GM plan will raise awareness, CAA says

The recent entry by General Motors of Canada into the roadside protection field does not worry the Canadian Automobile Association, a top official with the organization says.Cairine Wilson, director of marketing for the caa, says the association, whose core business is...

The recent entry by General Motors of Canada into the roadside protection field does not worry the Canadian Automobile Association, a top official with the organization says.

Cairine Wilson, director of marketing for the caa, says the association, whose core business is roadside assistance for member motorists, will benefit from gm’s announcement last month that its 1993 models will be covered by a comprehensive roadside protection program.

The gm program offers motorists free roadside assistance in the event of breakdowns, accidents and other roadside problems.

A year earlier, Nissan Canada initiated a roadside protection scheme, which includes free gas for stranded motorists, a free tow if necessary and help for motorists who lock their keys in their cars, in the selling price of its cars.

Wilson says the efforts of gm and other car companies to promote their customer protection programs will only increase ‘overall awareness in the need for roadside protection.’

‘We will benefit from it more than they will,’ Wilson says.

Still, the caa is not standing still.

The association, which comprises 17 non-profit clubs across the country, is in the midst of a drive to diversify its product base and develop a more customer-driven approach to the marketplace.

In addition to offering automobile protection service, for which it is best known, the caa also runs a travel-retail arm and an insurance arm.

Its insurance portfolio includes products in travel, life, house and car insurance.

Six months ago, the association expanded the insurance portfolio in Ontario with, caare, a new travel insurance product offered at its Toronto, Sudbury and Elgin/Norfork offices.

caare is targetted at people who travel outside the country.

Ontario residents have been in need of additional coverage since the provincial government’s decision several months ago to cut back on its Ontario Health Insurance Program coverage for those travelling outside the country.

Wilson says the caa’s sales of medical and travel insurance through caare are running 35% above last year’s medical and travel insurance sales.

She says she estimates year-end sales will be up 60% over 1991 sales.

caare is being aggressively marketed on tv with spots showing dramatizations of accidents and their aftermath.

Agency is Campaign House of Toronto.