Survey: Car Insurers, Body Shops Handled Claims Increase Well

Auto repairsCar insurance companies managed to keep customers satisfied with the claims process during the last three months of 2011 despite a surge in the number of claims being filed, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

The announcement from the marketing information services company is based on auto insurance reviews from more than 3,500 people who had filed a physical damage claim within the past six months.

Respondents indicated that repair times took about 9 percent longer than in the third quarter of 2011–going from 7.8 days to 8.5 days–yet average customer satisfaction fell by only 1 point on a 1,000-point scale.

The increase in repair times has been attributed to a higher volume of repairs needed in the last months of 2011. That damage dealt by a handful of bad weather events that hit both coasts and some states in the Midwest.

An official from J.D. Power said in the company’s announcement that insurers succeeded in keeping customers informed during the claims process, which helped manage their expectations and ultimately kept them satisfied with the results.

“Customers tend to be significantly more satisfied when their insurers let them know when they can expect their vehicle to be fixed and then provide updates along the way than are customers whose insurance company provides less communication,” said Jeremy Bowler, J.D. Power’s senior director of insurance practice.

Overall Satisfaction Higher among Those Who Filed Claims with Agents

The survey responses indicated that, even though many companies are directing policyholders to file claims through call centers rather than with agents, policyholders who went through agents tended to have higher customer satisfaction.

Claimants who filed through agents gave satisfaction ratings that were on average 2.7 percent higher than those who filed through the company directly.

“There still is a significant share of customers who prefer the personal interaction they get with an agent because they value working directly with a person they know,” said Bowler.

Still, the gap between satisfaction among those who used call centers and those who used agents is shrinking. In the second quarter of 2011, average ratings of those who used agents were 3.5 percent higher.

About Matthew Morisset
Matthew Morisset is a proud alumnus of the University of Redlands, where he obtained a degree in English Literature. Utilizing his passion for analysis and writing, Matthew looks for important trends in the auto insurance industry and their implications for consumers and the market as a whole.

No comments yet.

Comment on this article