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GreenUmbrella Unfolds New Warranty Model

9/04/2008 02:00:00 AM Eastern

There's a new kid on the extended warranty block with a potentially disruptive business model.

GreenUmbrella.com, a division of Experian Interactive, opened up shop last month with a revolutionary alternative to the traditional extended service contract: Rather than offer coverage on individual products, the company has developed a blanket plan that ostensibly protects all of a household's new brown and white goods for one monthly fee of $9.95.

The plan, which is renewable on a monthly basis, covers an unlimited number of major brand CE, PC and home appliance products per customer. There are no deductibles or fees for in-home repair or replacement service, the company said, and consumers can register multiple products up to 30 days after purchase at no additional cost. Coverage also extends to products purchased up to two months prior to the plan's start date.

Eligibility is limited to new goods with manufacturer warranties purchased for up to $5,000, which presently encompasses about 60,000 different products, the company said.

The plan is being pitched directly to consumers, but the company will also explore partnership opportunities with retailers and manufacturers.

The program is administered and underwritten by The Warranty Group, a leading extended service plan provider, through its TWG Innovative Solutions (TWGIS) and Virginia Surety subsidiaries.

"We've created an extended-service plan that is consumer friendly, convenient and, most of all, affordable," said general manager Mike Balducci. "Consumers may spend weeks researching their expensive home appliance and electronics purchases, only to be forced to make a split-second decision on extended service just before checkout."

The new approach "removes the confusion and anxiety" associated with many of these decisions by providing consumers with a flexible, all-in-one service plan backed by a leading warranty provider, he said.