When Eric Schulz, CFO of aaa Auto Salvage (aaaParts.com), in Rosemount, Minn., looked over the auto recycling facility, what he saw made him question the insurance coverage it had. Wondering if he might be able to get better rates and policy coverage, he called Bill Velin, senior vice president of Wells Fargo Insurance Services.
"[Schulz] looked at his shop; it was clean, well-run, a great [insurance] risk," explained Velin. "I was able to quote him a price that was lower than what he was currently getting. We were able to get him more coverage for fewer dollars."
A Partnership Is Made
Schulz was so impressed with his new insurance package, he convinced ARA members - who's board he had recently been elected to - to host an insurance coverage presentation, given by Velin in Manassas, Va. Wells Fargo (WFIS.WellsFargo.com) is now the nationally endorsed insurance broker for ARA (A-R-A.org), thanks to the success of that presentation. The partnership between ARA and Wells Fargo was effective Jan. 1, 2010.
Velin's Wells Fargo branch, based in Bloomington, Minn., has written insurance programs for auto recyclers for 29 years. Velin said the company is ideal for auto recyclers because it designs customer-specific programs, reduces risk management costs and offers access to multiple insurance carriers.
"If you only have one carrier, your options are limited," he added. "We can work with seven or eight different carriers in the [customer's] area, and evaluate which ones provide the best plan designs and costs."
Choosing between various carriers doesn't cost his customers any time, however, as Velin manages weighing the options and selecting the best fit.
"It takes some work on my end compiling premiums and losses from all the carriers," he said. "There's some calculation, but it's not a big deal."
Wells Fargo is a diamond sponsor for the 68th annual ARA Convention and Exposition Oct. 11 - 15 in Charlotte, N.C. Velin hopes to spend some one-on-one time going over the benefits of the insurance program with attending auto recyclers. ARA members are also pushing the insurance program by sending out testimonials.
Wells Fargo manages more than 150 offices throughout the United States that are capable of providing service to ARA members. Velin joined the company in 1994, but started his career in the insurance industry in 1970, after graduating from Northern Michigan University (NMU.edu). He has worked with members of the auto recycling industry for more than 20 years.
A Good Risk
Sometimes auto recyclers can be subject to misconceptions about their businesses, which can affect the insurance rates offered to them, explained Velin.
"Rates have been difficult, at best, over the past several years," he added. "[Auto recycling facilities] are not the risk everyone thinks they are. It's not like they're dripping with oil. [Auto recyclers] are running their businesses the way they should. They're a good risk now."
Velin visits between 50 and 75 auto-recycling facilities per year, and hopes to increase that number in the near future.
"Any of the [auto recycling facilities] in surrounding states, I go to before I write them," he said. "If they're too far outside of our reach, our loss control people go. We want to spread the word that we can get them more coverage for less money. When ARA members think of insurance, we want them to think of Wells Fargo. This is a growing program. We expect it to be in the tens of millions of dollars by the time we're done."
Owners: Bloomington office - executive vice president, Jim Rechtiene; several senior vice presidents, including Bill Velin
Location: Bloomington, Minn.
Years In Business: 58