Automaker Ford plans to expand its Ford Pro financing arm for commercial vehicles to also offer insurance coverage in the commercial space. Ford announced a partnership with Pie Insurance, a commercial insurance provider specializing in small business and workers compensation coverage, to provide the coverage under the Ford Pro Insure banner, starting in 2023.
Vehicles used by small trades businesses such as plumbing, landscaping or electrical work are usually outfitted and customized to carry the tools of their trades. If they’re without those vehicles for extended periods due to accidents or losses, that can shut down their business. The typical loaner vehicle a personal auto policyholder might get would not meet their needs, said Dax Craig, founder and president of Pie Insurance, which works exclusively with Ford for vehicle insurance.
“We can supply you with a Ford vehicle out of the gate while yours is getting repaired, outfitted in a way that makes it easy for you to go do your job,” he says. “We have an opportunity now to get them back on the road a lot faster because of this relationship with Ford.”
While Ford Credit has offered insurance coverage to consumers for 60 years, according to Kirby Harris, Ford Credit’s director of insurance operations, the automaker has begun expanding the financial services it offers to commercial customers, under its Ford Pro FinSimple arm, to include insurance coverage. Ford Pro Insure is modeled after the Ford Insure unit serving consumers, which is underwritten by Nationwide.
In designing the Ford Pro Insure service, the company wanted the coverage to fit with Ford Pro’s other initiatives including telematics, according to Harris. Ford is serving as the carrier for the insurance and Pie Insurance will be the MGA. “Having total control of the insurance product was probably the only way we could do that,” he said. “That’s why we decided to be the carrier for the commercial side of it.”
To adhere to state insurance regulations, Ford Pro Insure will launch in one state early next year, at first, then methodically add states, according to Harris. The rollout will continue over the following two years until coverage is available throughout the U.S.
Entering commercial insurance at the scale of Ford Pro Insure is a new challenge for Pie Insurance, according to Craig.
“We had all of this Technology and all of these analytics and data that we could leverage from our experience in workers comp,” he said. Bringing that into conversations with Ford led to the new offering, “we essentially had a meeting of the minds almost immediately,” Craig adds. “We believed a lot of the same things working backwards from the customer. The customer is the most important person in this relationship. How you serve the customer really matters. That matters to Ford. That matters to Pie.”