Loss & theft has always been deemed an insurance product and as such, comes heavily regulated, is expensive and has restrictions on how it is sold. The overhead required to support these programs creates a heavy burden and is left to only the largest players to take on.
Over the years, several alternate methods of positioning products to be sold as loss and theft have entered the market place and clearly run into grey areas. These attempts at playing with the contract are deemed by legal experts as non-compliant and likely to fall to regulatory pressure and its consequences in the near future.
Meanwhile, the industry continues to look for an alternative approach that meets regulatory requirements, we now believe we have found the solution.
A technology historically focused in the corporate, educational and enterprise space is now being positioned as a recovery product for devices that are lost or stolen.
In a partnership agreement with Warranty Life, Absolute Software, a company that has been in business for over 20 years provides the answer. Absolute’s core business has been focused in providing RECOVERY™ services for lost or stolen lap tops also known as Lo Jack. If a consumer’s lap top is lost or stolen, the Absolute investigation team will go to work to find the missing machine.
RECOVERY™ is all made possible by Absolutes Persistence technology applied at the OEM factory during the build process.
Currently, Persistence is embedded on over 99.9% of all lap tops worldwide including Apple, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, Toshiba, HP, Acer, Asus, Panasonic and Microsoft. Once activated via a subscription service, if the device is lost or stolen, it can be tracked with the aid of the Persistence forensic tool kit and a team of approximately 50 ex-law enforcement investigators employed by Absolute.
Because it is attached to the BIOS of the device at the factory level, Persistence cannot be wiped, erased, reset or flashed in any way, which makes it unique from any other service on the market. A thief that steals the lap top will be eventually tracked down by Absolute anywhere in the world.
In fact, they have retrieved over 30,000 lap tops in over 106 countries averaging 400 recoveries a month.
In a recent deal with Samsung, Absolute’s Persistence technology is now being placed on all Galaxy’s, Notes and Tabs worldwide. RECOVERY™ services may now be offered on mobile Samsung devices with additional OEMs coming on board in the near future.
“We expect that the Absolute product will not be an add on to the current loss and theft offerings, but be seen as replacing the cost center”, says Richard Hui CEO of Warranty Life. “The amount of overhead costs associated with running a traditional loss and theft insurance program and the restrictions it comes with, can now be removed. We see this as the only way the industry can head.”
Compliance teams from several large warranty companies have already done state by state due diligence on the positioning of this product, while other players are still scoping. “Each partner has to get comfortable with the approach, but it is clear, it’s not insurance.”
Under the new model, when a customer calls in to report their lost or stolen device, they are issued a loaner device while the Absolute investigation teams goes into action. When the device is recovered, it is offered back to the customer and the loaner device retrieved. If the device is not recovered, the Service Guarantee ensures the customer is made whole by allowing them to keep the loaner.
From the customer point of view, they are kept up and running, which is the important part of the overall experience and is comparable to current experiences offered by traditional insurance plans.
Fraud reduction is an additional bonus. People who would give their device to their relative or friend then claim it as a loss or theft, will find it a difficult challenge when they learn that device is going to be recovered by a crack investigative team.
Warranty Life has significant launches planned in the upcoming months with initial reaction from retail customers being well received. “Loss and Theft protection plans currently offered all look the same. However, with the unique recovery features and potential for other services based on the Persistence technology, we have found a significant differentiator,” adds Hui.
As Persistence gets added by more mobile device OEMs, RECOVERY™ capabilities become a reality for all devices and the old way of doing things disappears. From a cost standpoint, nothing can compete with this approach. With the net result being lower costs, lower maintenance, less restrictions and better features, there should be little resistence to those companies that embrace it.
“We hope to cover the entire market for mobile devices soon. We believe retailers and carriers selling loss and theft plans today would find it very compelling to move to a solution like this. It’s a proven product in the lap top space and with Samsung’s partnership, it’s now coming to mobile.”
At the same time, pent up sales potential is released into new channels. Now retailers that could not sell loss and theft plans before because of regulatory issues, become new opportunities.
Furthermore, Persistence technology also opens up a new range of features. Remote RECOVERY™ of videos, photos and other data on lost and stolen devices is now made possible because of the way Persistence works and offers potential for add on options not available anywhere else.
The potential for viral marketing also becomes a reality. RECOVERY™ stories will be made available to customers who have lost their phone. Stories can range from simple recoveries of devices left at a store to stories of drugs and guns related to discoveries in exotic countries. If you can think it, Absolute has done it. Social media opportunities now become endless benefits and a fun way for consumers to engage while helping to drive a repeat viral/social buy.
But the potential is not just limited to cell phones and tablets. As electronics become more and more connected to the internet, they become recoverable with Persistence technology. As OEMs embed Persistence in new product lines (e.g. TVs, gaming systems, wearable watches, MP3, stereo systems etc.) , RECOVERY ™ can be offered as a differentiating feature of protection plans. Break and enter thieves will now have to consider homes with products protected by Persistence as a concern while bringing additional peace of mind to protection plan customers. The new wearable’s industry alone is projected to become an $8 billion market next year and could be ther next hot area for mobile.
To the OEM it makes sense. Minimal cost, easy to maintain while activating a potential revenue stream for the retail client. Retailers will embrace it because it gets better uptake on the floor, which equals better profits. Warranty providers will want to arm themselves to win the retailers business, because if they don’t, competitors will.
From Absolutes standpoint, their service cannot be replicated by the competition. Protected by numerous patents and 20 years of experience and trust from the OEMs, Absolute Software holds the key to the future of the protection plan industry.
In partnership with Absolute, Warranty Life will make these products available in the next upcoming months.
Interested parties can offer this product as a white label solution which can be designed to fit into any mobile strategy.
Retailers, warranty companies, underwriters, consultants or other interested parties who want to learn more about this product should contact Warranty Life at email@example.com.