J.D. Power Ranks 25 Auto Insurers by Claims Performance

For the fourth consecutive year, Auto-Owners Insurance took the top spot of J.D. Power and Associates’ “U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study.” On a 1,000-point scale, Auto-Owners achieved a score of 890 and was the only insurer included in the rankings to receive a five-star rating.

State Farm (878), Amica Mutual (865), American Family (862) and The Hartford (858) rounded out the top five, respectively; they were the only four to receive four-star ratings. The rest of the field received three stars or less, including big-spenders such as GEICO (840), Progressive (836), Allstate (834) and MetLife (824).

The industry average for this year’s survey was a score of 846 and a three-star rating.

At an industry level, customer satisfaction was markedly higher when filing claims for repairable damages, as opposed to claimants incurring a total vehicle loss. In cases of the latter, satisfaction averaged 811; 42 points lower than among those filing repairable damage claims.

The three main contributors to the low satisfaction rate are communication, insurers must explain the claims process as well as be available to deliver new information and answer follow-up questions; speed, total loss claimants has to wait an extra six days on average when compared to the 12-day average of repairable damage claims; and fairness, knowing and understanding policies ahead of time and being made aware of out-of-pocket expenses as early as possible can avoid unpleasant surprises.

Speaking to auto insurance customers, J.D. Power and Associates’ insurance practice Senior Director Jeremy Bowler said, “It’s important for customers to examine the settlement offer and, in particular, verify the vehicle content and condition. The majority of customers who disputed their vehicle’s valuation most often cited differences concerning comparable vehicles (56 percent), vehicle condition (53 percent) and aftermarket accessories (18 percent).”

The 2011 “U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study” is based on more than 11,500 responses from auto insurance customers who filed a claim within the past 12 months. The study excludes claimants whose vehicle only incurred glass/windshield damage or was stolen, or who only filed roadside assistance claims. The study was fielded March through July 2011.

The top 25 insurers surveyed with their satisfaction scores are listed below:

1. Auto-Owners Insurance (890)

2. State Farm (878)

3. Amica Mutual (865)

4. American Family (862)

5. The Hartford (858)

6. COUNTRY (853)

7. Erie Insurance (851)

8. Travelers (848)

9. Nationwide (841)

10. GEICO (840)

11. California State Automobile Association (839)

12. Safeco (838)

13. Progressive (836)

14. The Hanover (835)

15. Allstate (834)

16. Liberty Mutual (830)

17. Mercury (825)

18. Automobile Clue of Southern California (824)

19. MetLife (824)

20. Automobile Club Group (821)

21. Farmers (804)

22. Esurance (800)

23. Encompass (789)

24. Commerce (772)

25. 21st Century (771)

USAA was listed separately with a five-star satisfaction score of 889, though they were not included in the rankings because they are not open to the general public.

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