When it comes to customer service, life insurers are succeeding as property/casualty insurers plummet, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers.

The life sector as a whole scored an all-time high of 81 (+1.3 percent). While smaller life insurers lead, despite a 1-percent drop to 81, among the larger companies, New York Life posts the best ACSI score (80). Prudential tied Northwestern Mutual, which suffered a 2-percent drop to 79. The largest life insurer, MetLife, enjoyed a small gain of 1 percent to 78, but remains near the bottom of the industry.

Policyholders are less pleased with property/casualty insurers.

The report from ASCI reported higher-than-average rate increases exerting downward pressure on customer satisfaction. Overall, the property/casualty sector fell 6.0 percent to a score of 78—an erosion stemming from considerable weakening in customer satisfaction with smaller companies, such as AAA, Nationwide and Travelers (down 7 percent to 77).

At the other end of the scale, State Farm kept its lead with a score of 81, even after a slight 1 percent drop. Due to a 3 percent gain to 81, Progressive shared the top. Three others are grouped after them with a score of 79; GEICO (after dropping 2 percent), Farmers Group (unchanged) and Allstate (inching up 1 percent).

The ACSI uses data from interviews with roughly 70,000 customers annually as inputs to an econometric model for measuring satisfaction with more than 230 companies in 47 industries and 10 economic sectors, as well as over 100 services, programs, and websites of federal government agencies.

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