Automotive assistance in the midst of change

Opteven is an auto assistance specialist. Independent of major insurance companies, he is now the leader in mechanical breakdown coverage in France and Europe. Its market is now in full evolution, with contracts enriched with services and an increasingly strong digitization, placed at the service of the end customer. Explanations with Albert Etienne, Opteven CEO France.

What is the genesis of Opteven?

The history of Opteven began under the name of RAC France. As a French subsidiary of the British service company RAC Plc (formerly the Royal Automobile Club), our role was that of provide insurance services for UK customers arriving by car in Europe. Over time, we have then deployed a commercial activity on the French market. It split into two entities, with assistance on the one hand and mechanical failure guarantee on the other hand, which also includes maintenance contracts.

The Mechanical Breakdown Warranty is a contract that covers random breakdowns that can occur on a vehicle. Maintenance contracts, on the other hand, designate scheduled maintenance operations on the vehicle (overhauls, replacement of parts subject to wear, etc.).

This development lasted about twenty years, then RAC France became a subsidiary of the Aviva group. The year 2010 marked our independence, under the name of Opteven. In France, we have maintained our approach to mechanical breakdown / service guarantee and in recent years we have had a very strong European development in the mechanical breakdown guarantee business. Opteven has established itself in the top five automotive markets, namely France, the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy.

What is special about your mechanical breakdown guarantee?

The offers presented in our mechanical failure guarantee and in our maintenance contracts are considered innovative. These contracts need to evolve with vehicle technology. This is why we support the increase in the charge of electric vehicles on the used market. Opteven has thus developed a specific range of products and services, called e-Move or Blue Power depending on the country.

It goes beyond the manufacturer’s warranty by providing additional support services to the main battery. For example, they ensure continuous mobility in the event of a power failure. A significant advantage when a battery is out of order, when charging stations are not available or when the queue for a station is too long. In addition, the Switch services allow the owner of an electric vehicle to occasionally change cars for a thermal vehicle, in order to gain autonomy and therefore make longer journeys.

Offers like ours reassure buyers of an electric car, new or used, why these services cover all faults that may occur.

How are your support services also innovative?

We create tailor-made solutions for our partners. They are automotive and mobility professionals, i.e. manufacturers, distributors, rental companies, insurers or even banks that finance vehicles. Our solutions are very oriented towards the quality of the service and the digitalization of services.

Today, the French are increasingly using mobile phones to order a service, evaluate it, request contract extensions or extensions of additional services. End customers have changed their behavior, and we must not miss the train of digitalization to be able to satisfy them. This also applies to their consumption habits. They are now fond of service packages. As for the ownership of a vehicle, it is gradually being abandoned for the benefit of rental offers or car subscriptions.

Added to this are other discoveries on the market, such as the development of the electric vehicle or the connected and autonomous vehicle. Opteven places itself right at the heart of these interruptions to support its partners in the evolution of their offerings.

Can you provide us with application examples?

To take the example of digitization, it must always be at the service of the end customer. Opteven has, for example, developed a new feature to help drivers who have had a breakdown or road accident. She allows him request a repairman himself from his mobile phone. It is geolocated, and can follow the estimated waiting time and the arrival of the minimarket live.

Another digital support service is eCall, for which we have obtained approval. Thanks to him, a car accident generates an automatic call to our digital platform. We can then contact the customer directly in his vehicle and provide him with the necessary assistance.

Do you have a final word?

Digitization is essential to continue promoting quality services to end customers. Our Digital Factory is working in this direction, to anticipate new technologies. From a more global point of view, Opteven is a company with strong and regular growth. Our goal is to double in size every five years. We are also a highly recruiting company and are looking for 200 positions this year : digital resources, IT, marketing and on operational management platforms.

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