ARM (Automotive Risk Management & Insurance Services, Inc.)

ARM (Automotive Risk Management & Insurance Services, Inc.)

Scotto, Ray

Automotive Risk Management & Insurance Services, Inc. (ARM), based in Stockton, California, is one of the original charter members of the Target Markets Association. “We were there in the formative stages,” says Marvin McDougal, president and founder of ARM. “The time had come when program administrators needed an association of their own, and Target Markets fills the bill. The Target Markets Program is particularly beneficial for our marketing efforts, and we find that meeting with carriers and other program administrators is very valuable. It is also a great search engine for us to communicate with retail agents. As a matter of fact, we receive at least two inquiries a day from retail agents,” McDougal says.

ARM is a program administrator dedicated to addressing the unique insurance needs of the transportation industry, McDougal says. It provides services in the areas of underwriting, risk management, claims, and loss prevention and control, and arranges insurance coverages, including garage liability, property, inland marine, dealer physical damage, crime, earthquake, flood, contingent liability, umbrella excess liability, employment-related practices liability, pollution liability, dealership surety bonds, workers compensation, and life and health products.

McDougal formed ARM in 1992 as an outgrowth of prior operations, primarily the Frank B. Hall Dealer Division and its successor Allied Dealer Insurance Services. Don Mariette joined the ARM organization in 1996 as chairman and CEO and directed a significant expansion of the operations, McDougal says.

“Don had started the Hall operations in 1979,” McDougal explains. “During this period auto dealer package and umbrella premiums reached $67 million annually on a nationwide basis. Other related programs with writings of approximately $40 million annually were carried on concurrently. Others ultimately acquired these operations in the mid-1990s, and the business was acquired by ARM in the late 1990s. Don started his insurance career in 1946 by joining the family brokerage firm and has been active in the dealer business since the mid-1950s. I have been active in the dealer business since I began with Universal Underwriters in 1962.”

McDougal says that many of the key personnel at ARM were involved with him and with Mariette in the prior operations and ARM for more than 20 years. “Our underwriting manager, Cathy Whitby, has handled substantial business nationally and is quite familiar with the nature of the marketplace,” he says. “All of our program carriers are rated A-or better by Best’s, including CNA for the franchised dealer package. Interstate Indemnity and AIG for the umbrella program, Underwriters at Lloyd’s for the dealers open lot program and Colony for the RV, used car and truck rental and services and repair facilities.”

ARM’s authority varies by program, says McDougal, but may include responsibility for production, rating, underwriting, policy issuance and service, claims, loss prevention and control, statistical and accounting, and regulatory compliance. “We are well aware of the importance of pricing as a major factor, and our rating structure is designed to give us the necessary flexibility to compete successfully without sacrificing underwriting integrity,” he says. “Responsibility and authority for claims supervision is held by John Krivacsy. He has worked with us for more than 20 years and also has substantial experience nationally.” As president of Meridian Claims Services, Inc., an ARM-affiliated company, Krivacsy appoints adjusters, appraisers and attorneys in the area where a claim has occurred who have knowledge in the many nuances of the dealer business. “For claims where the handling is managed by the insurance company, John’s staff handles the reporting and follow-up,” McDougal adds.

Loss prevention and control are carried out by the ARM loss prevention and control staff headed by Julian Street, director. “A leading loss control service, HSB Loss Control, provides inspection services for ARM on a national basis,” says McDougal. “Extensive EDP services are provided to the programs by dbCache.com, an ARM-affiliated company headed by Vasco David, president and CEO. The dbCache Data Tracker Web-enabled system used by ARM is a fifth-generation system based on a design structured specifically for the auto dealer business.”

McDougal believes that ARM, with its track record in the program business, brings a good deal to the Target Markets Association, just as the association brings a good deal to his business. In terms of new opportunities, McDougal says he would like to see the association construct a program for its members to help them “get a handle” on errors and omissions costs. “E&O for program administrators is a difficult market,” he says. “The costs can be staggering. Perhaps there’s a way we could buy the coverage as a group, through the association.”

Copyright Rough Notes Co., Inc. Sep 2004

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