Tempe, Ariz.-The Progressive Group of Cos. is opening what it believes to be the only insurance group-owned commercial auto claims training facility in the U.S.

The 9,500-square-foot space, located in Tempe,Ariz., enables Mayfield Village, Ohio-based Progressive to nearly triple the number of representatives equipped to handle its commercial auto claims countrywide, and thereby settle small-business owners' claims faster. The training will enable them to return to small-business owners the vehicles they rely on to run their businesses as quickly as possible.

"We know how important a vehicle can be to a small-business owner's livelihood," says Brian Silva, commercial auto general manager, for Progressive. "A new specialized training curriculum, along with this facility, will help us get more claims representatives trained to provide fast, fair and accurate claims service that helps small-business owners get back on the road as quickly as possible after a claim."

Like the training Progressive provides its auto claims representatives, the commercial auto training is presented in a hands-on fashion. Reps learn how vehicles are built and the types of damage they sustain in crashes. Additionally, they get hands-on experience with the type of body and paint work necessary to restore vehicles in pre-loss condition.

"Unless you know how a dump truck or other commercial vehicle is built and how it should be repaired, you cannot write an accurate estimate," adds Silva.

Training at the site, which began January 25, will be offered to Progressive's claims representatives from across the U.S. In addition to the commercial auto training, Tempe is also home to Progressive's motorcycle, ATV, RV, boat and personal watercraft claims training center.

The Progressive Group offers commercial auto insurance for a wide variety of business types, including trade, contracting, construction, sales, trucking, landscaping and towing. With $1.6 billion in net premiums written in 2004, Progressive's commercial auto product is now offered in 45 states.


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