Consumers are relatively happy with their auto insurer these days. A new study from Market Force Information, a customer intelligence and solution provider, reveals high customer satisfaction levels with auto insurance providers over the past year.

For the survey, Market Force examined auto insurance preferences and trends, found that Allstate (21.9%) and State Farm Insurance (21.2%) nearly tied for insurers with the best reputation, while GEICO ranked third with 13.9%, and USAA and Progressive each earned 6%.

A key driver in satisfaction with auto insurance providers is how they process claims, Market Force says. Of the 18% of survey respondents who reported filing a claim with their auto insurance provider in the past year, 85% of said they were satisfied with the way the claim was processed.

When consumers were asked why they chose one auto insurance provider over another, 59% said their decision was based on price. The ability to get complete services from a single provider was the next most important factor (27%), and tied with recommendations from friends or family. Customer perception of an insurer's financial stability (26%), and their relationship with their agent (25%) also were high on the list of determining factors.

The survey also found that customers overwhelmingly believed that GEICO does the best job of communicating its value to consumers. GEICO received 39% of the vote, and was followed by Allstate (22%), Progressive (17%) and State Farm (11%).

Additionally, more than three out of four respondents said they had seen an auto insurance ad in the last 60 days, and most (93%) reported seeing that ad on television. Advertising awareness appeared to be a large motivator among consumers who contemplated switching providers. One quarter of the study participants who said they considered switching to a different company had checked out another insurance provider based on an ad they saw.

Ten percent of consumers reported having switched insurance providers in the past 12 months—a move driven primarily by service and fee/rule changes. Twenty-five percent indicated they made the change because they were unhappy with their service, while 20% switched insurers because their provider implemented new fees/rules that adversely affected them. Of those who switched providers, 74% went to providers with better pricing.

The survey, conducted in August 2010, polled Market Force's network of more than 300,000 independent mystery shoppers and merchandisers. The pool of 2,800 respondents to the survey ranged in age from 18 to 72, and reflected a broad spectrum of income levels, with 53% reporting incomes of more than $50,000 a year. Seventy-two percent work full or part time. Seventy-four percent were women, and half said they have children at home. 


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