Tag Archive | "agents"

American Guardian Announces 2018 Growth Plan, Promotion of Key Executives


WARRENVILLE, Ill. — F&I product provider American Guardian Warranty Services Inc. (AGWS) announced the promotion of several key executives, including the appointment of Jon A. Anderson as president and COO. The moves are part of the company’s 2018 plan to grow its marketer base, revenue, and service team. The company also revealed plans to significantly rebrand its Compass Auto VSC program.

Touting a 30% revenue increase in the last five years, the F&I product provider plans to expand its agency base by 25%, enhance and expand its service team at its corporate office as well as at its East Coast sales office. The company also plans to expand its field team. And as part of its rebranding of its Compass Auto VSC program, the company said it plans to improve the product’s eligibility, coverage, and value.

“Since our company was founded 20 years ago, American Guardian has been proud to offer a full suite of F&I products that provide excellent coverage and value, while allowing for higher profitability for dealerships,” said Anderson. “Extended service contracts, appearance protection, warranty protection, and tire-and-wheel coverage are just some of the products that American Guardian offers. We also provide reinsurance services, capital advance, and e-rating for products to help dealers become more profitable and productive.”

Anderson started as the company’s first salesperson in 1998. Since 2011, he has overseen the national sales and marketing teams as senior vice president of sales and marketing and is responsible for the company’s record growth, expansion of the sales team, and updated processes.

According to company officials, AGWS has grown its staff by 36% since 2016. Last year, it hired 32 new employees.

The company also announced the appointment of Ric Simmons as executive vice president and CFO. He joined AGWS in 2004 as CFO with an extensive background in public accounting. Simmons was promoted to senior vice president and CFO in 2011.

Also promoted was Dan Lievrouw. He was named executive vice president, CIO, and president of American Guardian Systems Inc. Lievrouw has overseen the IT operations since joining American Guardian in 2008. His role was expanded in 2011 with his promotion to vice president of IT and operations.

Lievrouw’s promotion will allow him to continue developing opportunities and technology tools that have been instrumental in American Guardian’s growth. Company officials noted that the ongoing evolution in dealership technology has increased opportunities for American Guardian’s continued expansion of services.

The company also announced that Matt Weil was promoted to vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary. He has served as legal counsel for American Guardian Group of Companies since 2006. In 2011, his title was elevated to vice president and general counsel.

The F&I product provider also named John Wendt senior vice president of claims and underwriting. Wendt has overseen American Guardian’s call center since its inception in 1998. In 2011, Wendt’s role was expanded to include underwriting when he was promoted to vice president of claims and underwriting. Since then, his role has evolved as the company’s services and support teams have increased in size over the last couple of years.

With more 35 years in the industry, Wendt has continually provided expertise and steady guidance to the increasingly demanding call center, the company said. With his promotion, he will continue to oversee the busy claims area while assisting the company in other areas.

Lastly, the company noted that one of its new hires in 2017 was Jim Fisher, who serves as assistant vice president of dealer programs. He is responsible for finding, analyzing, and recommending programs that American Guardian’s agents can market to their dealership customers in the automotive, RV, powersports, marine, and commercial trucking industries.

Fisher was a nine-time winner of the Chrysler Award of Excellence and won Ford Motor Co.’s coveted President’s Award. He has trained more than 7,000 automotive salespeople over the course of his more than 40-year industry career.

“We offer great products and services at American Guardian,” Anderson said. “I believe that American Guardian will lead the industry by offering unparalleled service, focusing on continuous improvement, and not only meeting but exceeding the expectations of our partners and customers.”

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SouthwestRe Recruiting Independent Agents to Service New Territories in Expansion Effort


ALBUQUERQUE, NM – SouthwestRe announced today that it plans to aggressively expand into new territories beginning in the 2017 calendar year. The Company is now recruiting independent agents to support this effort throughout the continental United States.

“Our expansion plans have been long in the making, and we are eager and excited to put them into action,” said Eddie Eckert, President of SouthwestRe. “Although SouthwestRe has strong relationships with many agents throughout the country, there are many states where we currently lack representation. With the assistance of our new and veteran agent partners, we expect SouthwestRe’s nationwide footprint to expand dramatically in the coming year and beyond.”

As part of its comprehensive commitment to agents, SouthwestRe offers:

  • Agent-controlled commissions – agents have the power to determine their financial success
  • A suite of over 30 F&I products – automotive, powersports, RVs, and class 3-8 trucks
  • Agent and dealer reinsurance programs – for every situation, and all of our products are reinsurable
  • OLÉ – SouthwestRe’s suite of online assistant tools, integrated with many F&I menu systems
  • Personal training – both one-on-one, and through regular webinars and agent seminars
  • Two in-house claims departments – fast, friendly, fair adjudication in Dallas and Albuquerque
  • Expert Sales Support – to help agents seal the deal, either by phone or right on premises
  • Client Services – with the right answers and personal support agents need
  • Marketing Solutions – with proven, quality POS materials that engage customers and really sell

“I would like to encourage all independent agents to learn more about SouthwestRe today,” Eckert said. “We pride ourselves on being ‘The Right Choice’ for agents, with the right products, the right service, and the right results. A partnership with the right company can be very beneficial to an agent’s career, and without a doubt, SouthwestRe is that company.”

If you are an independent agent and would like to join SouthwestRe in its expansion efforts, please click here, email email hidden; JavaScript is required, or call 866-414-3867. Note: SouthwestRe works with independent agents only. This is not a solicitation for direct employment.

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GSFS Group Launches F&I Performance Reporting Tool


HOUSTON, TX — On Tuesday, F&I product provider GSFS Group launched a new centralized online performance reporting tool for F&I products called Dealer Executive Dashboard. It’s designed to help users update income strategies and improve profitability.

The online data solution provides dealers and agents with access to extensive claims analytics, customer retention data, performance reports, dealer comparisons, and participation structure information. It features a user-friendly design and can be used on mobile devices, according to the company.

“We saw a pain point for our clients when it comes to information and wanted to find a solution. This gives our clients the ability to access info anywhere and anytime,” said Steve Amos, president of GSFSGroup. “I am proud of our team for creating, developing and launch this tool. We will continue to build and push the market forward using tomorrow’s technology.”

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An Interview with Jimmy Atkinson


At Agent Summit in May, Jimmy Atkinson continued a long career in public speaking when he joined “Building a Team Theme for Prosperity,” a panel discussion led by Tom O’Neil of O’Neil Financial Services Agency. Upon returning to his adopted hometown of Napa, Calif., the COO of AUL Corp. met with AE to reflect on his work in retail and as a trainer, product provider, marathon runner and long-suffering Braves fan.

AE: Jimmy, it was great seeing you at Agent Summit, and I enjoyed your panel. Great energy, great content, and O’Neil did a nice job as the moderator.

Atkinson: Tom did a terrific job. He was probably the most engaged moderator I’ve worked with. We drilled down on the questions on multiple calls and had a final prep session before we went onstage. Everybody on the panel had a good time.

AE: Do you enjoy public speaking?

Atkinson: I do. I spent about five years just doing training and another three or four years just doing F&I development. I started with MS Diversified, which was later acquired by Assurant Solutions, and then worked with Joe Verde for four years. I started my own training company in 2001. I found I had a real passion for teaching and sharing information. By the way, when I started at Joe Verde Group, the first person to take me under his wing was Dave Anderson.

AE: The same Dave Anderson who spoke at Agent Summit?

Atkinson: The same. And I gained a lot of confidence through that experience. It’s always great to see Dave and listen to his powerful message.

AE: What was your first job in the auto industry?

Atkinson: I started selling cars in March of 1983. Pugmire Lincoln Mercury, in my hometown of Atlanta, had an ad running in the newspaper. I actually replied to the ad at their Chevrolet store down the street. The sales manager at the Chevy store said, “You’ll never make it in the car business,” so I walked down to the Lincoln store.

AE: If only he knew.

Atkinson: Well, I was a bit more shy and introverted at the time. And it was only a 10-minute interview. But I caught on and moved into F&I after 18 months. Then I was promoted to sales manager and then general sales manager. I spent seven years at three dealerships. From there I went to work for MS Diversified as a regional manager and training director — the same work that agents do, but as a direct employee.

About four years into it, I got involved in F&I training. When I started my own company, I figured I would be a trainer and have a few products. In 2002, I received a call from my old boss at MS Diversified. They had been acquired by what was then Assurant and he asked me to rejoin him there.

AE: When did you make the move to AUL?

Atkinson: That was in July of 2010. Luis Nieves, the founder, was a client and friend through Assurant. He called me and said, “I would like to visit with you. I have an idea.” We met and he said he needed someone to come in and be his No. 2.

AE: And that was a big move, leaving Atlanta for the Wine Country.

Atkinson: It was. We had moved around a bit before that, but I was born, grew up and spent most of my life in Atlanta.

AE: I learned most of what I know about Atlanta from “A Man in Full” by Tom Wolfe.

Atkinson: I just read that a few months ago! The way he paints Atlanta is probably pretty accurate. It’s a great city, but you get the sense it’s always trying to prove itself. It is home to a ton of Fortune 500 companies, so it’s always growing and expanding, and that brings a lot of challenges. But I love it because it’s home, and of course I still love the Braves, Falcons, Hawks and Bulldogs. You can’t learn to appreciate the meaning of loyalty and heartache until you follow teams that have lost so many championships.

AE: Actually, I’m from Buffalo, so …

Atkinson: Oh, that’s right.

AE: Let’s move on! We had a nice visit in Napa a few years back. What is it like to live there?

Atkinson: It’s very different. There are things I miss about living in the South, but California is a beautiful state. And people don’t realize this about Napa, but it’s like a small farming town, only with hotels and restaurants and tourism. When I think about living in Atlanta, I picture myself either being at the airport or fighting all the traffic, so the relaxed atmosphere is welcome.

AE: Still, it must have been difficult to leave.

Atkinson: It’s never an easy decision. It was made easier because we have two sons who were grown and moving to Los Angeles at the same time. That’s only a one-hour flight. We moved a couple times when the boys were growing up, and that was probably tougher on them than I’d like to admit. Thankfully, I have the greatest wife and mom in the world, and the boys are now wonderful young men.

AE: What do you do to stay in shape?

Atkinson: I ride a Pinarello road bike sometimes, and I’m terrible at golf, but mostly I run. I’ve been doing it for about 18 years. I have run four marathons and a bunch of half-marathons, including two with my younger son. It relieves stress and gives me solitude when I need it.

AE: Running in Napa must be a lot more comfortable than running in Atlanta.

Atkinson: If you’re training for a fall marathon, you’re running up to 18 miles in the summer. So, yes, climate-wise, it is better in Napa. But both cities have a lot of hills.

AE: How much do you love working with agents?

Atkinson: I do love agents. It’s kind of wild. They’re such a different breed. Not unlike car dealers. They are the masters of entrepreneurship and truly brilliant in their fields. They have that amazing ability to adapt to change and grow their businesses. It’s a neat group of people.

AE: Are you looking for more agents? How does that process work?

Atkinson: Jason Garner, our general sales manager, heads up agent acquisitions. He has a team of business development managers. We’re pretty selective. But if we have an area where we’re underperforming and want to grow, and if we don’t have an agent there, we will look for someone. But we have a very stable agent force. We still have the first agent we signed and the first dealer we signed.

AE: That’s impressive.

Atkinson: It’s all driven by Luis, who founded the company and created this wonderful culture. He is probably the most humble, generous and appreciative person I’ve met. He would give you the shirt off his back. He always believes in doing what’s right, and that’s the real secret.

AE: So what drives you now? What gets you up in the morning?

Atkinson: Well, first, there’s always a million things to do. Second, it’s exciting. You asked about agents. That’s one of the most exciting parts of the job. They bring unique opportunities and problems to solve. One of the things we strive to be is a company that agents can turn to for a new approach and we think we do a lot of it really well. At the same time, you have to find a way to create new value. It’s a tremendous business, and it’s growing. There is nothing I would rather be doing.

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AE to Honor Women in the Industry


TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — The publishers of Agent Entrepreneur are accepting nominations for “Women in the Industry,” a cover story that will honor hardworking and successful women in the dealership, agency and F&I product provider and administrator segments.

“In what many still regard as a male-dominated industry, countless strong, smart, industrious women have reached the heights of success,” said Kate Spatafora, associate publisher of AE and P&A. “If you or someone you know fits that description, I encourage you to nominate them today.”

The deadline for nominations is August 28. Nominations should include:

  • The nominee and nominator’s name, title, company and contact information
  • 100 to 200 words explaining why the nominee is deserving of recognition, including any professional accomplishments, recent promotions, honors and awards

The magazine’s publishers and editorial board will carefully consider every nomination and select 20 honorees for inclusion in the story, which is scheduled to run in the September/October 2016 edition of AE.

 

Submit Your Nomination!

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AE to Honor Women in the Industry


TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — The publishers of Agent Entrepreneur are accepting nominations for “Women in the Industry,” a cover story that will honor hardworking and successful women in the dealership, agency and F&I product provider and administrator segments.

“In what many still regard as a male-dominated industry, countless strong, smart, industrious women have reached the heights of success,” said Kate Spatafora, associate publisher of AE and P&A. “If you or someone you know fits that description, I encourage you to nominate them today.”

The deadline for nominations is August 28. Nominations should include:

  • The nominee and nominator’s name, title, company and contact information
  • 100 to 200 words explaining why the nominee is deserving of recognition, including any professional accomplishments, recent promotions, honors and awards

The magazine’s publishers and editorial board will carefully consider every nomination and select 20 honorees for inclusion in the story, which is scheduled to run in the September/October 2016 edition of AE.

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