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Auto Claims Satisfaction Dips in Winter Months: J.D. Power

Road conditions and financial pressures sour policyholders' view of insurers, the company says.

Overall satisfaction with the auto insurance claims process has dipped, according to a survey of 2,878 consumers by Westlake Village, Calif.-based J.D. Power & Associates.

Wave 2 of the 2013 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study was conducted in November and December and found that the satisfaction score for the industry dropped to 850 from 861 on J.D. Power's 1,000-point scale. The company says that the slight decline could be attributed to the time of year in which the survey took place. In Wave 3 of 2012, the overall score was 850.

"There is a seasonal trend in claimant satisfaction, which declines significantly during the winter months," said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power and Associates, in a statement. "When consumers have an accident and need to repair their vehicle around the holidays, it's an inconvenience, and road conditions tend to batch accidents, causing volume peaks for the repair industry. Furthermore, for those claimants who incur personal out-of-pocket expenses, having to dip into their holiday savings to pay for repairs is frustrating."

However, the study also found that appraisal and settlement is taking longer. On average, claimants wait 3.3 days for an insurance appraisal, up from 2.9 days in Wave 1. Settlement payments average 14.9 days in Wave 2, compared with 13.9 days in Wave 1.

[J.D. Power: Direct claims reporting in homeowners could improve]

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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