Progressive Expands Tampa Claims Training Facility and Curriculum to Support New Concierge Level of Claims Service; Expanded Skill Set Needed as Company Rolls Out Unique Claims Service CountrywideTAMPA, Fla.--Aug. 1, 2006--In 2000, The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies opened its first Service Center offering a "concierge" level of claims service designed to create a more positive and efficient experience for everyone involved in an auto insurance claim -- customers, repair facilities and Progressive. About 42 Service Centers have been opened to date and about 50 will be open by year-end 2006. Progressive today announced it has expanded both the physical training space as well as the curriculum in its Tampa claims training center to accommodate the skill set necessary for representatives providing this new level of service.
Each Progressive Service Center is made up of two distinct areas -- a customer service and a garage area. The interior design of the customer service area is modern, using soothing colors and dimmed lighting from retro fixtures. Service Center representatives, sitting on high stools in front of a curved wall, are the company's ambassadors to visiting customers, filling their every need while they're in the center.
The well-lit, spotless garage area can accommodate an average of 20 cars and is where claims representatives put damaged vehicles up on a lift and use pneumatic tools to access hidden damage so they can write the most accurate repair estimate possible. There's also a wash rack so incoming cars can be cleaned before a claims representative works with them. And, the claims representatives have their desks in the garage area so they can keep tabs on activity and meet with body shop representatives who come to take damaged cars away to be repaired and deliver repaired cars. Once delivered, the body shop representative, together with the Progressive claims representative and the customer, inspect the repair to be certain everyone is satisfied.
Because the level of service provided in a Service Center requires Progressive people to have slightly different skills than those for which they have been typically trained, the Service Center training curriculum has been expanded and more than 11,000 square feet of space has been added to the auto claims training facility in Tampa, bringing the total training space here to nearly 77,000 square feet.
"The skill sets of both the customer service people and the claims representatives in Service Centers are different, so we expanded the curriculum by adding specialized training," said Terrence Goldsmith, claims training manager, Progressive. "And, the Service Center environment is unique, so we replicated it in the training facility to make training as real-life as possible."
As new Service Center locations are identified and people are hired, each center's staff begins their training as a group; this is an ideal team-building opportunity. After a five-day Service Center core skill training class that provides an overview of the level of service provided at each center, training is tailored to each person's role. For example, managers attend leadership courses while customer service representatives attend classes that help reinforce customer service skills including approachability and compassion. In addition, each staff member does a one-week "internship" at an existing Service Center.
As many as 2,600 Service Center people can be trained each year in the newly opened expansion at the Tampa training facility on Camden Field Parkway. The site includes a complete Service Center lobby with tiered, stadium-style seating where Service Center people role play interactions and a large garage space complete with a vehicle lift and damaged cars. In the garage space, claims representatives learn about the unique Service Center process which includes up-front agreement on the estimate between Progressive and the auto body repair shop, as well as post-repair quality inspections done by a Progressive claims representative, the shop that did the repairs and the customer. The customer drives away with the car only when all parties involved are satisfied with the repairs; all repairs are guaranteed for as long as the customer owns or leases the car.
The Service Center training site in Tampa joins five other permanent Progressive claims training centers in the U.S., bringing the total square footage of claims training space to nearly 260,000.
-- Cleveland. This 61,600-square-foot site is where more than 4,000 auto insurance claims representatives a year receive training.
-- Tampa, Fla. This 65,500-square-foot center is where more than 3,500 auto claims representatives are trained each year.
-- Tempe, Ariz. is home to three Progressive claims training sites. Specialized claims training unique to the industry is provided at two of the three: One, a 31,800-square-foot center, is where training for more than 2,000 claims representatives who write estimates on damaged motorcycles, ATVs, recreational vehicles, boats and personal watercraft takes place. The second is a 9,700 square-foot site where 350 claims representatives are trained each year in how to write estimates on commercial vehicles the group insures. And, the third Tempe center is a 79,700 square-foot-site where about 3,500 claims representatives a year receive training in writing auto damage repair estimates.
Progressive, the fourth largest auto insurance group in Florida, employs more than 4,240 people here, including more than 1,860 in 31 claims offices and seven Service Centers. And, more than 2,380 people work in a sales and service call center near Tampa. More than 2,400 independent insurance agencies represent the group's Drive(R) Insurance from Progressive brand in the state.
The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, in business since 1937, ranks third in the nation for auto insurance and number one for motorcycle insurance based on premiums written and provides drivers with competitive rates and 24/7 in-person and online service. The products and services of the Progressive Direct Group of Insurance Companies are marketed directly to consumers by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE and online at www.progressivedirect.com through the Progressive Direct(R) brand. The products and services of the Drive Group of Progressive Insurance Companies are offered by more than 30,000 independent insurance agencies and online at www.driveinsurance.com through the Drive(R) Insurance from Progressive brand. The Common Shares of The Progressive Corporation, the Mayfield Village, Ohio-based holding company, are publicly traded at NYSE:PGR. More information can be found at www.progressive.com.