The right partner for furniture protection

Lyndon Willshire, Commercial Director at Guardsman, shares an insight into why they are the insurance partner of choice for many furniture retailers.

As Guardsman enters its 109th year of trading, they reflect on their heritage and successes over the past few years and are feeling very positive about what’s to come.

Being owned by the Amynta Group is not something to be sniffed at, Amynta are a premier insurance services company with over $3.5 billion managed premium and over 2,000 associates across America, Europe and Australia. “Having the backing of such a strong, successful and insurance focussed group is extremely beneficial for our business. We can utilise not only their expertise of the industry, but also partner with other companies within the group to create a very strong and stable proposition for our retail partners,” comments Lyndon Willshire, Guardsman Commercial Director.

Guardsman were the first company to offer market leading furniture protection plans which have been expertly developed over the years as the market and consumer demand grows. As a regulated insurance product Guardsman recognise the importance of regulatory adherence and oversight so that the product and its retail partners meet the requirements of the FCA. Working with the FCA, rather than against them, is the only way to be successful, as Lyndon continues: “Regulatory focus is now an intrinsic part of the insurance world, including the furniture protection plan market, so we have to embed it into our everyday work, and protect everyone we partner with in the industry.

“The FCA ensures stability in the market, but also protects customers from making wrong or ill-informed decisions with their insurance purchases, so our job is to make sure every single person who buys a protection plan through our retail partner buys the right product, at the right price to meet their needs.”

Most recently, the market leading insurance provider wrote a piece on the new FCA principle Consumer Duty and its importance in the retail environment. “Retailers look to us as the industry experts to provide them with the tools and support and help them navigate through these new processes. And it’s our job to ensure they are not only aware that it’s coming, but also how they can ensure best practice is always performed.”

Furthermore, their expert compliance team continually ensures their knowledge of the FCA and industry changes are always up to date, so they can prepare for these changes ahead of time and provide the necessary support and advice to the retail market. “We don’t just offer this advice to the retailers we partner with, but we want to be the voice to the wider market so that everyone is prepared for the changes in good time, and with the most accurate and knowledgeable advice we can give,” comments Willshire.

“Not only can we say we are the class leader in the regulatory world, we also offer a first-class service to any consumer who goes through our claim journey,” continues Lyndon. “Our first visit fix rates are the highest in our industry, with over 80% of consumers having their furniture fixed within the first visit from a technician. Every claim goes through an expert triage process to ensure the correct outcome is achieved. The technician will go into the customers home fully briefed and prepared on the problem at hand with the tools and equipment to resolve the problem first time, and not only is the customer benefitting from their expertise and first time fix they are not having their day disrupted again with a technician making a return visit sometime in the future. In turn this reduces the number of journeys the technician does which as we know reduces the environmental impact; everybody benefits”.

Talking about environmental impact, the Guardsman team are showing their commitment to the environmental impacts not only with their network on the road, but also their printed materials which now carry the FSC-certified logo, to the wipes, bottles, and kits in their care products ranges.  “We are working hard to improve our environmental credentials; it is crucial that we all take note of the impact we all have on our planet and do our bit.”

Reflecting on other partnerships, Guardsman’s long-term relationship with their underwriter is another key component of the business and its support to customers. “Working with an A-rated insurer really puts us in a strong position with our retail partners,” Lyndon added. “They fully understand our business and the direction we want to take it, and having a collaborative approach has allowed us to really unlock the potential for our business and for the retailers. By having a strong and stable underwriting partner provides certainty for us, our retailers, and customers.

“As we leave the turbulence of 2023 and reflect on the year and the successes we have had, I firmly believe we are in a strong position for 2024 with new exciting plans and developments for the business with the full backing of our significant parent company, Amynta. This would also not be possible without all the team pulling together; from the sales team out on the road training and supporting our retail partners, to the staff at Head Office working through the customer claims, and the networks out there at the coal face working hard to repair the furniture,” concludes Lyndon.  

The team at Guardsman would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year, while looking forward to growing and nurturing their retail partnerships in 2024. If you would like to find out more about the tailored packages Guardsman offers, contact Zeyn Kassam, Head of Sales and Business Development. Email or call 07508 007 786.

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