AE Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with Protective Asset Protection’s president, Scott Karchunas and discuss the company’s latest developments. This industry veteran’s passion for the auto industry began as a boy growing up around the car business and continues today. He takes pride in the leadership role his company plays with both agents and dealers, providing products designed to meet the needs of car buyers. Read on to hear Karchunas share, in his own words, his insights on the industry, thoughts on the future, and the path that led him to where he is today.
Tell me a little bit about your company and its place in the industry?
Protective Asset Protection has been a leader in serving dealers for over 50 years. We provide various F&I solutions including extended service contracts, GAP, credit life and disability, F&I training and other services. We provide product-driven solutions to four industries – automotive, RV, powersports and marine. Protective Asset Protection is part of Protective Life Corporation, which has been serving the insurance needs of people since 1907.
Are there any recent or future developments within your company that you would like to tell us about?
Between bringing new solutions to our existing agents and their dealers, along with planning for this year, we have a very active agenda. One of our biggest projects this year, which we are in the process of rolling out to current agents, is a fresh take on the service contract that simplifies the service contract itself as well as our product portfolio. We worked closely with our agents to develop a product for automotive dealers that better aligns with the needs of today’s car buyer; particularly when it comes to protecting the growing technology and safety components going into new vehicles.
How did you personally get started in this industry? What caused you to choose this career path?
The auto industry has always played a major role in my life. My father was an executive at Ford; so beginning at a very early age I was exposed to the auto industry and had a chance to see how dealers manage their business. I worked in dealerships throughout high school and sold cars while I was in college before starting as a sales rep for Protective in 1988.
I always knew I wanted to be involved with the auto industry and the passion I had in the beginning remains today. The constant evolution of the industry and the entrepreneurial spirit of those within it are a real source of inspiration.
What do you like to do on your days off?
For me, spending as much time as I can with my wife and two children is always my greatest joy. Outside of that, I really enjoy reading whatever I can get my hands on, particularly in the realm of economics and history. When fall rolls around, I’m like most other Notre Dame alums – consumed with following the football team.
Tell us about your family and the role they have played in your success.
My family plays an extremely important role in any success I’ve had throughout my career. I’ve been married for 26 years to an amazing woman and have two kids that I adore; a 24-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son. Family is important for many reasons, but especially when it comes to providing balance, perspective and support. And mine has certainly provided all of those things over the years.
What are the biggest issues you see facing the industry today and in the future?
There is the need to monitor the compliance situation as the CFPB and FTC continue to exert their influence on the auto industry. Beyond the CFPB and FTC, there are some broad influences on the horizon that are also important to monitor. Technology continues to grow in all aspects of the car buying process and it’s important that the F&I office continues to be an active part of this evolution. Also, the sustained growth in sales that the industry has enjoyed over the past several years is beginning to moderate. Businesses serving the industry will need to adjust to the evolving market. Helping dealers better determine how to continue to grow and strengthen their businesses in the future will become more important than ever.
What advice would you give to someone new to this industry?
First, they have chosen wisely. This industry is growing, dynamic and full of opportunities. Second, I would tell them to be an active learner. Consistently learn from those around you who have been successful. Do your reading; be proactive about educating yourself on the industry. Take advantage of the many quality industry publications in which talented experts provide their perspective. Finally, bring your passion, have a purpose, and be yourself.