Walkaway Launches Recreational Division

Walkaway Canada Inc. has expanded its financing protection program to recreational vehicles including boats, PWCs, ATVs, RVs and motorcycles.

Walkaway, a Canadian-based company that offers protection against negative equity in the automotive industry, launched its new division in September and signed several new dealers in October. The new division will mirror the company's automotive coverage, offering its program to dealers in Ontario, PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Manitoba.

Walkaway offers insurance protection (underwritten by ING Canada) that potentially allows its customers to walk away from financing obligations in the event of life-changing events such as job layoffs, out-of-country job transfers or serious health problems that prevents the client from working.

“The coverage we offer is very different from typical creditor insurance,” explains John Stewart, president, recreational division, for Walkaway. “While some providers may have very stringent requirements for a person's eligibility, we cover customers of all ages and those with pre-existing health conditions.”

According to Robert Varga, president of Walkaway Canada, the introduction of negative equity coverage into this new segment of financing has been well received by dealers.

“An RV version of Walkaway has been on the radar for quite some time,” said Varga. “With heightened awareness around economic uncertainty, a worrisome workforce and increased levels of debt, one can understand why consumers would hesitate, particularly regarding big-ticket purchases. We have had numerous RV inquiries over recent years, so the overwhelmingly positive market response is not a huge surprise but very exciting none-the-less.”

“It has helped us close a large number of deals and gives us an edge over our leading competitors,” said Alan Ting-A-Kee, business manager for Ontario Hyundai, which has been client of Walkaway for seven years.

To support its dealers, the company offers a series of daylong training modules, including RV Business Office Certification, which is designed to educate managerial staff on the regulatory side of the products; the RV Sales Persons Best Practices to help sales staff understand the program and how to use it as a sales tool; and the RV Business Office Best Practices that focuses on marketing the program and retailing it to the end user. All three modules will be offered in Western Ontario, Eastern Ontario and the GTA before Christmas says Walkaway University's director of training, John Kvas.

After the modules have been completed, ING still requires Walkaway to ensure its dealers clearly understand the program. Before a dealer goes live with the company's program, business managers are required to pass a 50-question product knowledge exam.

Over the past decade, the organization has cleared more than $30 million in financing obligations for its automotive clients, which it tracks with continual updates on its website.