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2013 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study--Wave 1 Results

1/25/2013
Claimant satisfaction with the auto insurance claims process has increased due to faster claims payment. According to the recently released J.D. Power and Associates 2013 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction StudySM--Wave 1, overall, claimant satisfaction with the auto claims process in the fourth quarter of 2012 has increased by 6 points to 861 (on a 1,000-point scale) from the fourth quarter of 2011, primarily due to an 11-point increase in settlement satisfaction. A slight increase in claimant satisfaction with the fairness of claim settlements has also contributed to the overall higher score.

"Regardless of the claim type, the faster the claimant is paid and can move forward with a repair or to replace their vehicle, the more likely they are to be satisfied," said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "In addition, satisfaction with the claim professional is at an all-time high, indicating that the process is becoming smoother, with more frequent updates throughout contributing to a much more satisfying experience."

According to the study, the average length of time from the reporting of a claim to payment has decreased by nearly 3 days in the past year, to 13.9 days in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with 16.4 days in the fourth quarter of 2011. The average time to pay claimants for a repairable claim (11.8 days) has decreased by 1.3 days, while the largest decrease is in the time it takes to pay a total loss, down by an average of 5.1 days to 18.5 days.

These numbers contrast with a slight decline in claimant satisfaction with the vehicle repair process (862) in the fourth quarter of 2012, which is 2 points down from the fourth quarter of 2011. A decline in the percentage of vehicles being fixed correctly the first time--89 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with 91 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011--contributes to lower claimant satisfaction.

On average, claimants who take their vehicle to a non-direct repair provider wait 16.0 days to get their vehicle back, 2.9 days longer than when they take their vehicle to a direct repair provider (13.1 days, on average). The gap in time between a direct repair provider and non-direct repair provider in the fourth quarter of 2012 has increased from only 1.8 days in the same period in 2011.

"While insurers have made significant progress in the past 12 months to improve the efficiency of the claims process, the repair providers have not kept pace," said Bowler. "Failure to repair a vehicle correctly is critical to the customer experience as average satisfaction scores tumble over one hundred points for those who had to bring their vehicle back for repeat repairs."

The 2013 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study--Wave 1 is based on responses from more than 3,000 auto insurance customers who settled a claim within the past 6 months. The study excludes claimants whose vehicle incurred only glass/windshield damage or was stolen, or who only filed roadside assistance claims. Survey data for Wave 1 of the study was gathered in December 2012. The study measures claimant satisfaction with the claims experience for auto physical damage loss. Claimants surveyed may have experienced some or all of the following: first notice of loss; claim service interaction; damage appraisal; repair process; rental experience; and settlement.

Consumer Tips for a Satisfying Auto Claims Experience

J.D. Power and Associates offers the following consumer tips for filing an insurance claim for vehicle damage:

  • Get a police report. Call 911 only if someone has been seriously injured. Ask the police to file an accident report or at least an incident report, so you'll have something to show your insurance company.
  • Contact your insurer as soon as possible after the accident. Some insurers have operators standing by at all times, allowing claimants to call directly from the scene. However, report the incident within 24 hours. Even if the other party is at fault, notify your insurer before notifying the other party's insurer as your insurer will focus on your needs and interests. Itemize the damages carefully and consider filing claims with both insurers.
  • Understand that the insurance representative who takes your accident report is not a claims adjuster. Do not try to get a settlement there and then, and do not argue your case.
  • Write down the details of the accident as soon and as accurately as you can. The more accurate your report of what happened and the more consistent you are in repeating it, the better. Keep records of all calls you make and receive regarding the accident: calls to and from your insurer; the other party's insurer; mechanics; police; and medical personnel.
  • If you feel you're not getting a fair settlement from your adjuster, or if you have other problems, contact your agent directly as it will be in their interest to ensure you are well taken care of.

2012 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Ratings
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