VPA Newsletter August 16, 2016
VPA Voice Newsletter

The VPA Voice
"Giving a Voice to Industry Members"
Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Get ready for the most exciting and information-packed VPA Industry Conference ever! We will be at the Encore Hotel (part of the Wynn Group) August 30-31. You will all appreciate the upgraded accommodations at the Wynn Encore. We have a full agenda, including the rollout of our sales representative certification program. This program is revolutionary in the industry and through a lot of hard work - and more to come - the VPA is going to raise ALL of its members’ sales reps to a minimum standard of excellence, customer protection and product knowledge.

As an association, we recognize the importance of being INCLUSIVE of all of the critical and necessary components of our industry. As such, to encourage increased Marketer attendance, the VPA Board believes that cost should not be an imposition that keeps our valuable Marketer Members from attending the conference. As such, the VPA is providing a 50% discount on attendance fees to all Marketers. You may contact the Conference Administrator at info@vpainfo.org for the discount registration code.

I plan to spend a good amount of time at the Conference educating our attendees on the States’ “real” concerns on industry mail pieces. As the Board is aware, while the problematic telemarketing practices of a few companies has reduced this year through great, behind-the-scenes efforts we have made (and are continuing to make), the mail pieces are still on the radar screens of a few regulators who are concerned about consumer protection. I have been very successful in reaching out to the states and educating them about the VPA standards, and they have reciprocated explaining how the VPA should focus on improving consumer mail.

The VPA continues to monitor legislation that will impact our members. With Board approval and the support of our payment providers and other members (financial support and their research and staff time), the VPA has begun our “California Initiative.” For those of you who attended our very successful Fort Lauderdale Workshop, we announced and are now engaged in a process to explore and push for opening of California to VPA Members. The state presently allows only retail auto dealers to sell vehicle service contracts. California is the country’s most populous state with 38 million people and the largest economy in the United States. The VPA’s legislative team is canvassing the governmental agencies attempting to gather support for our VPA self-regulation program, and getting them behind our members to promote more competition in the state. Presently, the biggest hurdle is an industry reputation issue in the state, and we are working closely with the lobbyist to respond to any criticisms of the industry. oreover, we will consider a bill for licensing in the state. The VPA hopes to sponsor an amendment next year in California that will permit our members to sell the VSCs. The groundwork is now being laid.

The VPA’s Chairman, Paul Chernowsky, continues to be active in promoting the industry. The Board is a big advocate of the BPA’s call reporting program. This is a self-compliance program that marketers can use to supervise compliance with the VPA Standards. Stephanie Taylor from the BPA will speak at the Annual Meeting later this month and provide a summary of the results to date. The Board encourages all marketers to participate, as a compliant industry helps all of our members.

We have been receiving a lot of questions regarding state licensing, and also questions on multiple sales and how to manage those. We have slated those for discussion at the conference. Also, we are bringing in a brand management company to help our members with their internet presence. And finally, the VPA is continuing to update its membership records. Thank you to all of you who updated their records with the VPA. If you still haven’t done so, please do so promptly. Please immediately email your FULL COMPANY NAME, CURRENT ADDRESS, BEST CONTACT PERSON, AND ALL OF YOUR STAFF EMAIL ADDRESSES that you want added to our email update list. The more the better! Send them to info@vpainfo.org.

We welcome your comments and suggestions to improve the VPA and increase the services it is able to provide its members. Please email me with any questions, suggestions or anything else you need. My direct line is 954-343-6959.

To our success!
Robby H. Birnbaum

Annual Meeting is Almost Here!

VPA’s Annual Meeting is just around the corner! We hope to see everyone on August 30-31 at the Wynn/Encore Hotel in Las Vegas. We’ll be kicking it off with a reception on Tuesday evening, August 30, with the full program to follow on Wednesday, August 31. This event will be an exciting learning experience complete with informative sessions, networking and industry updates all focused around helping your business succeed. In addition to hearing from our VPA Administrator Robby Birnbaum & President Paul Chernawsky, we have an incredible lineup of speakers scheduled.

We are also bringing in a licensing paralegal to teach a brief session on how to apply and deal with Missouri- and Florida-specific application issues.

Take a look below at some of the great sessions we have planned. It’s going to be a great event – we hope to see you there!

  • VPA Certification Overview & Demo | Laurence Larose, TrainandCertify.org
    Laurence will discuss the VPA's upcoming Certified Vehicle Protection Professional (CVPP) training module. The bar for staying compliant and competitive keeps rising in the vehicle service contract industry and a business’ success depends on its most important asset – its employees. If employees don’t have the right knowledge and skills, then the business isn’t operating as efficiently or as effectively as it could. Training and Certification is a standardized method for evaluating employee knowledge and providing measurable results that can be tied to development plans and business objectives.
  • Marketing Discussion | Dave Clarke, CFO, Encore Direct Marketing
    Encore is an industry leader in the marketing field. Dave will be discussing marketing ideas and strategies that are working in the VSC field and give his overview of the marketing landscape as a whole.
  • Capital Activity in the VSC Arena | Gina Cocking, Colonnade Securities LLC
    How do you position your company and really make money in this industry? Don’t miss the opportunity to hear a discussion on the capital markets activity in the VSC industry.
  • BPA Call Monitoring Update | Stephanie B. Taylor, Director, Client Services North America, BPA Quality
    Stephanie will discuss the latest trends and data points from their diligent work of monitoring VPA member calls.
  • Reputation Management: Protecting Your Brand | Chart Ruddie, Profile Defenders
    What does the internet say about your company? In today’s world it's of ever growing importance to track and monitor your online perception. Potential customers and new leads are lost each day you aren't protecting and repairing your image online.
  • The Federal Landscape | Nick Owens, Magnolia Strategy Group
    Nicholas N. Owens is the CEO of Magnolia Strategy Partners, a bipartisan government relations and corporate strategic counseling firm. As a senior executive in the federal government, Owens was appointed as the fifth National Ombudsman for the U.S. Small Business Administration. Nick offers the rare ability to look directly into the decision making process at the federal level.

For more information, visit the Annual Meeting site.

Additional Important Member Updates

Call Date Restrictions: As many of you know, the federal and state Do Not Call Lists apply to all outbound calling to consumers, unless your company has a lawful exemption such as an existing business relationship or similar (consult an attorney for legal advice on this issue). Importantly, in September there are some additional state-specific restrictions to be aware of: No outbound calling to consumers September 5th (Labor Day) in the states of AL, LA, MS, NE, RI, and UT.

State of Wisconsin and other Concerns: The state of Wisconsin contacted us concerned about direct mailpieces relating to members and non-members. Please be mindful of proper name registration and placing the correct disclosures on your mailpieces, especially, for example, with state license number disclosures for your admins. For example, did you know that it is a best practice to list identifying disclosures for Texas, Wisconsin, New York, and Florida on your mailpieces? Do you know what they are? We will review these at the conference. Also, we are seeing, and this is a particular issue in Illinois and Ohio, significant use of prescreened data for mail. Please make sure you are using the correct language with these offers as these two states have been exceptionally critical on this issue.

Reminder on Cancels and Refunds, along with coverage descriptions: In a number of our recent onsite visits to members, we have noticed slight delays in refunds and sales reps that need to be more careful with explaining coverage. Please be mindful not to describe coverage as an extension of the original vehicle warranty, or use terms like, “bumper-to-bumper.” Remember there is a 30-day free look policy, and cancels and refunds must be made in a timely fashion. The Minnesota AG has been watching for timely refunds.

New Members: The VPA received a number of new member applications in the last 30 days and we are working expeditiously to check the companies and process them.

Congratulations: Special congratulations to Brian Becker, our VPA Board Member, on his newest arrival!! Congratulations to the Becker Family!

Thanks to our Sponsors!

As we look ahead to the Annual Meeting, we want to take this opportunity to thank our generous sponsors for their support of this event and participation in the VPA. This event wouldn’t be possible without your help!

Title Sponsor:

Breakfast Sponsors:

Diamond Sponsors: