SNC Spotlight

Insurance can be complex. Turn to our blog for up-to-date, relevant content to help you make the best decisions for your financial institution. With expert knowledge from seasoned industry professionals, we simplify insurance topics so you can get back to business.
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Protecting Your Auto Loan Portfolio From Risk

Tracking Alone Is Not Enough

 

We’ve all seen the recent headlines: Inflation is up. Purchasing power is down. Pandemic relief money to consumers has ended. Both new and used car values are inflated. Borrowers are taking out larger loan amounts. Any way you look at it, many consumers are feeling strapped — and when people are struggling financially, they look for any way they can to save cash. Unfortunately, a common “solution” is to let their auto insurance lapse, or raise their deductible.

Save Your Portfolio From Auto Industry Inflation-1That’s one of the reasons why many smart lenders in the finance company space maintain an insurance tracking program to ensure their borrowers are maintaining adequate private coverage. And that’s a good move, because uninsured or underinsured borrowers create a big risk of heightened charge-offs in a lender’s portfolio.

Bad news: That’s not enough to keep you protected

But tracking alone is not enough. Research has shown that merely tracking who’s covered and who’s not does not effectively or reliably change borrower behavior. Even with repeated reminders to correct the deficiency, without an enforcement mechanism a significant percentage of borrowers, particularly low prime or subprime borrowers, simply won’t maintain the coverage they committed to in their loan agreement. Unless there is some consequence for noncompliance, many are unlikely to take the initiative to purchase a policy just because of letters or phone calls from their lender.

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“But tracking is so cheap!”

Lenders will sometimes tell me that a tracking-only program is such a negligible cost that it’s not a big concern. What they don’t realize, though, is that any amount they spend on it is largely money they’re flushing down the drain. Because passive tracking only, without a creditor-placed product, doesn’t change borrower behavior, it also doesn’t change your institution’s risk profile — your risk is still there! And isn’t lowering your risk the purpose for tracking insurance in the first place? This is one of those times where you really do get what you pay for.


On the other hand, when you combine a technologically sophisticated tracking system with a high-quality creditor-placed insurance product, you’re getting the most bang for your buck, in two important ways:

  • First, you’ll have an insurance product in case there’s a repo damaged vehicle — a product that is affordable, collectable, and has value for the borrower too.
  • Second, many of your uninsured borrowers, when faced with certificate placement, will actually respond — they go out and get good insurance!
     

Relief, not regret

When a borrower who was incentivized to go out and purchase their own coverage has an accident, it’s their insurance company they’re going to call — not you. Meaning this borrower’s accident isn’t going to turn into your problem, your charge-off, or a ding on your balance sheet.

ProtectingYourAutoLoanWith StateNationalDoesn’t that sound better than the frustration of realizing that you KNEW a borrower was uninsured and even told them about it, but they didn’t take action — and now your portfolio is taking a hit because they drove uninsured anyway and got in an accident? Sure, there are alternative standalone programs that offer protection on some repossessions, but that’s only for filing lienholder claims on repos that actually have private insurance. The bulk of your losses are with the accounts that have no insurance in the first place.

It’s more important than ever to keep ALL your risk mitigation bases covered

SN_CARS-LP_withoutSNAs the risk of uninsured, underinsured, and cash-strapped borrowers increases, it’s vital to provide them with the kind of incentive that will keep your collateral covered. The more financially stressed they are, the more unlikely they are to obtain coverage just because they received a letter in the mail or a phone call from your collections staff (if there’s even anyone with time to make those calls, with the challenges of finding, keeping, and training staff in today’s “Great Resignation” environment).

Protecting your borrowers and your business

Uninsured borrowers and charge-offs can be a costly reality for any auto lender. Combining accurate, technology-driven tracking WITH a high-quality insurance product is a proven way to mitigate the risk of charge-offs hitting your balance sheet. A comprehensive portfolio protection solution will not only be affordable to your borrowers while providing your company with robust protection – it is the only strategy that will actually change the behavior of borrowers when it comes to purchasing and keeping the coverage they need to protect both of you.

Mark Baltuska
Mark Baltuska
Mark Baltuska is Vice President of State National Companies Finance Company Market, where he is responsible for finance company sales of collateral protection insurance (CPI) to lenders across the country.

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With Custom QR Codes, It’s Now Even Easier for Your Borrowers to Upload Their Insurance!

State National brings back QR codes — now new and improved!   When was the last time you scanned a Quick Response (QR) code? Was it on a restaurant menu, on a real-estate sign, or maybe to access a form? The reliable QR code has now become a part of our daily life. In our mobile-first technology era, QR codes are back, giving consumers instant access anywhere to the targeted information you want to provide them. There is no need to keep pamphlets in stock or worry about your customers going to the wrong website when scrolling past noisy ads on search engines. While State National has offered our clients the ability to have QR codes on their borrower notices before, there was not a real demand for them until the recent increase in use sparked by the pandemic. With increased consumer receptiveness to these abstract squares and State National’s dedication to constant improvement, we are harnessing the power of QR codes again — adding on improved customizations that make it even easier for borrowers to submit their insurance when they take out a new loan or have a lapse in coverage. "We appreciate having a good vendor partner that understands your needs sometimes before you even know you have a need. State National is always looking for ways to make things better for your staff as well as your leadership.” – JAX Federal Credit Union QR Codes for Borrower Notices Borrowers can scan their personalized QR code on their mailed paper notice and be directed straight to their personal account on MyLoanInsurance.com. On this borrower-friendly site they can view their insurance status and easily provide updated proof of insurance. Since the QR code on each borrower’s notice is specific to them, no reference ID or PIN is needed, and the webpage will automatically populate with their name and vehicle type. A helpful short video applicable to their particular situation will instruct them on exactly what they need to provide to resolve their specific impairment. And finally, the site will also show them how to easily upload and submit their information. Our borrower-specific QR codes personalize the website borrowers are directed to, including details such as informing them if the lien holder is missing or if their deductible is too high.   QR Codes for Lenders Lender custom QR codes are another way we provide total access and empower your borrowers to easily update their insurance with us before they even enter our notice cycle. These institution-specific lender QR codes can be used anywhere you choose, including your website, lender agreement, and loan closing documents. Borrowers who scan your custom lender code are directed to a MyLoanInsurance.com page branded with your financial institution’s name and logo. From here, borrowers can upload insurance even if they do not know their access PIN.   Pro Tip: Add Your Lender QR Code to Your Lender Agreement to Prompt New Borrowers to Submit Their Insurance We encourage you to add your custom QR code in your new loan packet and actively point it out to borrowers when they take out a vehicle or home loan. Let your borrowers know they can scan that QR code to quickly and easily provide their insurance details. The visual effect of having the QR code on the agreement packet reminds the borrower to take action, and as soon as the website pops up, it tells them exactly what they need to do to update their insurance. MyLoanInsurance.com is accessible 24/7, so borrowers with missing information or a lapse in coverage can update their insurance at any time, at their convenience.   Scan Here for an Example of a Lender QR Code Leading by Always Improving Since 1973, State National has been dedicated to a culture of continuous improvement. We are proud to be the technology leader in our industry, and are consistently evolving to make portfolio protection easier, faster, and more user-friendly for your borrowers and your staff. We are glad to provide our lenders with these customized QR codes as the latest feature to make the process even more seamless and convenient. Borrower QR codes are already actively employed on all mailed notifications. To find out more about getting your own customized lender QR code, contact your Client Executive today!

Tackling Inflation and the Auto Industry Part 2: Maintaining Your Competitive Edge

Inflation is squeezing businesses and consumers alike. Perhaps the easiest industry in which to spot the consequences of financial stress is the automotive industry. How can you maintain a competitive advantage while also protecting your portfolio in this market? Read on to find out.   Spotlight Soundbite: Maintaining Your Competitive Edge During Auto Industry Inflation   Consumers Are Facing Post-Pandemic Financial Stress The government’s stimulus checks have long run out, as have the grace periods many financial institutions implemented at the beginning of the pandemic. Many individuals have returned to work and are again bearing the costs of gas, transportation, childcare, and other employment-related expenses. With many Americans increasingly financially strapped, what does this mean for lenders? Unfortunately, prices are soaring and may continue to rise. We know that those directly impacted by inflation (which is all lower- to middle-class Americans) alter their consumption, investment choices, and spending habits as their purchasing power decreases. Something has to give as many consumers struggle to make ends meet. Unfortunately, many may choose to scale back on or even cancel their auto insurance as a result. In addition, consumer debt-to-income ratio is expected to increase. As borrowers take out large auto loans, particularly on used cars, they will be stuck with these loans even if the value of the item purchased decreases long-term — potentially putting borrowers upside down on their loans, with a vehicle worth considerably less than what they still owe in the future.   Revenue Lost in Charge-offs What does this mean for financial institutions? Unfortunately, this financial stress being felt by consumers also increases risk in a lender’s loan portfolio. As financial institutions are providing loans for vehicles with a hyper-inflated value, it’s likely they will see an increase in bad debt as those loans start to default to historic norms and possibly higher. Without proper risk mitigation measures in place, if the collateral sustains damage or loss when a borrower is uninsured or underinsured, the financial institution making the loan can also find itself “upside down,” so to speak, with the claims amount received insufficient to cover its exposure. Not all is lost, however — financial institutions with a high-quality portfolio protection insurance program will experience relief from a significant amount of this bad debt. Not only will this critical protection keep your borrowers covered, it will also safeguard your balance sheet.   Insurance Tracking Also Helps Lenders Manage Risk In addition to the protection provided by the insurance coverage, lenders can also use the detailed borrower insurance tracking in the program to assess and mitigate risk. High-quality, real-time tracking allows lenders to leverage knowledge of a borrower’s lack of coverage as an indicator of when a loan may be at a higher risk of default. This early warning sign provides an opportunity to initiate preventive steps to work with those borrowers to avoid collections, as well as take proactive measures to step up early collections efforts.   How a Program with State National Tackle Inflationary Hardships We can help as you are undergoing a double squeeze from tighter net interest margins. In addition to decreasing your charge-offs, here are a few of the relevant ways our program supports you no matter the storm. Our partners have full transparency and access to immediate real-time data with InsurTrak, the industry’s only system built from scratch specifically for CPI. It’s your single sign-on source of truth for insurance tracking, claims, and reporting, resulting in maximum ease, speed, and transparency. With your loan portfolio data at your fingertips, accessible instantly all in one place, it's easy and quick to identify trends and potentially at-risk borrowers. Our internal infrastructure is supported by our parent company Markel, a $33 billion Fortune 500 company, which has been proudly rated “A” (Excellent) by AM Best for many decades and is regarded as an industry leader. Our combined tenure, strength, and expertise translate to unmatched peace of mind and security for our partners. Our Claims Advisory Recovery Services (CARS) boosts your bottom line by mitigating your auto portfolio losses, reducing your internal expenses, and giving you more time to spend servicing your borrowers. With CARS, we manage repossessed collateral and remarketing profitability at auctions for you while also maximizing settlements from outside insurance claims and recovering suspected skips. All of this combined with State National’s culture of continuous improvement for the past half century, unwavering commitment to investment in technology, and unsurpassed service delivery ensures we can best serve our partners in both good times and challenging times, and we can help your business weather any economic storm.   Practical Solutions for Mitigating Portfolio Risks State National's Client Advisory Council (CAC) recently discussed some practical steps their credit unions are taking for creating alternative revenue methods. Even in the face of rising inflation and decreased lending demand, there are still many ways credit unions can grow while serving their members well.     For more information on how our solutions can help your credit union, contact us! To read the first article in this SNC Spotlight series, Tackling Inflation and the Auto Industry, visit: Protecting Your Credit Union from Car Market Volatility    

Tackling Inflation and the Auto Industry Part 1: Protecting Your Credit Union from Car Market Volatility

In today’s auto lending environment, a comprehensive and high-quality portfolio protection program is more important than ever — including partnering with a provider that will pay the full loan balance instead of actual cash value (ACV).   Protecting Your Credit Union from Car Market Volatility   According to Scott Colbert, EVP, Chief Economist for Commerce Trust Co., in Q2 of 2022 there were 17,000 auto dealers in the U.S. — but there are only about 34,000 new vehicles on those dealers’ lots. That’s roughly only 2 to 2.5 new vehicles per dealer available today. Employees have returned to work amidst a shortage of the auto parts necessary for the vehicles they drive to get there. New car inventory sits on hold due to a shortage of microchips and other supply chain issues. Some dealerships report their back order for new vehicles ranges from a couple of months to 5 years! This has caused used car demand to skyrocket, along with sticker prices. According to J.D. Power, the average sales price of a new vehicle during the first six months of 2022 hit a record of $44,907 — 17.5% higher than just a year ago. Edmunds.com reported that 12.7% of borrowers who financed a new vehicle in June 2022 had monthly payments of $1,000 or more. And used cars are definitely not exempt from rising prices — the average monthly payment on a used car was $503 in the first quarter of 2022 — up from $413 for the same period in 2021, reports Experian.   Relief Is Not Yet In Sight Analysts don’t expect auto prices to begin leveling off until late in 2023 or even into 2024. Unfortunately, people who need a car now don’t have the luxury of waiting for prices to decrease — they will pay whatever they can stretch to afford. To meet this demand lenders are offering larger and larger loans for both new and used vehicles. This desperation in the car market has forced many borrowers into disproportionately high-cost auto loans — with recent higher interest rates adding to borrowers’ monthly payment burdens.   Borrowers Aren’t the Only Ones at Risk Future market volatility has the ability to impact a vehicle’s perceived value between now and when a member pays off their loan. Today’s larger loan balances and longer loan terms leave them at risk of being upside down, with a vehicle worth considerably less than what they still owe. As a result, this also increases risk for credit unions in their loan portfolios as they are providing loans to their members for vehicles with a hyper-inflated value. If the collateral sustains damage or loss when a borrower is uninsured or underinsured, the credit union can also find itself “upside down,” with the claims amount they receive insufficient to cover its exposure.   The Good News The solution? When you partner in a high-quality collateral protection program with State National, you can receive Waiver of Actual Cash Value (ACV) coverage — which means State National will pay the value of the entire loan amount remaining and not just a car’s value at the time of a claim. In “normal” times, Waiver of ACV coverage is a valuable tool for decreasing risk in a lender’s portfolio. In times like these, when lenders are already being double-squeezed by low net interest margins and increases in bad debt, it’s a vital part of a successful credit union’s risk mitigation strategy. For more information on how this valuable solution can help your credit union, contact one of our specialists today!   To read the second article in this SNC Spotlight series, visit Part 2, Maintaining Your Competitive Edge.