October 31, 2013

Mobile Phone Insurance:

While most service contract providers have been able to expand service contracts to cover certain types of damage, only the wireless carriers have been able to bundle insurance policies that cover loss and theft with service contracts that cover defects and malfunctions.

Mobile phones are different from most other categories of consumer electronics. With the current models of smartphones in particular, it's now possible to carry around $700 worth of highly droppable, losable and stealable functionality -- perils that demand insurance.

Mobile phones started out with at least their defects and malfunctions covered by manufacturer's warranties. And then the retailers and carriers that sell the phones added service contracts that lengthen the duration of those warranties and also extend that coverage to different kinds of accidental damage from handling.

So far, however, it's been the wireless carriers who have stepped up first to cover the additional perils of loss or theft. And rather than continue the path where service contracts extended the warranty and then added the damage protection, they're selling loss and theft protection as straight insurance policies. However, they're then able to sell these insurance policies bundled with service contracts, and to offer them together at a slight discount to what they would cost separately.

Insurance vs. Service Contracts

In the U.S., insurance regulation is done at the state level. And while accidental damage to personal electronics is usually covered by homeowners' insurance policies, most states have allowed narrowly-defined accidental damage from handling coverage to be added to service contracts for items such as laptop computers.

However, loss and theft are perils that always must be covered by insurance, not service contracts. There's simply no way to convince the regulators that such coverages are natural extensions of warranties. They're always insurance. And insurance in many states can be sold only by those licensed to do so -- not by sales clerks or cashiers.

So it's the wireless carriers who have been the first to be able to put together the right people, places and policies to allow them to sell bundles of service contracts and insurance policies that comprehensively cover the five top perils facing mobile phone owners: defects, malfunctions, damage, loss and theft.

We visited each of the top four wireless carriers in the U.S., seeking information on how they cover defects, malfunctions, damage, loss and theft, how much they charge for that coverage, how it's named and packaged, and what they exclude from that coverage. We found that two sell service contracts bundled with insurance policies, where the service contract covers the defects and malfunctions, and the insurance policy covers damage, loss and theft. The other two sell a single policy that covers all five perils.

Bells & Whistles

And then they all try to dress up their coverage of those five basic perils with anti-theft apps and anti-virus protection, and literally all kinds of bells and whistles that a user can activate in the event that they misplace their phone or somebody steals it. One carrier even bundles in the right to upgrade to a better phone.

In terms of mobile phone service contracts and insurance, there seems to be two dominant players. Of the top four U.S. wireless carriers, we found three that are working with affiliates of Asurion LLC and two that are working with affiliates of Assurant Inc. But doesn't that equal five, not four? Well, yes. One carrier works with both companies, with different programs for smartphones and tablets, respectively.

Two attributes make the programs similar to each other, but utterly different from all other kinds of service contracts. First, the premium is paid monthly, and coverage continues as long as the premium is paid, which is an enormous convenience. Second, the premium is added to the monthly phone bill, which according to legend is paid before even the rent or groceries.

Prices vary, but not tremendously. In the most popular bundles, AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile each charge $10.00 per month. Verizon Wireless charges $8.00 per month for dumb phones and $10.00 for smartphones and tablets. Sprint charges $8.00 for dumb phones, $11.00 for smartphones, and $13.00 for tablets.

Each carrier also imposes a deductible on every claim that involves damage, loss or theft. They each have a chart of virtually every mobile phone sold in the U.S., grouped together into categories that incur a deductible of anywhere from $45 to $200 per unit. As can be expected, the smartphones and tablets are towards the high end of that scale, while the dumb phones are towards the bottom.

There's also a limit of two or three such claims within any given 12-month period, and a limit on the value of any given claim (usually $1,500). But that $1,500 level is breached only by some of the high-end tablets, so it's not an issue for most customers. The annual limit on the number of claims can be more of an issue for clumsy, careless or forgetful customers.

What follows is a high-level tour of the service contract and insurance offerings of the top four carriers.

AT&T Mobility

AT&T Mobility is a subsidiary of AT&T Inc., a telephone company formed out of the mergers of Southwestern Bell, Pacific Bell, BellSouth, Ameritech, and the American Telephone and Telegraph Co. AT&T Mobility itself is a result of the merger of Cingular Wireless and AT&T Wireless Services Inc. AT&T Wireless was known as McCaw Cellular Communications before AT&T acquired it 20 years ago. And Cingular Wireless was itself a joint venture of Southwestern Bell and BellSouth.

The AT&T Mobile Protection Pack is a suite of services that includes defect and damage coverage as well as the replacement of stolen units, a lost unit locator service, a lost or stolen unit locking and data erasing service, automatic data backups, and online or phone-based support services.

AT&T Mobile Insurance covers repairs and replacements. AT&T Mobile Locate is an app that automatically backs up contacts, photos and videos to a cloud service, so they can be restored to a new unit in the case of loss. It also can be programmed to set off an alarm to help the subscriber find a lost unit, or in the case of a theft, to lock the phone and erase its data. Enhanced Support provides access to online and phone-based help.

The price for the AT&T Mobile Protection Pack is $9.99 per month per mobile phone number. AT&T Mobile Insurance also is available separately at a price of $6.99 per month. Those who buy AT&T Mobile Insurance by itself can later add the AT&T Mobile Locate and Enhanced Support services for an additional $3.00 per month.

AT&T Mobile Insurance is underwritten by Continental Casualty Company, a CNA member company, and administered by Asurion Protection Services LLC (formerly known as lock\line LLC).

Each claim, whether from defect, damage, loss or theft, is subject to a $1,500 per-occurrence limit. A maximum of two replacements or repairs are allowed within any 12-month period. All claims must be reported within 60 days of occurrence.

Each type of mobile phone equipment is subject to a different deductible. Most of the phones sold by Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, Sony-Ericsson, and LG are subject to a $50 deductible. The Apple iPhone 2 & 3 has a $125 deductible, as does the Lenovo S10, the Nokia Lumia 900, the BlackBerry Bold, and a handful of other units. The Apple iPhone 4 & 5 and all iPads have a $199 deductible, as do the HTC Titan, the LG Optimus, the BlackBerry Q10, Z10 and Torch, and some of the high-end Samsung Galaxy models, among others.

Exclusions

Among the exclusions listed in the AT&T Mobile Insurance terms and conditions are these:

A. Indirect loss, meaning: any delay; loss of market; loss of use or any other consequential loss; interruption of business, or inconvenience; an increase of loss caused by or resulting from the delay in replacing covered property due to interference at the location of replacement or repair by strikers, other persons or any other cause of loss.
B. Loss due to the intentional parting of covered property by you or anyone entrusted with the property. Loss due to intentional, dishonest, fraudulent or criminal acts by you or your family members; any of your authorized representatives; anyone you entrust with the property; and any of their family members; or anyone else with an interest in the property for any purpose, acting alone or in collusion with others.
C. Loss due to obsolescence, including technological obsolescence, of the covered property.
D. Loss caused by or resulting from change or enhancement in color, texture, or finish. Loss caused by or resulting from expansion, contraction, or any cosmetic damage of covered property, however caused. Such excluded causes of loss include, but are not limited to, scratches, marring, and cracked displays that occur to covered property that do not affect the mechanical or electrical function of the covered property.
E. Loss caused by or resulting from faulty repair, adjusting, installation, servicing or maintenance, unless fire or explosion ensues and then only for loss by ensuing fire or explosion. Loss caused by or resulting from unauthorized repair or replacement.
F. Loss caused by or resulting from the discharge, dispersal, seepage, migration, release or escape of pollutants.
G. Loss caused by or resulting from use of the covered property in a manner for which it was not designed or intended by the manufacturer. Loss caused by or resulting from failure to follow the manufacturer's installation, operation or maintenance instructions.
H. Loss caused by or resulting from error or omission in design, programming, system configuration, faulty construction, or any original defect in any covered property, or manufacturer's recall. Loss due to mechanical and/or electrical failure occurring during the term of the manufacturer's warranty.
I. Loss or damage to or of batteries (unless otherwise covered as a covered accessory when part of a loss to other covered property) is not covered. Loss or damage to or of personalized data, such as contact lists, photos, video, and music downloads is not covered. Loss or damage to or of customized software, such as personal information managers, ring tones, games, or screen savers is not covered. Loss or damage to or of antennas, external housings, or casings that does not affect the mechanical or electrical function of the covered property is not covered.
J. Loss caused by or resulting from normal wear and tear, gradual deterioration, inherent vice or latent defect.
K. Any loss or damage caused by or through or in consequence, directly or indirectly, of computer virus, whether intentional or unintentional, and whether such loss be direct or indirect, proximate or remote or be in whole or in part caused by, contributed to or aggravated by the covered causes of loss insured against under this certificate.
L. Any loss or damage caused by or through or in consequence, directly or indirectly, of nuclear hazard, meaning any weapon employing atomic fission or fusion; or nuclear reaction or radiation or radioactive contamination from any other cause; but we will pay for direct physical loss caused by resulting fire, if the fire would be covered under this certificate. Loss caused by or resulting from war, including undeclared or civil war; warlike action by a military force, including action hindering or defending against an actual or expected attack, by any government, sovereign or other authority using military personnel or other agents; or insurrection, rebellions, revolution, usurped power of action taken by government authority in hindering or defending against any of these. Loss caused by or resulting from governmental action, meaning seizure or destruction of property by order of governmental authority including economic and trade sanction as provided under applicable law and U.S. Treasury Department guidelines.

Sprint

Sprint Corp. is a wireless company that grew out of the long distance telephone company once owned by the Southern Pacific Railroad. Southern Pacific Communications Co. and GTE Corp. merged to form GTE Sprint, then that entity merged with United Telecom to form US Sprint.

Twenty years ago, the company began to shift from long distance to wireless, acquiring Centel, Nextel Communications, Alamosa Holdings, Gulf Coast Wireless, Clearwire Corp., and Virgin Mobile USA. Boost Mobile LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sprint that provides prepaid wireless services in the U.S.

In 2012, the Japanese company SoftBank Corp. agreed to acquire 70% of Sprint, a stake that was expanded to 78% in 2013. In August 2013, SoftBank expanded its ownership to 80%. The remaining 20% still trades publicly in New York under the ticker symbol S.

For mobile phones, Sprint bundles the Equipment Replacement Program and the Equipment Service and Repair Program into a package called Total Equipment Protection. For tablets and netbooks, Sprint offers the Assurant Advanced Protection Pack.

The Equipment Replacement Program is insurance against loss, theft, or damage. It's administered by Asurion Protection Services LLC, and is underwritten by Continental Casualty Co., a CNA company. The Equipment Service and Repair Program is more like a service contract, covering defects and malfunctions. It's administered by Asurion Warranty Protection Services LLC.

Protecting User Data

The Equipment Replacement Program includes a protection app developed by Asurion Mobile Applications Inc., which a Sprint customer can download to their mobile phone. Once that app is installed, if the unit is lost, it can be programmed to emit an alarm to help the user find it. It also can be found using a GPS locator function that also can track the unit as it moves. In the case of a theft, the app can lock the phone and erase all contacts. An automatic backup function preserves those contacts and other user data until they can be loaded into a new phone.

The Equipment Service and Repair Program is $4.00 per month on its own. The Equipment Replacement Program is $5.00 on its own. The price for both, bundled together as the Total Equipment Protection plan, is $8.00 per month.

For certain high-end smartphones, the price of the Equipment Replacement Program is $9.00 a month. Units on this price schedule include the Apple iPhone 4 and 5 models, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 L900, Galaxy Note 3 N900, Galaxy Nexus L700, Galaxy S III 16GB, Galaxy S III 32GB, and Galaxy S 4, and certain units made by Motorola, HTC, LG and Sonim. These high-end units are also subject to a deductible of either $150 or $200.

Bundled with the Equipment Service and Repair Program, the price of the Total Equipment Protection for these high-end phones is $11.00 per month. For all other mobile phones, the price for the Total Equipment Protection bundle is $8.00 per month, and the deductible is either $50 or $100.

There's a $1,500 per occurrence limit for each covered loss, repair or replacement. And there's a limit of three replacements or repairs within any 12-month period.

The list of exclusions for the Sprint Equipment Replacement Program is identical to the 12 we listed above for the AT&T Mobile Insurance program. That's the problem when the same administrator and the same insurance company run allegedly different programs: while the differences are superficial, underneath they turn out to be essentially the same.

Tablet & Netbook Plan

Not everything Sprint does is the same as what AT&T does, however. For tablets and netbooks, Sprint offers a completely different insurance plan: the Assurant Advanced Protection Pack. As its name implies, it's backed by Assurant Solutions. And this plan covers loss, theft, accidental damage, and malfunction, with a $100 deductible, a limit of $1,500 per claim and a limit of three claims within a 12-month period. There's no deductible for claims caused entirely by defects or malfunctions.

As with Sprint's program for mobile phones, this program for tablets contains two components: there's Assurant Device Service & Support, a service contract program that also includes data protection, tech support and credit monitoring services. And there's Assurant Device Insurance, an insurance product that covers loss, theft, and accidental damage.

The price for the Assurant Advanced Protection Pack bundle is $13.00 per month. The price for the Assurant Device Service & Support service contract alone is $6.00 per month. Assurant Device Insurance, by itself, is $10.00 per month.

Covered devices include the Apple iPad, the Dell Inspiron Mini, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the HTC Evo, and similar products.

The insurance company behind the Device Insurance plan in most states is American Security Insurance Co. In New Hampshire it's Standard Guaranty Insurance Co. In Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands it's Caribbean American Property Insurance Co. Administrators and obligors across the different states and territories include The Signal, Federal Warranty Service Corp., Sureway Inc., United Service Protection Inc., and Assurant Service Protection Inc. All are affiliates of Assurant Solutions.

Data protection services are provided through downloadable apps: Secure My Device, Back Up My Files, Virus Defense, and Monitor My Credit. Secure My Device includes location tracking and alarm activation for lost tablets and remote locking and data erasure for stolen units. Back Up My Files automatically makes a remote copy of up to 2 Gigabytes of files for tablet users and up to 5 Gigabytes of data for netbook users. Monitor My Credit is a service that kicks in after a theft, watching for possibly fraudulent activity for three months after a claim is filed.

The list of exclusions is rather brief:

"We will not pay for loss caused by or resulting from: pre-existing conditions, corrosion or rust; failure to follow manufacturer's maintenance recommendations; delay or loss of market, loss of income or interruption of business; intentional and/or dishonest acts; unauthorized repair or replacement; acts of God; inherent design defects; no problem found for software and hardware. Regardless of the cause of loss, we will not pay the costs which are recoverable under any product warranty."

T-Mobile USA

T-Mobile USA Inc. is the formal name of the American subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG. After a failed attempts to merge with AT&T Wireless in 2011, the company successfully merged with MetroPCS Communications Inc. earlier this year. Previous U.S. wireless mergers and acquisitions completed by either T-Mobile or Deutsche Telekom include Aerial Communications Inc., Omnipoint Communications Inc., SunCom Wireless Holdings Inc., Powertel Inc., and VoiceStream Wireless Corp.

Premium Handset Protection is a service contract and insurance policy that covers defects, equipment malfunctions, accidental damage, loss, and theft. It's usually bundled with Jump!, an equipment upgrade service that allows users to swap phones up to twice a year, after an initial waiting period of six months in which there are no upgrades allowed.

Bundled with Jump!, the service contract and insurance policy is $10.00 per month. For Premium Handset Protection coverage alone, the price is $8.00 a month.

Lookout Mobile Security Premium is an app that's pre-loaded on most T-Mobile phones. It's also usually bundled with Jump! However, the subscriber can choose to activate the service by itself and then pay a fee of $4.00 a month for service. Or, they can buy the Jump! and Premium Handset Protection bundle for $10.00 per month, in which case the Mobile Security service is already included in the price.

Once activated, the Mobile Security Premium service automatically backs up a user's data, and scans all downloaded apps for security risks. For lost phones, there's a GPS locator service and an alarm that can be activated remotely. For stolen phones, there's a phone lock and data erase service.

Warranty Processing Fee?

There is a $5.00 processing fee for each defect or malfunction claim. There is no annual limit for the number of defect or malfunction claims, however. But there is a limit of two claims within any given 12-month period for loss, theft or damage. And there's a maximum limit of a $1,500 loss for any single occurrence.

In addition, there's a sliding scale of deductibles for all damage, loss or theft claims. The Apple iPhone 5, HTC One and Samsung Galaxy Note top the list with a $175 deductible. The Apple iPhone 4, Blackberry Q10 and Z10, Nokia Lumia, and similar units are $150. The Sharp Sidekick, Blackberry Curve, LG myTouch, and similar units are $100. Most of the lower-end Nokia, Samsung, Huawei, Alcatel, Motorola, and other units have either a $20 or a $50 deductible.

Assurant Solutions is the vertically-integrated administrator, obligor and underwriter, through affiliates such as The Signal LP, Sureway Inc., Federal Warranty Service Corp., United Service Protection Inc., Assurant Service Protection Inc., American Reliable Insurance Co., American Security Insurance Co., and of course American Bankers Insurance Co.

As with Sprint's tablet plan, the list of exclusions is relatively brief:

"Losses caused or resulting from the following are not covered: corrosion or rust; pre-existing conditions; failure to follow manufacturer's maintenance recommendations; intentional or dishonest acts; unauthorized repair or service; power fluctuations; delay or loss of market, loss of income or interruption of business; and inherent design defects."

Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless is still technically a partnership of the regional Bell operating company Verizon Communications Inc. and the British wireless company Vodafone Group plc. Verizon owns 55% and Vodafone owns 45%. However, early next year, Verizon Communications is expected to buy out Vodafone's share of the partnership and turn Verizon Wireless into its wireless division.

Verizon Wireless offers Total Equipment Coverage, a bundle of Extended Warranty, a service contract that covers defects and malfunctions, and Wireless Phone Protection, an insurance policy that covers damage, loss and theft. Total Equipment Coverage is priced at $8.00 a month for most mobile phones, and at $9.99 for the iPhone and most tablets.

Priced separately, Extended Warranty is $3.00 per month for all devices, while Wireless Phone Protection by itself is $5.18 a month for most mobile phones and $8.18 per month for the iPhone and most tablets.

Customers are limited to two claims for damaged, lost or stolen equipment within any 12-month period. For most phones, the limit per claim is $400. For what Verizon calls "Advanced Devices, Special Devices & Tablets,& the limit per claim is $1,500.

A sliding scale of deductibles is used for each damage, loss or theft claim. The iPhone 4 or 5 with 32 Gigabytes or more of memory have a $199 deductible. Those units with either 8 or 16 Gigabytes of memory have a $169 deductible. The Apple iPad and the Samsung Galaxy tablet have a $149 deductible. Other smartphones and "advanced devices" have a $99 deductible. Basic phones have a $45 deductible.

Administrators & Underwriters

For the Extended Warranty program, Verizon Wireless Services LLC is listed as the administrator and obligor. In some states, Federal Insurance Co., an affiliate of the Chubb Corp., is the underwriter, while in others the underwriter is the Balboa Insurance Co., an affiliate of Bank of America Corp.

For the Wireless Phone Protection program, the Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. is the underwriter and Asurion Insurance Services Inc. is the administrator and agent for the insurance company.

For the Extended Warranty service contract, the list of exclusions is fairly brief:

A. Defects or damage resulting from use of the product in other than its normal and customary manner;
B. Defects or damage from misuse, accident or neglect;
C. Defects or damage from improper testing, operation, maintenance, installation, adjustment or any alteration or modification of any kind;
D. Breakage or damage to antennas unless caused directly by defects in material or workmanship;
E. Products disassembled or repaired in such a manner as to adversely affect performance or prevent adequate inspection and testing to verify any warranty claim;
F. Products with labels removed or illegible serial numbers;
G. Defects or damage due to spills of or immersion in food or liquid;
H. Scratches on all plastic surfaces and externally exposed parts resulting from normal use; and/or
I. Damage resulting from normal wear and tear.

For the Wireless Phone Protection program, the list of exclusions gets a bit longer. First, there's a section that excludes losses or damages caused by declared war, civil war, warlike action, insurrection, rebellion, revolution, nuclear radiation or government seizure. Then there's a much longer section that excludes the following:

a. Delay, loss of use, loss of service, loss of market, or any other consequential loss or damage, including, but not limited to, loss of time, loss of profits, inconvenience or delay in repairing or replacing lost or damaged Covered Property.
b. Dishonest, intentional or criminal acts by an insured or by any person entrusted with covered property, whether acting alone or in collusion with others, with respect to his or her coverage under this insurance.
c. Obsolescence or depreciation.
d. Wear and tear, deterioration; or hidden or latent defect, including equipment design defect, or any quality in the property that causes it to damage or destroy itself.
e. Mechanical breakdown and disturbance caused by battery power or any artificially generated electrical current.
f. Cosmetic damage, however caused, that does not affect the manufacturer's intended use. This includes, but is not limited to: Cracking, marring, or scratching, and a change in color or other change in the exterior finish.
g. Loss or damage that is covered under the manufacturer's warranty. In the event we have knowledge of a prior malfunction, proof of repair may be required before coverage for future claims is applicable.
h. Claims reported to Asurion Insurance Services Inc., more than 60 days after the time of loss or damage.
i. Programming, cleaning, adjusting, repairing, modifying, or performing any other work upon covered property.
j. Computer virus or any other malicious code or similar instruction that disrupts the normal operation of the covered property or results in destruction of or unsuitability of data or programs stored in the covered property.
k. Voluntarily parting with covered property by an insured or by any person entrusted with covered property, whether or not induced to do so by any fraudulent scheme, trick, device or false pretense.
l. Damage to covered property which is the result of it having been used in a manner inconsistent for which it was designed or intended by the manufacturer. We also do not cover damage that is intentional or the result of abuse.
m. The discharge, dispersal, seepage, migration, escape or presence of pollutants. Pollutants means any solid, liquid, gaseous, or thermal irritant or contaminant including smoke, vapor, soot, fumes, acid, alkalis, chemicals, artificially produced electric fields, magnetic field, electromagnetic field, sounds waves, microwaves, all artificially produced ionizing or non-ionizing radiation and/or waste. Waste includes materials to be recycled, refurbished or reclaimed.

For a theft claim, the terms and conditions also allow the insurance company to request a copy of the customer's government-issued identification, a signed and notarized affidavit that explains what happened, a copy of a police report, and a copy of the original bill of sale. For a loss claim, a police report will not be required, but the other items may be. Also, for a damage claim, if the insurance company sends out a replacement phone, the fee for a non-returned original phone can be up to $300.

Summary of Carrier Offerings

So there we have it. In the U.S., each of the top four wireless carriers sell optional policies that cover defects, malfunctions, damage, loss and theft. Some sell service contracts bundled with insurance policies, where the service contract covers defects and malfunctions, and the insurance covers damage, loss and theft. Others sell a single policy that covers all five perils.

Most of the carriers also add in various services that back up a user's data to a cloud service in case there's a data loss. Most also supplement coverage of the five basic perils with various ancillary services such as locator services, alarm services, phone lock services and even data erase services that can be activated in case of a loss or theft. Some charge a few extra dollars a month for these additional services.

All four carriers work with third party administrators and insurance companies for at least part of their programs. Asurion works with three carriers. Assurant Solutions works with two carriers. CNA works with two. And Chubb, Balboa and Liberty Mutual work with one each.

AT&T Mobile sells insurance policies that cover defects, malfunctions, damage, loss and theft. The price is $6.99 a month. Asurion is the administrator and CNA is the underwriter. But most people buy the package with the bells and whistles for $9.99 a month.

Multiple Plans

Sprint sells different insurance policies for mobile phones and tablets. And for mobile phones, at least, there's one policy for defects or malfunctions, and another for damage, loss or theft. For tablets, however, there's just one policy for defects, malfunctions, damage, loss and theft.

For mobile phones, the bundled price is $8.00 per month, though some high-end phones cost $11.00 a month to insure. For tablets, the price is $13.00 per month. For mobile phones, Asurion is the administrator and CNA is the underwriter. For tablets, Assurant Solutions is the administrator and underwriter.

T-Mobile sells an insurance policy that covers defects, malfunctions, damage, loss and theft for all devices. Price is $8.00 a month, though it's usually bundled into a package priced at $10.00 per month. Assurant Solutions is the administrator and underwriter.

Verizon Wireless sells a service contract that covers defects and malfunctions bundled with an insurance policy that covers damage, loss and theft. The price is $8.00 a month for most phones and $9.99 a month for tablets and iPhones. Verizon Wireless and Asurion are the administrators for the service contract and insurance policies, respectively, while Chubb, Balboa and Liberty Mutual are the underwriters for various parts of the programs in various states.

Because mobile phones are manufactured and sold by so many companies, it's entirely possible that a customer could end up with a manufacturer's warranty that covers defects and malfunctions for an initial period, a service contract purchased from a retailer or online administrator to extend the duration of the warranty against defects or malfunctions, and an insurance policy purchased from their carrier to cover loss or theft. And they may have bought duplicative damage coverage from both a retailer and a carrier.

In other words, while the carriers dominate, they're not the only game in town. We're not going to list all the possible permutations of coverage now. Instead, we're going to look at just one manufacturer, which for the past six years, due to a unique conjunction of desirability with vulnerability, has been setting the pace for both smartphone thefts and smartphone damage.




GWSCA Survey Invitation

The Global Warranty and Service Contract Association (GWSCA) is conducting an online survey to learn what is important to members of the warranty and service contracts industry. The information collected will be used to formulate programs and proposed solutions to commonly experienced industry questions, problems, and fast emerging trends.

The survey is being conducted by Fulcrum Analytics on behalf of the GWSCA. To get started, click here or cut and paste this URL into your browser: surveygizmo.com/s3/1411787/92b03449fbf2

The survey will be open to everyone in the warranty and service contracts industry through Sunday, November 17th.

If you have any questions please email Terry Hawkins at: gterry.hawkins@gmail.com or contact Tara Piazza, SVP of Research at Fulcrum Analytics at 1-212-651-7012, or via email at tpiazza@fulcrumanalytics.com.





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