Traditional Insurance Plans Gaining Traction At Retail

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While extendedservice contract providers continue to enhance their consumer offering, more traditional insurance products are also being offered to end users.

Last month Best Buy began offering customers “buy-back protection,” which allows them to sell back select purchases at a later date.

Five categories are covered under the program, including laptops, netbooks, tablets, post-paid mobile phones and TVs. Pricing varies by category, with coverage for laptops, netbooks and tablets selling for $70, for example.

The amount that consumers will receive for their used products is based on a sliding time scale, so that items returned within two months will fetch up to 50 percent of their original purchase price, while those returned by the maximum redemption point — two years for tablets and mobile PCs, four years for TVs — will get back 20 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Payment is in the form of a Best Buy gift card, and the redeemed products are reprocessed through the chain’s aftermarket, trade-in and recycling channels. The program, described by Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn as “future proofing,” is underwritten by Chartis U.S. Warranty, formerly AIG.

Elsewhere, Stillwater, Okla.-based Worth Ave. Group, a full-service CE insurance provider, is doing a business in straight replacement cost coverage for the accidental damage or theft of TVs, iPhones, iPads, laptop and desktop computers, digital cameras, PDAs and other portable devices.

A key selling point is the affordability of its plans, with annual premiums for iPhones, for example, starting at $55 plus a $50 deductible. The 40-yearold company is also licensed in all 50 states, is underwritten by A.M. Best “A”-rated Hanover Insurance, and has provided coverage to more than 2,000 schools across the country.

Most recently, the company added an app to iTunes that streamlines the insurance application process. Once installed, the app quickly walks consumers through all the steps to enter device details, set up the policy and have policy information delivered via email.

“This new app is perfect for anyone who received a new device as a gift this holiday season, or even if you’ve had yours since it first hit the market,” said Worth Ave. Group marketing director Aaron Cooper.


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