I have just wrapped up design work on a web service to cancel and refund F&I product contracts. Whether a refund is owed to the customer, from an early termination, or to the lender as recovered funds, it is in the provider’s interest to support an efficient automated process. On the lender side, it is also a compliance issue.
This job was rewarding for me because it completes the lifecycle I began automating, ten years ago, with electronic rating. MenuVantage was a leader in rating and originating product contracts, and many providers adopted our model specification.
I then did related work at GMAC Insurance, which was to include claims processing. Sadly, the crash of 2008 ended that project. GMAC also had the bright idea to check for an earlier contract, and apply the refund to the results of the rating call.
The industry has been developing web service support piecemeal. First, there was a need for rating and contracting, supported by companies like MenuVantage. Now, there is financial and regulatory pressure to automate terminations, supported by companies like Express Recoveries.
In hindsight, a savvy provider would have looked at the core processes and developed web service support for the whole lifecycle. It would look something like this:
- Dealer and vehicle information ⇒ Return customized rate structure
- Deal information with chosen rate ⇒ Originate contract
- Form request ⇒ Return contract as PDF
- Form with digital signature ⇒ Store in secure archive
- Blank form request ⇒ Return blank form
- Void request ⇒ Void contract, if eligible
- Remittance query ⇒ Return remittance log
- Remittance notify ⇒ Post pending payment
- In-force query ⇒ Return contract data
- Claim diagnosis ⇒ Verify coverage
- Claim estimate ⇒ Approve/deny claim
- Claim entry ⇒ Issue payment
- Vehicle data from contract ⇒ Return cancellation quote
- Contract data plus authorization ⇒ Cancel contract, issue refund
You could do one big API to manage the product from cradle to grave, and build provider portals and such on top of it. This would have the usual benefits of decoupling the back-end from the presentation layer, and it would facilitate integration with dealer and lender software.