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Episode #52: Austin Ledgerwood with Cover Genius

Kelly Kleinman of Dealership News interviews Austin Ledgerwood of CoverGenius to give you a quick rundown of why you should consider integrating their services into your CRM

Kelly Kleinman: [00:00:00] Kelly Kleinman, dealership news with Austin Ledgerwood, the name of the company is covered genius. Give us a little tempting taste here with a little overview of what goes on in the world of Cover Genius. Absolutely
 
Austin Ledgerwood: [00:00:11] Absolutely, so Cover Genius is a new way for consumers to acquire insurance products. And what I mean by that is that especially in the mobility automotive spectrum, the ability for a fleet company or a dealer through a DMX or a subscription platform enables them to offer an insurance product that is tailored to that individual consumer, not the general. Hey, here’s a bucket of products that are available to you. And how we do that is through a dynamic API that returns products that are specific to a user. We get to interact in the spaces that all of the automotive wants to be in and provide products, particularly around ensuring the assets or the individuals. That’s really I’ll say it again, customized to that end user.
 
Kelly Kleinman: [00:01:06] But there’s a lot more to it, isn’t there? There’s so much more. So we’re going to do is we’re going to do a little bit of a podcast that was just a little bit of a tease. This is a great solution for any car dealer. I think you’ve got the customer right there. You may as well get him onto an insurance policy. These guys make it really easy. It’s simplified and it’s really easy to slide someone in. So stay tuned. We’ll be back with some more interesting information soon on our podcast.

Kelly Kleinman: [00:00:17] Hello, this is Kelly Kleinman, and you are listening to the DealershipNews.com podcast, where we spotlight the who’s happening in the automotive industry. It’s foot soldiers, visionaries, salesmen, GMs, owners, service managers and industry vendors alike. Our guest today is a fellow that I had the pleasure to meet at the Digital Dealer Expo a few weeks back. He elucidated me on how Cover Genius Co-creates insurance policies and experiences for customers of the world’s largest digital platforms for mobility and home car-sharing to retailers, Fintechs and more. As business models have changed, so has the insurance industry and the way they cover assets.

Kelly Kleinman: [00:00:58] And I’ll tell you what, guys, I’m just so happy. Happy as a lark to have with us Mr. Austin Ledgerwood

Kelly Kleinman: [00:00:58] And I’ll tell you what, guys, I’m just so happy. Happy as a lark to have with us Mr. Austin Ledgerwood

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:01:06] Thanks for having me, Kelly..

Kelly Kleinman: [00:01:07] It’s a pleasure. It’s a pleasure talking to you. Let’s start off with the typical question. I ask it virtually everybody, because everybody has a different route to get to where they are. And I’m just kind of curious as to how you got attached to the automotive industry. Of course, in your case, it might have nothing to do with the love of cars. What was your path into automotive?

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:01:27] Absolutely. Well, I did grow up with a love of cars. My dad is an avid car buyer. He’s done everything from restorations to driving new cars. Is his big favorite, was always Corvettes. So I kind of got that early feeling about cars when I was a kid.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:01:50] And then when I got out of college, I had a great opportunity to go work for CarMax, which I learned more about cars then I ever really wanted to know as a buyer. And it really just kind of fueled that that real interest into this whole crazy auto industry.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:02:11] It’s it’s it’s a lot of fun. I had to tell you that there’s never a boring day in automotive. And whether it’s working at a dealership, which I did for a while or sitting in a corporate office, it’s never boring. Kelly..

Kelly Kleinman: [00:02:22] What was your dad’s first Corvette?

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:02:24] He had a I want to say it was a 74, 74, but his most favorite one was that he bought and restored a ’61 Corvette red with the white inset panel on the sides. It is gorgeous. I mean, he even had a T-shirt made with it on it.Kelly Kleinman: [00:02:45] Oh, sweet. They still have it.Austin Ledgerwood: [00:02:47] No, he got rid of that probably…You know what? I’ll tell you what it was after a graduated from college because I remember I got the drive it for the first time. Oh, so he got I bought 20 years ago.Kelly Kleinman: [00:02:58] You’re an old man. Well, let’s let’s let’s get into the meat and potatoes. How about the 30-second pitch make it an elevator pitch? Pretend that I’m the president of Fire Forward Auto Group and you want to sell me?Austin Ledgerwood: [00:03:12] Absolutely. You know, like any dealer, you ought to be sitting there thinking about how do I truly acquire that sticky experience that everybody’s talking about. And really, the one thing that you still have your customers jumping outside to take care of is insurance. Either that or you have an agent in your on your property that you’re renting out necessary space. So for us, it’s really how do you treat that environment and actually we provide that environment where you can offer your customer that’s sitting in front of you auto insurance at the time of sale versus them having to go out and have a separate experience.Kelly Kleinman: [00:03:51] Yeah. Okay. I’m sold now to best elucidate how Cover Genius works. Compare because you brought up a good point there. Compare the standard insurance purchase process employed now by most dealerships with customers for that matter, with how Cover Genius streamlines the process because it’s all about the process. From what I remember a conversation being and how you customize. But let’s get into the differences between the two standard and the Cover Genius method.Austin Ledgerwood: [00:04:20] Absolutely. Well, if you think about it right now. As soon as you buy a car, you have to have insurance. You can’t drive it off the lot without insurance. So you do have a scenario where some insurance companies have a grace period. But realistically, the dealer needs you to have that car insured before you even leave a lot.Austin Ledgerwood: [00:04:36] So right now, the setup is either you go on your phone and you look up quotes via an app, you have to your current provider or you go to an aggregator like the General or you know, there’s this couple different ones out there, there’s zebra or you have to make a separate phone call.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:04:57] And what I would find funny is that regardless of what the path is, you have to provide the insurance company with the same information you’ve already provided to the dealer. And what I’m talking about is personal information, your address, your credit information, your driving history. Your type of car. All this information, the dealership has most of it. Because you’ve already provided it.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:05:22] So now you have to take all that information again and send it to the insurance agency. And what they’re going to do is plug all that information in and then they’re going to send that same information repackaged back to the dealer with insurance approved. Which to me is just a crazy added step.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:05:43] You know, if you think about it, the F&I, the name F&I came from finance and insurance and it was about securing auto insurance for your car. So that’s where, you know, the original F&I name came from. And now it’s morphed into other things in the real differences with the Cover Genius experiences that we now enable an F&I manager or a sales individual to actually show the retail consumer insurance quotes right there on the spot because they have all the information and it could be everything from the customer being able to self select all the particular different parameters for insurance or even if something as simple as good, better and best options for insurance. And that’s the real difference with Cover Genius is that with our API, we’re able to take that information and actually return products that are tailored to that customer, not the generic. Hey, here’s what it could be. Hey, here’s what it is for Kelly. as you’re buying in your car that you know Kelly.. That’s the real difference between us and the standard process now.

Kelly Kleinman: [00:06:53] Yeah. I’ll tell you my experience. Yeah. It starts with having had the same coverage I think for the last few years. I go through Costco, I’m about to add an old Audi into my fleet. I’ve got two sons. They’re both 17 years old. And I called Ameriprise, I believe so insurance company through Costco. And I had to give them all of the information mileage that I was going to drive, who is going to be assigned to which vehicle? And it still took. And I’ve been with them for a while. It still took about 40 minutes to get a final quote. So if somebody has a current provider, how do you compensate for a situation such as that? Somebody walks into a car dealership. They just want to add the car to their current policy, to their current policy and get a quote for adding that vehicle. Now, I’ll tell you, when I did call Ameriprise, they set it up to where I’m actually paying only twenty five dollars per month for this for this car, in addition to what were my normal payment was. So they were able to go in and sort of manipulate the numbers and give me a much better deal. You’re talking about possibly doing something like that, but certainly getting the consumer the best possible deal that’s out there in insurance for their vehicle. It is. What’s what’s the time savings and what do you find overall might be the dollars savings in something like that? I know. I know. They didn’t skip that question to you. I don’t want to throw you a curveball, but but I would like to hear what your answer is on something along those lines.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:08:31] No. Absolutely. So we talk about time. You yourself just mentioned it right there that, you know, you’re looking at 40 minutes. So imagine that you’ve been in the dealership. For what the average time is, what, three and a half, four hours that people spend in a dealership. Yep. So you’ve been in the dealership. You’ve, you know, you’re negotiating to get the price you’re comfortable with. And now you’ve got to go have a separate conversation that may take you 40 minutes. That’s a pain in the butt. And then also taken to to the fact I think you hit on it. You went with the company that you’ve always had. Right. Correct.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:09:10] You have without looking you have no idea that you’ve got the best rate, that you’ve got the ideal coverage for you. You went and this I do the same thing. You know, I have State Farm. I just called State Farm and said, hey, State Farm. I need to change our policy. I just bought a new car. Like, okay, no problem. Let’s go through the information. I don’t know if I’m getting the best deal now. I’m assuming I am because I’ve been with them forever. So for us, it’s that ability for you to see quotes that are particular to you, that are particular to this car, that are actually live in real time. So we can reduce the 40 minutes. We can reduce the effort of, you know, like you just said, having to provide all this information, spending time we can cut down or actually eliminate the need for you to do any research, because we’re going to go and get the particular rates particular to what you want. And then when you talk about in just terms of cost savings and money savings.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:10:15] It could very well save you all kinds of money because you’re able now to shop and look for the best rate, you’re able to get particular details and see what you’re getting immediately. So in terms of time savings, huge. In terms of money savings, there’s absolutely an opportunity to save money through this process.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:10:53] Absolutely. So a little backstory on Cover Genius.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:10:56] You know, originally it was started, as you know, for the in the rental car market and travel market to where if Kelly.. We’re going to book a trip or Kelly., we’re renting a car, you know, hey, do I need to get a, you know, extra coverage for my trip?

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:11:13] And our founders were seeing was just consistent, this box mentality. You know, that, you know, no matter who it is, you’ll pay this. So it’s 50 bucks for me and it’s 50 bucks for you.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:11:28] And I might have never had a claim and have all kinds of stellar credit and everything you could think of in my favor and you could have it better or worse. We would still pay the same price. That doesn’t seem like the right thing. So Cover Genius developed XCover, which is this is this really dynamic API that takes all of these different data points related around the customer. We’re related around the transaction in the related around the coverage parameters or desired coverage parameters, and it might even take previous purchases to help determine what products would be best for you. And that’s where we’re the real differentiate for us, is that we’re able to return real time customized products. So if you were to go through the just the simple auto coverage piece to where you like. All right. I want to do the state minimums, but I want to have rental car coverage and I want this. Hey, here’s a price immediately. And a key thing. Kelly. is you’re not going to get a phone call or e mails saying, hey, do you want to buy this? Hey, do you want to buy this? Which is a horrendous part. You know, if I go and put my information into some of the insurance aggregators, I may get 12 different emails and 12 different phone calls from 40 different people and they may all work in the same office. I have no idea that I’m going to get so many different phone calls that it just doesn’t make a bit of sense. I have. How do you sort through that to find the best deal?

Kelly Kleinman: [00:12:59] Right. Yeah, it becomes a jump ball of your personal data. It happens with classified auto shopping. Same exact thing. That’s problematic.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:13:11] Absolutely. So when we talk about customization, it really is returning a product that is specific to the end user and it’s based on their data points and then other outside data points that they’ve contributed.

Kelly Kleinman: [00:13:29] Let’s chit chat about XCover. Break the concept down for us, complete with a value added proposition to businesses who jump in with.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:13:39] Absolutely. So I kind of alluded to earlier XCover really this dynamic insurance API and, you know, I’m probably selling it short by saying just insurance, but it really is this dynamic API that can truly provide products that really are specific to the individual.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:14:02] You know, there’s a lot of different platforms out there that say that they can, you know, fully understand what what the end user wants, what the retail customer wants. And they use all this different data and they use all this market data. We’re really focused on providing the individual data. You know, it’s not only bundling insurance policies that are relevant to that person, but our platform form helps support multiple currencies and languages. And that’s something key that as you’re travelling or as you move from different markets, you know, with auto insurance, it doesn’t hit so much. But let’s say that it is a Spanish speaking individual in South Florida or in Texas or California or New York or wherever they live, and they want to interact with Spanish. We have that ability to return products in the right language when there’s an issue and they converse with us. We have the ability to return information in the right language. And then also it starts to project out farther down the line, taken that customer level information. And looking at what they could be worth over the lifetime, what’s the loyalty? So not only does it let’s say that an individual uses purchase insurance through our platform at the dealership, which is integrated with the dealership’s DMS, that it also will help them understand, hey, you know, these products may help you down the line, too. Or also help them when they go into another engine. Let’s say that, you know, we have a strong partnership booking, it’ll recognize that this individual also bought this product here. This insurance product through this channel. Now, when they come through this channel and they’re using XCover, it recognizes their information again and gives them even better detailed product and information that’s really, you know, XCover’s real push.

Kelly Kleinman: [00:16:13] Now, you’re a global company. You guys have been around a while and you actually insure people and products all over the world.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:16:23] Yes. What? You know, I joined Cover Genius in February and it is just such a fun, outstanding company to work for. I’ve been very fortunate my career to work for outstanding large companies like Cox Automotive, Southeast Toyota, Chain Family and then CarMax. And I generally have to tell you that there’s there’s so much excitement in this organization and there’s so much that I have learned from it being a truly international entity. You know, we have offices in Europe, offices and the Asian market.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:16:59] And it’s really you know, one of the things for me that’s been really interesting is to understand how the automotive industry operates outside of just the U.S.. It is a fascinating how quick, you know, an industry like subscription is taking off in India and in Europe. I mean, just blowing up. So Cover Genius. We have the skill set and now we really have the knowledge base internationally to light this world on fire.

Kelly Kleinman: [00:17:32] Well, you know, that’s that’s actually a question that I did not include for this particular podcast, but it’s something that needs to be talked about. And that’s the fact that the ride share in that the ride subscription is something that is other mobility solutions and something needs to be considered. And you provide insurance for all of those solutions. You’re very much a forward thinking company on that level.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:18:00] Absolutely. You know, one of the things that I love most is that, you know, my focus is mobility. And it’s really, you know, the the way for someone to get from point A to point B. And that would include everything from scooters, which I think is a very interesting market ride share subscription. And then, you know, the rental cars and the automotive and, you know, the general automotive market. I think that it  is such a wildly dynamic industry right now. And I’m genuinely excited to see how it progresses. I think that, you know, from an insurance standpoint, you’re going to start to see products that evolve into covering an individual regardless of their mode of transportation. So if I’m on a scooter, I’m covered. If I jump into a rental car, I’m covered or a subscription I’m covered, or if I’m in a ride share car, I’m covered. It’s really evolving.

Kelly Kleinman: [00:19:04] Yeah, exactly. Exactly. No. I own these things called trikes. Trikkes. Yes. And they’re a mobility device. They’re a you stand on it. It’s a three wheeled vehicle. It’s electric. Goes about 17 miles per hour. It gets about an hour’s worth of ride time on it. And we had it took us a little bit of time to find the proper insurance for something like that. That was about I want to see now about three years ago before they dropped all these little scooters down in Santa Monica, we were actually doing pretty good with it. Let’s let’s talk about claims because it can be a clunky process. I know. You know, usually. Oh, by the way, you mentioned being in rental car insurance. I was in the rental car industry myself. That was my first job out of college, my first real job. So I’m very familiar with it, to say the least. But let’s let’s get into the claims, because that’s basically what we were focusing on, putting people in rental cars after they’ve been in an accident. Usually you’ve got the incident that the vehicle gets towed to a preferred body shop and adjuster shoots out. The claim is processed. Customer gets a few quotes, maybe two to four weeks later, you have resolution. Is there anything different in the coverage genius world that provides a faster process as far as claims are concerned?

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:20:23] Oh. Absolutely. I’m glad you brought that up. No. You know, we have a platform. XClaim is our platform, our API for processing claims? And one of the things that we’re really proud of is that our MPS score is over 65. And what that means is and you know, some folks I had to look it up, you know, that’s how willing is a consumer going to refer you spend with you again, shop with you again, trust you.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:20:56] So for the insurance industry, the average MPS score is probably in the high 20s. So for us to be over double that is amazing. And it really gets back to that.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:21:11] We make decisions quickly through our claims process and we pay you quickly. And again, I mentioned it earlier with languages, you know, currencies. We process payments in 90 different currencies. And it’s all you know, it doesn’t matter how it comes through. We can do it to bank transfers, virtual card store credits, anything would do it.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:21:37] E wallets in the communication in which we process the information to you is at lightning speed. And it really goes back to how do customers want to interact and how do they want to get paid. Because if they’re making a claim and it’s been approved, they won’t be paid immediately because odds are they’ve already come out of pocket, right?

Kelly Kleinman: [00:21:58] Yeah. Absolutely. What do you guys have for us? Plan. I’m sorry. I’m sorry he’s gone. No, I was. I did know that you were finished. I wanted to find out what you have in store for us for 2020. Certainly you’ve got something in the oven.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:22:12] Absolutely. So I think that, you know, one of the key areas of where we’re seeing a lot of growth is around the scooters. Like we just mentioned. And then also subscription as we seen in Europe and India. It really is that market is exploding and it comes down to the needs.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:22:35] You know, I hate to say it’s millennials. I think it’s everyone gets to a point where if I don’t have to own something, how to pay for it, you know, maybe I can get it. You know, Netflix is a great example. You know, maybe I can just subscribe to it. And for us, we’re really moving headstrong into this new mobility market and having coverage on demand, which is there’s a huge need for and there’s not a lot of opportunities.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:23:02] And, you know, for the consumers, not a lot of not a lot of products for them to get a hold of. And then also, you know, integrating with DMSs to continue to push auto insurance is really going to take off. There’s a lot of digital retailing companies that like Cavana, vroom, Tesla that are really taking off. And one of the things they’re missing is having insurance as part of the process. And so we see that as a huge wide open space for us as well.

Kelly Kleinman: [00:23:35] I have one. One more question, and that would be your insight again into the future, probably a little bit beyond 2020. But is there the possibility that we could at one point have blanket coverage where I am covered in any mobile device or mobility device that I choose to ride and drive and ride on whatever I offer one price. So I’m going to spend X amount of dollars to go into an autonomously driven taxicab or vehicle, a scooter, a motorcycle, a car, whatever. Do you see something like that happening or is it always going to be itemized?

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:24:19] I would tell you this. Kelly. that you’re going to see it sooner rather than later. It is one of the top priorities that I have. And yes, you will see that. And I don’t think that’s long term. I think that’s in the short term, you will see great companies like coverage industry offering just that.

Kelly Kleinman: [00:24:37] Well, I want to say thank you so much for joining us. Folks.

Kelly Kleinman: [00:24:42] That was and is Austin Ledger, where the company is Cover Genius, and Austin, I want to I want to wish you a ton of continued success moving forwards. We’re working, folks. Reach you for more information.

Austin Ledgerwood: [00:24:56] Absolutely. They can reach me at Austin, A-U-S-T-I-N dot L at Cover Genius dot Com even through our Cover Genius dot com website. LinkedIn page, Twitter. All the good social media. We are out there. Just ask for Austin.

Kelly Kleinman: [00:25:11] Look, folks, that’s one of my new best friends. Austin Ledger with this is Kelly. Kleinman. You’re listening to the DealershipNews.com podcast. Actually, we’re done with for the day. We’ve got a couple more scheduled this week. So stand by for those, meanwhile. Have a great afternoon. I love that hokey 70s cheesy music.

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