OAI: Drop in Car Insurance Claims Satisfaction Linked to Repair Expectations

April 19, 2012 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Officials at J.D. Power and Associates say the results of a new customer satisfaction study show insurers need to communicate better with customers on expectations on repair wait times, but the results also indicate that taking a vehicle in for repairs as soon as possible and asking insurers for realistic repair wait times are steps the consumer can take to ensure a smoother process, according to OnlineAutoInsurance.com (OAI).

The new J.D. Power survey showed that overall customer satisfaction fell 13 points compared with the last survey and that satisfaction is now at its lowest point in the past three calendar quarters. It was dragged down by: a 19-point decline in satisfaction with "first notice of loss," a 16-point drop in "service interaction," a 16-point decrease in "appraisal," and a 15-point decline in "repair process." The ratings are judged on a scale of a total of 1,000 points.

Although the J.D. Power survey results do not list performance for individual coverage providers, the marketing information services company does provide car insurance company ratings for specific insurers that include categories like policy offerings, pricing and how easy it was to contact the insurer. These ratings, coupled with consumer-complaint rankings filed by state regulators-which can be found at http://www.usa.gov/topics/consumer/insurance.pdf as a directory-can give shoppers a relatively full picture of how an insurer handles its policyholders.

The study found that repair times are continuing to get longer and customers are noticing. The length of the repair process increased almost a full day from the fourth quarter of 2011, from 15 to 15.8 days. Last quarter's study from J.D. Power also found an increase in repair times, but it caused average customer satisfaction to drop by only 1 point.

The study found that customers themselves may be contributing to a longer repair process and lower overall satisfaction. Almost half of claimants waited for more convenient times to bring their car to the shop, while 20 percent waited for weekends or holidays to do so. Those claimants were inclined to report higher dissatisfaction with the entire process.

"Repair times have also increased slightly from the last quarter," said Bowler. "This, in addition to customers waiting longer for a more convenient time, or the weekend, to bring their vehicle to the repair shop, has contributed to the overall lower satisfaction scores."

The study analyzed more than 3,700 responses from policyholders who had filed insurance claims in the last six months.

For more on this and other car insurance issues, head to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/companies/ratings/ for access to informative resource pages and an easy-to-use quote-comparison generator.