. Thomas W. Warsop III, President and Chief Executive Officer since August 2012, will leave to pursue other opportunities after overseeing a transition to Mr. Chai.

“The TWG team is one of the best I have worked with throughout my career, and I know the company will continue to be a leader in the warranty, loyalty and business intelligence landscape,” said Mr. Warsop.

“Tom was instrumental in transforming the company from a spun-off division of Aon Corporation to a formidable, stand-alone competitor with industry-leading capabilities in major markets around the world,” explained Eric Leathers, Chairman, Board of Directors, The Warranty Group, Inc. “On behalf of the Board and TPG Capital, I thank Tom for his leadership and service.”

Mr. Chai is former President of CIT Group, Inc., a publicly-traded commercial bank with a market capitalization of over $8 billion and more than $65 billion in assets. He has a track record of success at some of the largest and most successful public companies in the financial services industry, including serving as Chief Financial Officer of Merrill Lynch & Co., NYSE Euronext, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, and Archipelago Holdings, the first fully-electronic stock exchange in the US.

“The Warranty Group has been an industry leader for more than fifty years and I am honored to be entrusted to position it for continued growth in the future,” said Mr. Chai. “I look forward to the opportunities ahead and working with the TWG team.”

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Compliance Summit Heads West

Welcome to the inaugural Las Vegas Compliance Summit! Our series of regional events has made stops in Miami, Chicago, Austin and Tampa, and we can’t wait to share our program with you here at Paris Las Vegas.

Compliance Summit was designed to deliver a crash course in federal regulations and enforcement actions and help you build sustainable sales and F&I processes without sacrificing productivity or profitability. If that sounds like a tall order, it should, but our speakers know how to get it done. Here’s what we have in store:

Welcome Address

Our first speaker is Andy MacKay, executive director of the Nevada Franchised Auto Dealer Association (NFADA). He is a fourth-generation Nevadan who previously served as chairman of the Nevada Transportation Agency and as a partner in several private enterprises. MacKay is charged with protecting the interests of more than 100 new-car dealers in his state, and we are grateful that he has agreed to share his thoughts and kick off our event.

F&I Products, Regulators and the Presidential Election

Attorney and compliance expert Aaron Lunt of The Warranty Group will touch on a number of hot-button issues in his opening keynote address. He believes increased compliance and regulation is the most significant pressure point for dealers today, and he will explain the roles federal agencies and state attorneys general — and, yes, even our next president — will play in shaping the compliance landscape in the years ahead.

The Buck Stops Here: Dealers, Compliance and Enforcement

Few compliance experts command as much respect as Terry O’Loughlin, a former regulator with the Florida attorney general’s office who now serves as director of compliance for Reynolds and Reynolds. He will explain why dealers, not managers nor staff, bear the onus of compliance, and how having the right policies, tools and best practices in place is the best way to protect your operation.

Knowledge Is Power

Our first panel session will be led by compliance expert and attorney Michael Maledon and staffed by Bob Balak of Compli, Alpha Warranty’s Darin Ramos,  Steve Roennau of EFG Companies, and Timbrook Automotive Group’s Dina Wilson. Maledon and his experts will sort through the complex maze of rules and regulations to identify and focus on the best practices dealers are using today to keep up with changes and withstand scrutiny.

Luncheon Address

Our luncheon speaker is Jim Radogna, a San Diego-based compliance expert and trainer. Before founding Dealer Compliance Consultants, he served as compliance officer for a large auto group, the apex of a 15-year retail career that also included roles in F&I and sales management. Radogna will offer his views on the state of dealer preparedness and discuss compliance issues unique to the Western states.

Compliance Traps Your Store MUST Avoid

Attorney Jim Ganther of Mosaic Compliance Services is a dealer advocate and a Compliance Summit mainstay. His address will cover the common mistakes made by dealers in a highly regulated environment, how to avoid them, and how to train managers and staff to ensure your sales and finance processes remain up to code.

Leadership, Teamwork and Accountability

I have the honor of leading our second panel discussion, which will focus on the individual roles owners, managers and staff — and, in particular, your appointed compliance officer — play in protecting your dealership and your customers. I will be joined by Justin Gasman, the award-winning finance director at McCaddon Cadillac Buick GMC in Boulder, Colo., and compliance experts Michael Tuno and Max Zanan of ARMD Resource Group and Total Dealer Compliance, respectively.

The Paper Trail: A Dealer’s Best Defense Witness

Compliance expert and trainer Gil Van Over, founder and president of gvo3 & Associates, will take the stage to discuss your documentation program — or lack thereof. In a sales and finance process that requires the customer to sign their name 80 times or more, you need to establish and enforce a set of rules that can serve as a defense against litigation claims and government inquiries. With your operation on the line, every signature counts, and consistency is the key to your paper trail.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Our final panel discussion will be helmed by United Development Systems (UDS)’s Brian Crisorio, who will be joined by Erika Ahern of CNA National, Doug Fusco of Dealer Safeguard Solutions, F&I Express’ Brian Reed, and Iris Spiegel of Miller Automotive Operations. This esteemed group will turn our discussion from the theoretical to the practical, detailing the simple, actionable processes and controls dealers are implementing in F&I offices nationwide.

Is It Compliant? 

Day One ends with a bang as our master of ceremonies, Bob Harkins of American Guardian Warranty Services, will facilitate “Is It Compliant?,” an open-forum discussion among Compliance Summit speakers and attendees. This is your chance to pose your toughest questions to our experts and share the challenges you have faced in your dealership and market. So don’t hold back, and remember: Compliance Summit is your event!

Certified Automotive Compliance Specialist Review and Exam

Day Two brings your opportunity to earn Certified Automotive Compliance Specialist status following the successful completion of a four-hour review session and a satisfactory score on the exam that follows.

The review session is divided into two parts: Part 1 runs from 8:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. and will cover such topics as ethics, vocabulary, Reg Z and M, adverse actions, ECOA, FCRA, credit applications and more. After a break, Part 2 starts at 10:00 a.m. and ends at noon; this session will include Magnusson-Moss, the Used Car Rule, Red Flags, Safeguards, OFAC, Unfair, Deceptive or Abusive Acts and Practices (UDAAP) and more.

After a half-hour lunch, the exam itself will begin at 12:30 p.m. and end at 2:00 p.m. But the fun doesn’t end there.

Industry Summit

Your Compliance Summit registration also grants you full access to Industry Summit, the auto retail and finance industry’s premier training event. You can drop in on sessions covering topics ranging from needs discovery and objection-handling to lender relations, the used-car market correction and everything in between. Tour the exhibit hall, take advantage of the free meals and join us for evening receptions.

I am so happy you have decided to join us for Compliance Summit. We take great pride in our event and we have been encouraged by all the positive reviews, phone calls and emails that followed our first four conferences. I hope you take full advantage of everything this week has to offer.

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Charlie Robinson to Keynote F&I Think Tank at Dealer Summit

TAMPA, Fla. — Organizers of Dealer Summit announced that Charlie Robinson, president and COO of the Resource Automotive division at The Warranty Group, will deliver the keynote address for F&I Think Tank, a preshow event that will take place on Tuesday, May 3, 2016, at the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel.

“Charlie is the only guy I know who has held executive-level positions with a major retailer and with one of the top F&I product providers in the country,” said David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of Auto Dealer Today and F&I and Showroom. “His presence at F&I Think Tank is a vote of confidence in our event, and I expect the dealers and dealership managers present to pay very close attention.”

During his 32-year tenure, Robinson has led the company’s U.S. auto business to a leadership position in the industry. He is a highly sought-after speaker and a trusted source for a number of industry publications, including ADT and F&I. Robinson’s address highlights an all-day schedule that includes eight sessions led by some of the nation’s top F&I producers and experts.

“I am honored to be the F&I Think Tank keynote speaker at Dealer Summit,” Robinson said. “This is a great opportunity for dealer principals and F&I professionals alike to learn from the industry’s leading F&I producers.”

Dealer Summit attendees are welcome to attend F&I Think Tank for no additional charge. Registration is now open at the event’s website. Dealers who register by April 1 will enjoy a $100 early-bird discount.

For information about exhibition and sponsorship opportunities, contact David Gesualdo via email hidden; JavaScript is required or at 727-947-4027.

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