Chrysler Insurance Co. has a new menu of dealer insurance products, such as inventory insurance, plus is considering products aimed at retail customers, such as extended service contracts and guaranteed asset protection plans.
In addition, the company probably will take a new name, and it definitely will pursue more non-Chrysler Group business, said Jim Haan, general manager of Chrysler Insurance.
The new products and name are part of an attempt by Chrysler Insurance and parent Chrysler Financial to reinvent themselves after nearly three years of upheaval that included the bankruptcy of its biggest customer -- Chrysler.
Former parent DaimlerChrysler Financial Services split up in late 2007 as part of the DaimlerChrysler divorce. Chrysler declared bankruptcy in April 2009.
After bankruptcy, the successor company -- Chrysler Group, now allied with Italy's Fiat S.p.A. -- switched its finance relationship to GMAC Financial Services, now Ally Financial, a bank holding company.
"We're really in the process of rebuilding our book for non-Chrysler brands," Haan said. "You need three things in this business: You need a [computer] system to sell, you need products and you need a distribution channel. And when you have all those things, you probably need to pay a little more to dealers to get them to switch to you from whomever they're already with."
Chrysler Insurance, he said, is working on all those fronts.
Haan said Chrysler Insurance is lining up third-party insurance company partners for its new products. The concept is to offer private-label F&I products in the near future for various automotive brands. Extended service contracts and GAP are among the products the company is exploring, Haan said.
For example, Chrysler Insurance already has a relationship with 21st Century Insurance and Financial Services Inc., of Wilmington, Del., which offers customers discounted Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge-branded auto insurance through the automaker's consumer Web sites.
Former partner Daimler Insurance successfully has taken a similar approach, offering Mercedes-Benz-branded F&I products sold in dealerships that are underwritten by third-party partners. BMW Financial Services also emphasizes BMW-branded F&I products.
Haan said Chrysler Insurance intends to assemble a complete menu of F&I products, including GAP and extended service contracts, rather than roll out new products to dealerships piecemeal. "To be a player, you've got to offer a whole menu," he said. "The way it works in the dealership is that the form [for menu selling] gets printed out, the F&I manager wants to be able to work from a single document, and the dealership needs to have all the products integrated into their systems."