Jeff Jagoe, senior vice president of sales and marketing
Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Tire & Wheel category?
Founded in 1984, IAS was created to provide practical aftermarket programs and high quality administration and claims. IAS helped define tire andwheel as an aftermarket product offering in 1998 because we anticipated the need and found the program to be such a relatable and tangible product that is easy to market. We saw explosive growth in our tire and wheel program about a decade ago, during the wide spread adoption of menu selling.
What makes your product different from others on the market? How do you differentiate it?
Our tire and wheel product is different because of the levels of coverage we offer to the dealer. We have tire and wheel programs that cover curbs, cosmetic alloy wheel coverage, chrome wheels, run flats, etc. The dealer can pick a program that covers curbs or does not cover curbs. The dealer can pick a program that repairs or replaces tires, or the dealer can pick a program that tires are only replaced. We strive to design programs where both the dealer and finance manager feel comfortable selling, and the service department feels comfortable in the value it’s offering dealership customers. In addition, to make the claims process easy and accessible for service departments, IAS offers credit card payments to our dealers.
What is your primary sales channel? How do you market to that channel?
IAS works with several large dealer groups to customize and private label several of our most popular programs, including tire and wheel, but our primary sales channel is through our top-notch team of general agents. We market to our general agents through one-on-one communication with our sales staff, at industry conferences, in training events and IAS sponsored workshops, and indirectly through automotive publications. In addition, we have a full time general agent recruiter.
How has technology impacted Tire & Wheel in the last year, if at all? Do you see it having an impact in the future? Why or why not?
eRating: As tire and wheel classification becomes more complicated, the need for electronic rating becomes more obvious. With six classes, as well as additional surcharges, it is no longer the case that a dealer has a single price for tire and wheel. Electronic rating eliminates all of the guesswork when it comes to pricing tire/wheel.
eContracting: Unlike a service contract where a claim is typically not filed for several years, a tire and wheel contract might have a claim event the same day it’s sold or a few days later. With a normal paper contract and remittance process, a tire and wheel administrator has no knowledge of the customer until the contract has been remitted, which may take 30-60 days. With an eContract, on the other hand, IAS receives the customer information in real time, so if there is a claim before the contract is remitted, our claims staff is able to process it without having to verify coverage with F&I.
Online claims: IAS received a huge number of phone calls and pays an equally large number of claims each month, and although our claims staff boasts the best answer times in the industry, there are some service departments that would rather process claims online. Plus, online claims can be filed 24/7 whereas phone based claims have limited hours.
Actuarial studies: IAS’ VIN decoding partner, Chrome Data, is able to extract a large amount of data about the tires and wheels installed on a vehicle, and the IAS data analysis team has been using this data to better predict tire and wheel losses. Rather than utilize just historical claims data, which most often does not include the most recent model years, our analysis team can study VIN based data to predict claims costs based on things like a tire’s aspect ratio (low profile or not), the existing of chrome wheels on a vehicle, and average tire radius. This “crystal ball” analysis helps IAS price tire/wheel in the most fair and appropriate manner.
In your opinion, where is the greatest growth potential for the Tire & Wheel category?
IAS is continually seeking ways to improve our product offering, and over the last five to ten years, we have made cosmetic, curb and class modifications to our tire and wheel product. We implemented cosmetic and curb changes so that we could offer dealers and customers an upgraded or advanced version of tire and wheel. Given the number of cars, trucks and SUVs that are equipped with upgraded wheels on the market today, IAS sees cosmetic coverage on alloy wheels to have the greatest growth potential in the coming year.