Assurant Field Services
When Assurant Specialty Property acquired Field Asset Services last October, the newly formed company — Assurant Field Asset Services — gained an enviable advantage. In an industry focused on eliminating risk, AFAS now has the resources of a parent company that has a command of risk management.
“Given the current market dynamic, we are particularly pleased that this acquisition provides AFAS with the industry-leading financial, operational, and technology resources of a Fortune 500 parent company who has been building risk solutions for more than 100 years,” said Don Neville, general manager of AFAS.
“Our company’s core ideology is based on service excellence and being a strategic partner rather than simply a tactical partner or vendor, and the key to being a successful strategic partner is our ability to understand the client’s goals and needs,” said Paul Carlson, chief operational officer.
Neville agrees. “Assurant is completely aligned with servicers on the singular goal of minimizing collateral risk,” he said. “As part of the Assurant family, AFAS has the corporate mandate to achieve this goal better than anyone in field services.”
A demonstration of the synergy that lies between the Assurant brands’ goals is seen at the first stage of default by identifying risk triggers during inspections. Last year, AFAS restructured its service offerings into pre-foreclosure and post-foreclosure segments to provide the most effective risk management solution at each stage of the default cycle. Now with its parent company’s resources, AFAS has the potential to identify risk even earlier in the cycle.
“We have seen success in reducing risks with proactive measures initiated after the initial inspection which has proven to minimize financial, reputational and legal risks for our clients. Additional benefits of this method are seen within the local communities by reducing neighborhood blight,“ Neville said.
AFAS clients have access to a full catalog of field services, which reduces hand-off times for clients who take advantage of their pre- and post-foreclosure solutions. This is increasingly valuable with tight timelines putting pressure on servicers. AFAS sees its pre-foreclosure solutions as having the most significant impact on managing risks.
“We offer our clients the opportunity to take risk management a step further, by enlisting our enhanced services such as Property Registration and HOA solutions,” Carlson said. “Our teams are skilled at resolving fees and fines to reduce cost, which has proven to save our existing clients tens of thousands of dollars on high-risk properties.
“Taking a proactive approach to protecting the collateral has no downside. Our clients have benefited from this approach for the last few years, but with Assurant and the ability to share in their resources, we expect a measurable reduction in ancillary cost to our clients. These can be predictable costs, if you have the right data, and should be treated as such.”
A deep understanding of client needs comes from experience in the default industry; both Assurant Specialty Property and AFAS have decades of experience in this space. And AFAS has been building a seasoned network of vendors since 1996.
This front line is instrumental in proactively reducing risk. As part of its quality control, AFAS measures every vendor on every step of a work order, and conducts inspections and site audits through staff and regional quality-control specialists. The company has a core team of preferred vendors who consistently score 95% or higher on vendor scorecards.
Looking forward, Neville said AFAS will launch new services this year that will change the way risks are managed, not just in the field service industry but also within the default servicing industry. Managing risks through technology and service excellence is the cornerstone to reducing risks for AFAS clients.