Bad weather helped spike auto claims volume in the fourth quarter of 2011 according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study.

The surge put pressure on auto repair facilities as the average time it took to repair vehicles rose to 8.5 days for Q4, compared to 7.8 days during the third quarter of 2011. Interestingly, the delays did not seem to adversely impact customer satisfaction, which held steady averaging 855 on a 1,000-point scale during the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with 854 during the third quarter and 848 during the second quarter of 2011.

The study, based on more than 3,500 responses from auto insurance customers who filed a claim within the past 6 months, found that the frequency with which insurance companies communicate with their customers plays a vital role in overall satisfaction.

“Communication between insurance companies and their customers is vital to satisfaction during the claims process,” said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “Customers tend to be significantly more satisfied when their insurer lets them know when they can expect their vehicle to be fixed and then provides updates along the way, than are customers whose insurance company provides less communication.”




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