Research shows that Americans experience 69 million vehicle breakdowns each year, resulting in 30 million lost workdays, and 9 billion lost dollars from drivers and businesses.
At Central, our promise of excellence includes doing everything we can to protect our policyholders from losses like these. That’s why we’ve implemented a new and improved roadside service for Central’s personal auto policyholders: Agero.
In this article, we outline the services available within this program, uncover the top five benefits of enrolling, and explore how Central’s customers are already responding to Agero.
What types of roadside service does Agero offer?
Central’s roadside service program provides support for various issues drivers may face on the road. Below, we list some of the most common:
If your vehicle breaks down, Agero can connect you directly to a local tow company that will tow your disabled vehicle to the nearest repair facility. You can also request your vehicle be towed to your preferred location though extra charges may apply.
For those who have their car towed to a repair shop, certain members can get a Lyft to transport them either to the repair shop or another location.
Tire Change Services
Whether you pop your tire while driving or leave your house one morning to find your tire flat, Agero will send out a provider to change your tire at the location of your vehicle.
Agero provides winching services when your vehicle gets stuck in snow or mud. The winching process involves using a motorized axle and a strong cable attached to a secondary vehicle to pull the car free.
If you run out of gas, water, oil, etc., on the road, Agero will bring the necessary fluid to your vehicle. Remember that while the delivery is free, fuel costs for more than two gallons and all other fluid costs are the driver’s responsibility.
In the event of a dead battery, Agero’s team will send out a service to jump you and get your engine running again.
Lockout services support drivers when they cannot unlock their vehicles. This service also includes assistance if a key is lost or broken.
Why did Central transition to a new roadside assistance vendor?
Central implemented its roadside assistance program in 2017 and partnered with a vendor that, over time, did not meet our high expectations for customer service. Upon seeking that customer feedback, Central’s Claims team began investigating vendors that would better fit our needs.
“Every vendor we select in Claims has to align with our overarching claims mission of hospitality, outcomes, and efficiency,” says Jessica Pannkuk, Director of Claims Transformation. “We do reference checks to make sure that their current customers are still happy with their product and make sure we understand the experience that other carriers are having before making a decision.”
Below, we outline five of the biggest benefits of using Agero’s roadside service.
Top 5 Benefits of Agero’s Roadside Service
Benefit #1: Agero Is a More Modern Tech Solution
“Agero’s roadside assistance program is as much an IT initiative as it is a claims one,” Pannkuk says. “Agero is both very customer-centric and very advanced in their technology.”
From a claim-handling perspective, the claims submitted through Agero are streamlined through the system without a claim handler ever having to touch them, making the process easier and smoother than ever before.
What’s more, Agero’s technology elevates the customer’s roadside experience. Customers can send and receive updates about their service via text and can ping the vendor from their smartphone to communicate their location, rather than having to verbally describe their location.
Benefit #2: Real-Time Updates and Responses
“Agero is also very connected with their service providers,” Pannkuk says. The team can monitor a provider’s exact location and provide real-time updates to customers so they know when to expect them.
What’s more, Central’s Claims team also has access to this monitoring allowing us to easily review, respond, and support our customers in case of an issue.
“If I open the system right now, I can see that two customers are waiting for a tow truck,” Pannkuk says to emphasize this point. “If one of these customers were to call me, I could say I see the service provider is X miles from you. It allows us to be more proactive in getting them off the side of the road quickly.”
Benefit #3: A Constant Feedback Loop
After a customer receives services from Agero, they are prompted to provide feedback about their experience. That feedback is immediately routed to Central’s Claims team, allowing us to better monitor trends and address any comments that require a follow-up.
“Customers aren’t always going to be happy with roadside assistance because using it means their car is likely damaged or they need to pay for repairs,” Pannkuk says.
However, with a system like Agero in place, if a customer provides a poor score or negative review, Central gets alerted in real-time and can reach out to the customer to better understand what happened. “This lets us hold our supplier accountable for what occurred on the road,” she says.
|| “Agero gives us so much more insight and control over our actual customer
experience.” – Jessica Pannkuk
Benefit #4: No Out-Of-Pocket Payments
Prior to an integrated roadside solution, if a Central policyholder experienced an issue while driving that required roadside assistance, they paid out of pocket for the service and then submitted their receipts for reimbursement.
Today, when our customers use Agero for roadside assistance, the vendor bills Central directly.
“In many cases, when a customer has a roadside issue, they’re already stressing about paying for the repairs to their vehicle. They don’t want to worry about paying for towing on top of it,” Pannkuk says. “We took that burden off of our policyholders and stopped them from having to pay anything out of pocket for roadside services.”
Benefit #5: A More Affordable Solution
Individuals without roadside assistance are at the mercy of each towing company’s rates when they experience an issue on the road. Central, however, contracts discounted rates for our customers, making it the cheaper alternative in the long run.
“Our roadside assistance program almost pays for itself,” Pannkuk explains. “You use it once, and you’ve already covered the cost of the premium. So while we hope you don’t ever have to use it—which is the point of insurance in general—you have it if you need it.”
Central’s Policyholder Response
Since its implementation in November 2022, there have been 606 claims submitted via Agero, and the overall response has been incredibly positive.
“We receive lots of comments in our surveys telling us how happy they are with the service,” Pannkuk says. “One customer left us a message saying, ‘Please let us tip Chase who was our tow truck driver. We forgot amongst all the activities. How do we get in touch with him?’ The fact that they want to tip their tow truck driver because he provided great service is such a great feeling; it validates that we fulfilled our promise to the policyholder.”
Alongside qualitative data like this, the advanced feedback reporting Agero provides also tells a similar story. For instance, Central and Agero’s Net Promoter Score averages roughly 30 points above the industry average.
Did You Know: Net Promoter Score (NPS) is determined by a question that asks customers if they would recommend the service or product to family or friends based on their experience.
Central’s interest in monitoring customer responses doesn’t end there, however. We are digging into the average estimated arrival time of tow trucks on the scene, how each agent a policyholder speaks to handles the call, and what suggestions they have for improvement.
“This lets us look at the customer experience more holistically,” Pannkuk says. “There’s just so much more transparency in terms of what we can see now vs. what we were able to see with prior vendors.”
Get Started with Roadside Assistance at Central
Every Central personal auto policy includes Roadside Assistance—no sign-up required.
Central Signature®, Central Mutual Summit®, and Auto Plus policies automatically include the Towing & Labor coverage for all policy vehicles for no additional fee. For policyholders with comprehensive coverage, Central’s team recommends having a minimum of $100 in Towing & Labor coverage on your policy to put toward the cost of such services.
Dive into the details of our roadside assistance program on the Central website, or get in touch with your Central agent today to learn more.