Due to continual confusion in the past over the service contract provider category, this category was broken into two distinct categories this year - one for third party providers and one for the product providers that service dealer reinsurance companies. The overall satisfaction ratings between the two groups’ averages might cause dealers to think hard about which type of provider to choose, weighing the products and customer service of one group against the tax advantages of using the other.
The closest race ever in this category took place between the Diamond and Platinum winners, but CNA National (109.5) retained their Diamond Award status for the fourth year straight. Responding dealers continue to cite their outstanding level of customer support as one of their biggest assets.
"When choosing a service contract provider, dealers should focus on three key things," said Alan Miller, senior vice president of sales for CNA National. "These are: whether the administrator is owned by the insurance company and the financial strength of that insurer; the quality of claims service… and finally, representation by a stable, experienced agency."
Coming within reach of CNA was this year’s Platinum Award winner, Easy Care (109.2). This is the first award for Easy Care. Securing the Gold Award for 2008 was another perennial favorite, Zurich. Consistency in products and customer support seems to keep their dealers very happy from year to year.
This was a new category this year, created to evaluate how dealers who own a reinsurance company feel about their underlying service provider. The list of providers in this category is much smaller by comparison to many of the categories, and since it is only applicable to a portion of the entire dealer base, voting in this category was light. The group average was the worst of all categories at 81.3 , which was caused due to several providers scoring very poorly in both customer service and support. In the end, two providers qualified and ranked very well by comparison.
The Diamond Award winner is First Extended, who has a long and stable history in the reinsurance field. Their president, Patrick K. Donahue commented, “We have always been obsessed with providing management and tracking information that allows retailers to receive the full benefit of a well disciplined, well executed program.” To this, the dealers must have agreed giving them a rating of 103.0. Also, rating well above the average was Portfolio Warranty Services who earned the Platinum Award with a rating of 100.7.