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2014 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study Results

2014 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study Results

By Jeff Youngs,

Overall customer satisfaction with the auto insurance claims process has improved steadily during the past five years, according to the just-published J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study.SM Overall satisfaction has improved to 857 (on a 1,000-point scale) in 2014, up from 842 in 2010, with an increase of 2 points in 2014 from 2013. Satisfaction in service interaction is up 7 points from 2013, and within that factor, satisfaction with the claim professional is up 17 points.The study measures customer satisfaction with the claims experience for auto physical damage loss. That experience might include some or all of the following factors measured in the study: first notice of loss; service interaction; appraisal; repair process; rental experience; and settlement.

Attentive Agents Are Key to Claims Experience
One of the key study findings is that receiving proactive communication from their insurance agent plays a critical role in overall claimant customer satisfaction. According to the study, satisfaction is 918 among the 53% of claimants whose agent initiated contact with them during the claims process, compared with 827 among those who initiated contact with their agent.

"Insurance companies are placing more emphasis on training their employees and representatives to be customer-centric, especially during the interaction process," said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the global insurance practice at J.D. Power. "That focus is reflected in the increase in satisfaction, specifically with claim professionals, whose primary responsibility is to accurately estimate the amount of the insurance settlement. Historically, those individuals have been recruited and trained for their technical knowledge but haven't always been known for being customer service-oriented."

Other key highlights from the study include:
  • Satisfaction with the claims experience impacts customer retention and referrals. Among claimants classified as "delighted" (overall satisfaction of 900 or higher), 79% say they "definitely will" renew their policy and recommend their insurer. Among displeased claimants (scores of 549 and below), only 13% say they "definitely will' renew and only 7% "definitely will" recommend their current insurer.
  • Technology-supported, proactive communication increases satisfaction. The percentage of customers receiving email updates on their claim status increases to 24% in 2014 from 15% in 2011. Satisfaction is highest among claimants who receive digital updates through email, text message, or smartphone apps.
  • Satisfaction among the 65% of claimants who indicate they were provided options of how they could receive claim updates averages 887, compared with 798 among those who are not.
  • On average, it takes 13.4 days from the time loss is reported to the insurer until the vehicle is repaired and returned--0.2 days faster than in 2013. The improvement is due to improved performance when dealing with towed claims, which are repaired and returned 1.6 days faster in 2014 than in 2013 (15.0 days vs. 16.6, respectively). For vehicles declared a total loss, it takes an average of 18.3 days from the time the loss is reported until the claim is paid.
  • Satisfaction is highest among Pre-Boomers (claimants born before 1946), at 911, and lowest among Gen Y (claimants born between 1977 and 1994), at 819. Satisfaction among Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) is 876, while it is 847 among Gen X (born between 1965 and 1976) claimants.

Auto Insurance Claim Company Rankings
Amica Mutual ranks highest in auto claims satisfaction with an index score of 900--a 29-point improvement from 2013. Auto-Owners Insurance ranks second (879), followed by State Farm (869), American Family (868), and Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group (867). USAA achieves a score of 896, but is not award-eligible because it is an insurance provider open only to U.S. military personnel and their families.

Consumer Tips
Based on the study, J.D. Power offers the following consumer tips:
  • Lose no time in contacting your insurer if you have a claim. Even if it's an accident in which you're not at fault, your insurer should be aware of the process, and be involved as an advocate if necessary.
  • Keep your insurer's contact information in your vehicle, as well as in your home.
  • Check with consumer groups and with your friends and family to discover which insurers offer the fastest and most professional claims service.
  • Ask your claims professional what you can expect, during the process, in terms of procedures, amount paid, the time involved, and information you'll need to provide.

About the Study
The 2014 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 10,891 auto insurance customers who settled a claim within the past six months. The study excludes claimants whose vehicle incurred only glass/windshield damage or was stolen, or who only filed roadside assistance claims. Survey data was collected between November 2013 and August 2014.

Additional Research:

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