Brown & Brown of Kentucky Inc., a subsidiary of Brown & Brown Inc., has acquired certain assets of RV America Insurance Marketing Inc., according to a press release.
Founded in 1999, RV America primarily provides personal lines property and casualty insurance products for recreational vehicles, including RVs, trailers, boats, motorcycles and other power sport vehicles. The company also provides other types of personal lines insurance coverage through its affiliate, Let’s Talk Insurance. RV America has combined annual revenues of approximately $3.7 million.
As part of this transaction, RV America’s operations will operate as a branch location of Brown & Brown of Kentucky’s existing Columbia location under the leadership of Mike Neal. The Columbia profit center presently specializes in providing property and casualty and employee benefits insurance products and services to RV, auto, watercraft and personal power sport dealers throughout the United States. Steve Freedman and his team will continue to operate from their existing Simi Valley, Calif., location.
“Steve Freedman and his team have used their expertise, experience, and relationships to build one of the nation’s premier firms offering personal lines insurance coverage for RVs and other recreational, marine and power sport vehicles and equipment,” said J. Scott Penny, regional president and chief acquisitions officer of Brown & Brown. “This transaction allows us to combine our existing offerings to the recreational vehicle and power sport dealership industries with personal lines offerings for the consumers of such products. It provides an exciting vertical synergy for us in this industry.”
Freedman, principal of RV America, stated, “We at RV America are very excited to become part of the Brown & Brown team. We pride ourselves on ensuring continued customer satisfaction coupled with intensive knowledge of personal lines insurance coverages, values that are encouraged and exhibited by Brown & Brown. We look forward to a very prosperous relationship providing the exemplary services that have come to be expected from RV America and Brown & Brown.”
Four RV industry players have banded together to sponsor and launch a national promotion that allows RV consumers the opportunity to win a 2012 Jayco White Hawk ultralight travel trailer. According to a press release, the sponsors include Jayco Inc., RV Trader, RV America Insurance and the Passport 66 RV Club.
“We are excited to participate in this unique marketing consortium as a creative way to not only introduce consumers to the White Hawk, our newest line of ultralight trailers, but also the complementary products and services offered by our other partners,” said Sid Johnson, director of marketing for Jayco, a Middlebury, Ind.-based manufacturer.
“While each partner plays a variety of roles within the RV marketplace, each one serves the needs of RVers on a nationwide basis” noted Tim Custer, general manager of RV Trader, a leading RV classifieds site. “Because each business is unique, yet influential in the industry, this will allow us to dramatically impact the reach of this promotion among RV consumers.”
In addition to the 2012 Jayco White Hawk Grand Prize, there will be weekly prizes awarded for one-year memberships to the Passport 66 RV Club, a national travel club for RVers provided by the Route 66 RV Network.
“The Passport 66 RV Club is a paid membership discount club that offers its members the opportunity to enjoy discounts on campground rates, parts/accessories, golfing, satellite services, RV washes, rental cars and more,” said Dave Francis, program manager for Passport 66.”
“The ‘Win a White Hawk’ promotion is the first time we have entered into a co-sponsorship effort of this type,” added Steve Freedman, president of RV America Insurance. “We’ve really enjoyed working with this group to not only create a promotion that will appeal to RVers, but also that delivers mutual value to all of the partner sponsors involved.”
To register for the drawing, RV consumers and enthusiasts can visit www.WinAWhiteHawk.com between Jan. 30 and June 15.
Viva La Brand (http://www.vivalabrand.com), the Cleveland marketing strategy consultancy, announced that it was selected by RV America Insurance (http://www.rvainsurance.com) to lead its marketing strategy efforts.
One of the largest RV insurance agents in the country, RV America offers RV, marine, motorcycle and other specialized insurance coverages, according to a news release. On-line quotes are offered on the company’s website and licensed agents help people determine the best coverages for their particular needs.
“We picked Viva La Brand because they have a track record of quickly adding value,” explained Steve Freedman, president of RV America. “As we’ve grown, it’s become more and more clear that we need a marketing and brand strategist to help us leverage our strengths and improve the effectiveness of our marketing plans and messaging. Laura Sheridan, Viva La Brand president, has already identified an optimal SEO/SEM agency partner. Their advertising agency search process was thorough yet streamlined.”
“We’re fortunate to work with Steve Freedman and his experienced team,” said Sheridan. “Steve’s the ideal client,” continued Sheridan. “He’s focused on the business’ growth opportunities and knows where his team needs help. It’s a formula for tremendous success.”
About Viva La Brand
Viva La Brand is the marketing strategy firm with a proven track record of developing effective brand strategies and conducting ad agency searches that successfully match clients with the optimal ad agency partners. Viva La Brand is proud to work with smart, innovative and successful companies including Dots, ToolingU, Pierre’s Ice Cream, MFS Supply, American Bankers Association’s Corporation for American Banking, and now RV America Insurance.
About RV America Insurance
Based in southern California and founded over30 years ago to offer RV owners specialized insurance, RV America Insurance has expanded the products it sells to include RV, motorcycle, boat, collector car, auto, home and various commercial insurance coverages. Over 50,000 people across the country feel confident about their insurance coverage because they work with RV America.
RVBusiness magazine is launching the Third Annual RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards — a quality-focused program that sets the bar for best business practices in the RV industry. A gala reception and dinner at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas will announce the winners Oct. 6 during the annual RV Dealers International Convention/Expo.
This year, RVBusiness expanded the awards to include recreational park model manufacturers, reflecting how significant their contributions have become in a rapidly changing marketplace. The awards name 10 Blue Ribbon retailers, and one organization receives the Dave Altman Award, the equivalent of RVBusiness’ “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
RV manufacturers nominate the best and most professional dealers for aftermarket parts stores, sales lots, service work, F&I departments and personnel matters in addition to civic and charitable contributions. Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), the parent company of RVBusiness and the nation’s largest provider of outdoor clubs, services, media and events to the North American RV and outdoor enthusiast market, then invites nominated dealers to submit applications. Applications are independently reviewed by a panel of industry experts, none of whom are directly associated with RVBusiness or Affinity.
RVBusiness recognizes the Top 50 award winners in the October edition, on RVBUSINESS.com, and in dealers’ local and regional newspapers. Winners also receive RVBT50 window decals, rights to use the RVBT50 logo in their advertising, plus exposure to millions of active RV enthusiasts in the pages — and on the websites — of Affinity’s RV-focused consumer magazines, including Trailer Life, MotorHome, Highways, Coast to Coast and Camping Life.
Supporting the RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards this year are the following “Leadership Alliance” sponsors: ADP Lightspeed, Bank of the West, Blue Ox, Cummins Onan RV Generators, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., RV America Insurance, RV Trader Online and Protective.
“We felt that the pursuit of professionalism and top-notch consumer care finds an even more receptive ear this year than it did during the dregs of the recession, and the Dealer Awards sets the bar for best business practices,” said RVBusiness magazine Publisher Sherman Goldenberg. “Looking around at the state of the industry, we realize just how much we have to be thankful for. The current upbeat atmosphere within the commercial sector beats the heck out of where we all were at this time last year.”
RVBusiness previously announced special celebrity guest, conservative Republican columnist and bestselling author, Ann Coulter, as the keynote speaker during the award ceremony. Coulter will talk about a variety of hot political topics including the “Tea Party” movement and related conservative themes.
The Con/Expo is sponsored by the U.S. Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association (RVDA) and the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada (RVDA Canada). Tickets for the dinner are $139 ($119 for RVDA members, Con/Expo exhibitors and Top 50 dealer guests), and are available at the convention or at RVBusiness.com.
About the Top 50 RV Dealers Program:
The program’s purpose is to showcase credible role models and establish best business practices benchmarks at the retail level of the RV industry in terms of staff training, performing warranty and service work, managing aftermarket stores, superior consumer care and being good citizens of their respective communities. The dealerships were selected among those nominated as the best by the nation’s RV manufacturers. The program was founded and coordinated by RVBusiness magazine with additional support provided by the Leadership Alliance.
Affinity, www.affinitygroup.com, is the nation’s largest provider of outdoor clubs, services, media and events that service the safety, security, comfort and convenience needs of the North American recreational vehicle (RV) and outdoor enthusiast market. By providing information, insights, and resources, the company champions the fun, freedom, and adventure of recreation in motion. The company works to enhance its customers’ recreational experiences and build the communities that share and promote their fun and adventurous lifestyles.
On the premise that the pursuit of professionalism and top-notch consumer care may find an even more receptive ear as the recession lifts, RVBusiness magazine is moving ahead with its 3rd Annual RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Awards — a quality-focused program culminating Oct. 6 at an upbeat reception and dinner at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas during the annual RV Dealers International Convention/Expo.
“While we realize that recognizing 50 U.S. and Canadian recreational vehicle dealerships above all the rest is a tough and highly subjective matter,” says RVBusiness Publisher Sherman Goldenberg, “we feel that the process of nominating, selecting, honoring and promoting those who generally do the best they can throughout North America is in itself a worthy exercise that brings to the forefront the quality themes outlined by the Go RVing Coalition’s Committee on Excellence.”
North American RV manufacturers have already completed their nominations for this year’s awards by forwarding the names of their best and most professional dealers with regard to aftermarket parts stores, sales lots, service work, F&I departments and personnel matters in addition to civic and charitable aspects.
“One key change for 2010,” said Goldenberg, “is that RVBusiness is expanding its program to include recreational park model manufacturers, realizing just how significant their contributions have become in a rapidly changing marketplace. Although their businesses haven’t fully recovered from the recession yet, the accommodations sector of the RV park and campground arena has been shifting somewhat to more destination-style cabins and lodges at parks throughout the U.S. and Canada. So, we thought it was time to include them.”
Nominated dealers are invited to submit applications by mid-July to BJ Thompson Associates, a northern Indiana agency that oversees an independent review of those applications by a panel of industry “experts,” none of whom are directly associated with RV Business or its parent company, Affinity Group Inc. (AGI).
Multi-store operations are again limited to one award, regardless of how many outlets they have, and the Top 50 dealers will not be ranked, although ten Blue Ribbon retailers will be named and one individual will be singled out for the Dave Altman Award, the equivalent of RVB’s “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
In addition to the recognition offered at the October dinner during this year’s RV Dealers International Con/Expo, sponsored by the U.S. Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association (RVDA) and the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada (RVDA Canada), those selections ultimately will be announced in the pages of RVBusiness and on RVBUSINESS.com, both of which are owned by Affinity Group Inc.
Again this year, RVBusiness has invited a special celebrity guest to dinner to provide some thought-provoking table talk: Conservative Republican columnist Ann Coulter. An author of seven New York Times bestsellers, including “Guilty: Liberal Victims and Their Assault on America” (January 2009) and “If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans” (October, 2007), Coulter more than likely will focus in her remarks on the nation’s anticipated, off-year electoral shift to the political right, including the “Tea Party” movement and related conservative themes.
A lawyer and frequent guest on ”Hannity” and ”The O’Reilly Factor” on the Fox News cable channel, Coulter will field audience questions after her remarks. Meanwhile, her appearance, along with that of former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, keynote speaker at RVDA’s Tuesday (Oct. 5) general session, should lend a crowd-inducing national spotlight to this year’s Con/Expo.
“We chose Ann Coulter not because we endorse any one political viewpoint, “ said Mike Schneider, AGI president and CEO, “but because we wanted to bring a thought-provoking speaker to the podium in Las Vegas who might give us all – left, center or right – a chance to think and an opportunity again this year to enjoy a dinner with friends and industry peers along with a high-profile national celebrity.”
After the Con/Expo, RVB will promote the Top 50 award winners within the industry and in dealers’ local and regional newspapers. They’ll get RVBT50 window decals, rights to use the RVBT50 logo in their advertising plus exposure to millions of active RV enthusiasts in the pages – and on the websites – of AGI’s RV-related consumer magazines – Trailer Life, MotorHome, Highways, Coast to Coast and Camping Life.“
Supporting the RV Business Top 50 Dealer Awards this year are the following “Leadership Alliance” sponsors:
ADP Lightspeed : With ADP Lightspeed, dealers can steer their businesses with more precision than ever before. The integrated modules in the Salt Lake City, Utah, company’s LightspeedEVO RV dealer management system include comprehensive sales and F&I tools, real-time accounting functions, service tracking, automated parts inventory management and rental unit management. For more information, visit http://www.adplighspeed.com/rv/index.phpwww.adplighspeed.com/rv/index.php.
Bank of the West: Bank of the West, with more than $60 billion in assets and community bank roots dating back more than 135 years, has more than 700 commercial and retail banking locations throughout 19 Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in San Francisco, Bank of the West originates commercial, small business and consumer loans and leases and provides a range of other individual and commercial deposit, cash management, trust, and investment products. For more information contact a Bank of the West account manager or look on the web at www.bankofthewest.com.
Blue Ox: Blue Ox, a leading manufacturer of towing and hitching products, attributes its success to its dealer partners and the vital interest this Nebraska company takes in their success by providing education, innovative new products and support that’s invested in serving dealers’ needs long after the sale. This approach has been paramount in developing the strong partnerships that have made the company’s dealers “True Blue.” For more information, visit www.blueox.us.
Cummins Onan RV Generators: Cummins Onan RV Generators are built by Cummins Power Generation, Minneapolis, Minn., the global leader in generator design and construction. For nearly 80 years, Onan generators have been providing reliable stationary and portable power for cities, hospitals, shopping centers, military vehicles and fire engines around the world, as well as for the U.S. RV industry. For more information, visit www.cumminsonan.com.
Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp.: Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) manufactures diesel chassis for walk-in vans, motorhomes, school buses, and commercial buses and enjoys market share leadership in all addressable industries. Established in 1995 in Gaffney, S.C., FCCC chassis provide customers with exceptional performance and reliability. More than 400 dealers in the U.S. and Canada provide sales and service, and FCCC offers 24/7 customer support at 800-FTL-HELP.
RV America Insurance: RV America, headquartered in Simi Valley, Calif., has provided some of the lowest rates for specialized recreational vehicle insurance for more than two decades, and each of its companies is rated “A, Excellent” or higher by A.M. Best Company. The company works hard to find clients the best rate and coverage for their travel trailer and motorhome insurance needs. For more information, visit www.RVAinsurance.com.
RV Trader Online: Available at RVTraderOnline.com is an extensive selection of classified ads, with more than 60,000 recreational vehicles to choose from and more than 800 dealership listings. More than 640,000 serious buyers visit RVTraderOnline.com — more than any other source – each month, company officials state. RVTraderOnline.com, Norfolk, Va., also offers video advertising, web services, lead management, mobile search and several new tools and lead-generating opportunities. Whether you are looking to buy, sell or research recreational vehicles, RVTraderOnline.com is the No. 1 resource for all RV enthusiasts, manufacturers and dealers.
Protective: Chesterfield, Mo.-based Protective offers XtraRide RV extended protection programs exclusively endorsed by RVDA and designed to meet recreational vehicle dealership needs. Building customer loyalty, increasing repeat business and generating customer referrals are among the added benefits XtraRide brings to its dealership partners. For more information, visit www.protective.com.
For more information, contact BJ Thompson Associates Account Executive Barb Riley by phone at (574) 674-6300 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Goldenberg can be reached at (574) 457-3370 or at email@example.com.