Point Guard to compete in compulsory auto liability insurance market
Point Guard Insurance Agency, a new player in the compulsory auto liability insurance policy market, is vowing to take over a considerable portion of the market by offering a better service structure and more efficient claims processes than the incumbent Compulsory Insurance Joint Underwriters Association, or ASC.
In an interview with News is my Business this week, the trio of entrepreneurs that established the company in March through a strategic alliance with Antilles Insurance Company, talked about their plans for the budding operation.
“We believe that consumers have the right to choose their insurance agency and also benefit from superior customer service. Our clients receive a policy number, insurance coverage and phone numbers for additional support if needed,” said Luigi Miranda, president and co-founder of Point Guard.
“We also provide extended hours of service and the convenience of no additional constraints to our client, including alternate options for claim submission, not requiring the presence of both parties at once nor a mandatory visit to our office,” said Miranda, whose professional background is in technology and network development.
By law, the island’s 2.5 million drivers are obligated to pay an annual $99 compulsory auto liability insurance policy upon renewing their vehicle’s inspection and registration. Until Point Guard’s arrival as a viable option, and unless the driver requested otherwise, the policy was automatically referred to the ASC. The compulsory insurance provides $4,000 coverage per accident for damages caused to a third party.
“Our market is that segment of drivers who are uninsured, which is about 85 percent of the universe of cars out there,” said Luis López, who along with Miranda and Senior Vice President Javier Cortés founded Point Guard.
In its first five months of full operation, the company has subscribed more than 25,000 policies with presence in 104 of the 160 car inspection centers throughout the island.
“Our goal is that Point Guard’s policy will be available at all points of sale in order to provide additional alternatives to consumers as per law. We understand that competition is always beneficial to consumers and we are confident that we have a superior product, supported by our personalized service,” said Miranda, acknowledging competition in this market is not on price, but on service.
Having signed up a significant number of vehicle inspection centers, Cortés said Point Guard will now pursue establishing presence at the Treasury Department collection offices and banks, which also sell the annual inspection sticker, commanding about 12 percent and 40 percent of the business, respectively.
“This market is healthy and competition is important,” he said. “So far, there has been only one provider and now the consumer has alternatives.”
Point Guard guarantees their clients claim appointments in five business days or less, a more efficient claim process, and the convenience of placing such claims via phone or directly in their home or place of business, visited by a company employee, including Saturdays.
The company, which currently has a dozen employees, is looking to expand its presence through customer service offices in Ponce, Aguada and Caguas, and later this year in Arecibo, Mayagüez and Río Grande, Miranda said. Point Guard is also working in the development of an advertising campaign to increase their customer base and continue educating consumers about the options they have at hand to select their own compulsory auto liability insurance.