What exactly does the word “Warranty” strike with you at first ? Of course it means all sorts of insurance-like protection you get for your favourite devices. Well, here’s an interesting story revolving around this very word. A story, which will astound you, by giving you some amazing insights on how The Warranty Group, a company — as the name suggests — specialising in the warranty business, has built a rather scalable business around the same.
We get an opportunity to interact with Vivek burman, the India Business Unit head for The Warranty Group. lets have a sneak peek inside how, an insurance sector like this, has such a thriving business within itself.
TP : Thanks for joining us Vivek..So, please start by telling us a bit about The Warranty Group..
VB : The Warranty Group is one of the world’s premier providers of warranty solutions and related benefits, with operations in more than 50 countries and nearly 1,600 employees. With Virginia Surety Company and London General Insurance Company as our wholly-owned insurance companies, The Warranty Group is a single-source after-sales solutions specialist providing underwriting, claims administration, and marketing expertise to many of the world’s leading manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of consumer goods including automobiles, homes, consumer appliances, electronics, and furniture, as well as specialty insurance products and services for financial institutions.
Our goal is to provide unique solutions that create value for both our clients and the consumer. For clients we partner with, we can help them acquire new customers, strengthen existing relationships, and improve the overall brand experience, hence positively impacting the bottom line. We are focused on working with our clients to provide the right products that are customized to them that promote convenience and brand loyalty.
TP : When did TWG enter India and what has the journey been like?
VB : The Warranty Group (TWG) made its foray into India in 2014 to address opportunities for service solutions around business intelligence, customer loyalty, warranty management including sales, claims administration, compliance, and marketing services. TWG India concentrated on the Indian market with a focus on the automotive passenger car segment (including minivans, SUVs, and light trucks), the two wheelers segment (motorcycles and scooters) and the light commercial vehicles as well as the non-automotive consumer segments of appliance and technology. Products offered by TWG India include a full range of service contracts and solutions around extended warranties, limited warranties, prepaid maintenance programs, and related products and services.
The primary objective of TWG India is to provide innovative solutions to the Indian market in the form of world class programs as provided by TWG in the major markets of North America, UK, Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific.
TP : What are your plans for India? And why? Please tell us about the market in India for extended warranty?
VB : India is an important market for us, with exciting opportunities in the Extended Warranty and After Sales services market. Our operating model focuses on industry leading companies seeking a partnership to innovate new products and services, improve existing products and services and navigate risk transfer and compliance issues. The partnerships are built on our expertise as a service provider and the customized solutions created by us to help them acquire new customers, improve customer loyalty, and grow their bottom line. In the near term, our focus would be on working with manufacturers, retailers & distributors, e-commerce companies, insurance companies, and financial institutions.
India presents tremendous opportunities, buoyed by consumption trends and increasing customer expectations. Consumer behaviors and spending patterns are shifting as incomes are rising and the Indian society is evolving. These shifts have big implications for how companies position themselves now. Consumers are demanding more, and are discerning with high expectations from brands and the experience they provide!
India is also a value conscious market. People buying aspirational items like expensive smartphones for example, would like to extend the product life as much as possible, and have a worry-free after-sales experience. After sales service has, therefore, become a key part of people’s overall experience. After sales management has become a brand and quality differentiator, and the main driver of customer loyalty. After sales is the most important part of the product ownership experience in terms of maintaining brand loyalty.
Consumers are spoilt for choice when it comes to products and prices, but the quality of the after-sales service is what prompts them to buy the same brand again.
TP : Is extended warranty a new phenomena and what are some of the reasons for its popularity?
VB : In today’s world, people are increasingly becoming dependent on technology and appliances to make their personal as well as professional lives easier. With gadgets becoming the backbone of our daily life, service contracts and best after-sales services have become essential. The repairs and replacement of spare parts can be costly, and therefore having a warranty or service contract in place is a beneficial way of mitigating any unforeseen expenses resulting from product repairs. These service contracts, as they are called, come in use after the manufacturer’s warranty has expired. Having invested a sizeable amount in the product, consumers want to get automated and efficient services that can help extend the lifespan of their gadgets, without burning a hole in their pockets in the process.
TP : Tell us a little about yourself and your journey with TWG.
VB : I did my Schooling in India, my Undergraduate Studies in the US, and my Masters in the UK, so I guess I could be termed as having had a “global education”. I have over 17 years of experience across the insurance, assistance, and management consulting sectors. During this period I have developed and managed profit and growth centers from startup to significant net income contributors. Apart from heading joint ventures for smaller multinationals for the Asia Pacific Region, I have worked for companies owned by Multi-National Insurance and Services Groups in Senior Management positions in India.
Currently I am responsible for building and growing the India Business Unit, driving and executing both strategic and sales objectives. I also oversee the building and managing of the distribution channels, regulatory compliances, sales and marketing, creating and analyzing financial models, and forging strategic alliances to create business opportunities.
In order to manage the Client partnership locally, the TWG team in India is a mix of experienced technical experts, advisors and senior managers from the insurance and service fields. In addition, TWG India is supported by TWG’s global technology platforms, systems, processes, quality standards and best practices to deliver high quality services, and a truly world-class customer experience.