After months of stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19, several major finance-and-insurance training companies are preparing their associates to hit the road.
More dealerships are requesting in-person training sessions, F&I companies say, as states relax policies restricting in-person transactions and automotive dealerships are bringing back furloughed staff members.
American Financial and Automotive Services Inc., National Auto Care and JM&A Group are among the training companies reopening in-person training offerings for the first time since early March. Most will be taking precautions such as limiting classroom size, adhering to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines and, in some cases, requiring gloves and face masks for trainers and participants.
There are no plans as of yet to return to its main campus in Deerfield Beach, Fla., but JM&A Group is working with dealerships for in-person training. There is a class scheduled next month at a satellite office in Charlotte, N.C., which has classrooms large enough to accommodate social distancing requirements.
Chris May, director of JM&A's Performance Development Center, said when and where associates conduct classes depend on state and local guidelines and whether the company believes classes can be held safely.
"We see the demand from our dealers really starting to come back," May said.
American Financial will resume in-person training sessions on June 8. Class sizes will be reduced to 15 students from 30 to practice social distancing, said Ritch Wheeler, vice president of training. The company plans to conduct limited student classes twice a month for the next several months to maintain social distancing.
F&I product and training company EFG Cos. resumed dealership visits last week, said Eric Fifield, the company's chief revenue officer. Classes at the group's Dallas training center will be back in session the week of June 15.