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Dealership develops in-house insurance agency

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Liz Keener, Managing Editor
July 18, 2014
Filed under Features, In this issue, Top Stories

Auto, life, home offerings join powersports products, increasing revenue

Motorcycle insurance? Check. ATV coverage? Done. Boats? Yep. Auto, home, health and life? They’ve got that, too.

Family Powersports has gone beyond the average F&I department, creating its own in-house insurance agency, offering a wide range of services not only to the customers of its three Texas locations, but also to those who have never stepped into a powersports dealership. The agency, created just over five years ago, serves as a customer service value-add, as well as a year-round revenue source.

Family Insurance Services was born from an idea of the dealership’s F&I service provider. That vendor asked the dealership if it would like to develop its own agency that worked under the vendor’s umbrella. Considering how the dealership would benefit from an in-house agency, Family Powersports was on board.

“The main idea was to create a new revenue stream for the business as well as offer products to our customers that make buying a motorcycle, an ATV, or a boat easier,” explained Sherri Goode, senior agent at Family Insurance Services.

The insurance agency, housed within the San Angelo dealership, operates separately from the traditional F&I office, though all customers are filtered through Family Insurance Services and F&I during each sale.

“We do a lot of insurance shopping for a customer when they’re trying to decide on a bike,” Goode said.

Family Insurance Services, staffed by Sherri Goode and Derrek Murphy, is housed within Family Powersports’ San Angelo, Texas, store and also serves the dealership’s Lubbock and Odessa locations.

Family Insurance Services, staffed by Sherri Goode and Derrek Murphy, is housed within Family Powersports’ San Angelo, Texas, store and also serves the dealership’s Lubbock and Odessa locations.

Keeping customers in-house for insurance offers a slew of benefits on top of revenue generation. One of the first things Goode noticed when the agency was launched was that the dealership had one fewer objection when it came to purchasing a bike, especially for first-time buyers who may have forgotten they’d need insurance.

“The main thing that we see when a customer looks at say a motorcycle, especially first time buyers, [insurance costs] can make or break the deal,” she said. “We can help them control that cost and make sure they get proper coverage.”

Family Insurance Services works with five different insurance providers in the motorcycle arena alone, and because the agency also offers ATV, boat, RV, auto, health and life insurance, Goode and fellow agent Derrek Murphy can bundle products together, offering savings not only on newly-purchased insurance plans, but also on services customers were already using elsewhere.

“We’re a regular independent insurance agency, so we cross-sell and really make a better customer out of that customer that many have only bought one time from the dealership,” Goode said.

In its first two years after its establishment, nearly all of the insurance agency’s customers came from the dealership. Now, its clientele has expanded to include a large number customers who don’t even ride but were instead referred by friends or family.

“Really for the last three years we still get of course the customers from the dealerships, but a lot of our customers don’t even own motorcycles, they’re referred from our store customers that we’ve helped with home and auto or other things, so we’re not as dependent on the store anymore. We’re just as busy in the [dealership’s] slow months as we are in the busy months,” Goode said. “It’s really grown into a profit center all on its own, so we’re like a whole other store almost because we just stay busy.”

However, with the dealership and the agency having similar names and logos, and as the agency is housed in one of the stores, people have also grown to associate the two brands, giving better recognition to both. Family Insurance Services also lends uniqueness to the dealership by offering services that even attract competing dealers and their customers.

“It’s a really good thing,” Goode said. “It’s not an instant revenue stream right off the bat. It takes a while to set it up, but it sets us apart because we do have a lot of options.”

 

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