Satisfaction among homeowners who filed a property claim improved for the second consecutive year, according to the J.D. Power “2014 Property Claims Satisfaction Study.” The five factors considered include settlement, first notice of loss, estimation process, service interaction and repair process.

On a 1,000-point scale, between April 2012 and January 2014, customer satisfaction increased to 840 on average, up from 836 in the 2013 study, J.D Power said. Satisfaction improved year-over-year in four of the five factors; satisfaction with first notice of loss was the same as in 2013. Satisfaction with the settlement factor increased by 4 index points and was the greatest increase.

However, for those who filed damage claims related to Superstorm Sandy, satisfaction levels averaged 830 in 2014, down from 846 among Sandy-related claimants surveyed shortly after the storm, J.D. Power said. Overall satisfaction with non-catastrophic claims in 2014 increased by 11 index points to 843, compared to 832 in 2013.

For those who filed non-CAT related claims, J.D. Power attributes the increase in satisfaction to claimants having received a thorough explanation of their coverage when first reporting their loss, being promptly notified of what damages were covered, and having received their settlement nearly four days faster. The company also found that 15 percent of the reported claims involved a third-party damage inspection, a 5-percentage-point decrease from the 2013 study.

See also Accurate Timelines, Fewer Negotiations Lead to Improved Property Claims Satisfaction

“Starting at the time of first notice of loss, it is crucial for insurers to keep claimants informed of their claim, the estimate of damages, the settlement amount, when work will begin and when it will be completed,” said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power. “When major storms hit and insurers have to rely on third parties to assist in managing the large number of claims, service levels often deteriorate fast as each insurer has their own processes and approval requirements. This can sometimes lead to significantly extended claim cycle times.” 

Highest-Ranked Insurance Companies

Amica Mutual ranks highest in overall satisfaction with the homeowners insurance claims experience for the third consecutive year, achieving a score of 898. Amica Mutual performs particularly well in all five factors.

Satisfaction Index Ranking (1,000 point scale)

Amica Mutual

898

Erie Insurance

877

Nationwide

858

Auto-Owners Insurance

854

Farmers

845

Liberty Mutual

845

The Hartford

844

Safeco

842

MetLife

840

Industry Average

840

Allstate

836

State Farm

836

Travelers

830

CSA A Insurance Group

817

American Family

813

Auto Club of So. California

776

USAA*

905

 

*USAA was not included in the rankings due to the closed nature of its membership.

3 Tips for Improved Customer Satisfaction

  1. Effective communication with claimants is crucial. Overall customer satisfaction dropped by more than 160 index points when claimants escalate to a supervisor.
  2. Timeliness of communications counts. If settlement terms are offered to the claimant within a day of first notice of loss, only 6 percent of customers escalate the claim, for example. The rate of escalation increases to 13 percent when claimants are informed within one week, and increases to 18 percent after one week.
  3. Younger claimants are more likely to escalate their claim; 23 percent of gen Y claimants escalated their claim to a supervisor, compared with 8 percent of baby boomers.

The “2014 Property Claims Satisfaction Study” was based on more than 5,500 responses from homeowners insurance customers who filed property claims between April 2012 and January 2014, J.D. Power said.

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