Insurance

For the first time, Americans like insurance company websites more than their agents

A new study by J.D. Power has revealed what Americans think of their insurance company.

Photo by Getty Images

This year's U.S. Auto Insurance Study from J.D. Power has revealed that insurance company websites have surpassed agents in terms of importance to client interaction and service by providing higher customer satisfaction.

"We've seen this trend developing for several years, but this is the first time that the digital channel has become the preferred means of interacting with auto insurers, exceeding one-on-one communication with agents," said Robert Lajdziak, senior consultant for insurance intelligence at J.D. Power.

The study uncovered that overall customer satisfaction with auto insurers improved in 2020 to a record high of 835 (on a 1,000-point scale). GEICO, State Farm, and Allstate achieved some of the highest gains, aided by their growth in the digital channels.

Insurance companies were ranked by region. The highest-ranking auto insurance brands by region include:

  • California - Wawanesa
  • Central - Auto-Owners Insurance
  • Florida - Allstate
  • Mid-Atlantic - State Farm
  • New England - Amica Mutual
  • New York - State Farm
  • North Central - GEICO
  • Northwest - GEICO
  • Southeast - Farm Bureau Insurance—Tennessee
  • Southwest - American Family, GEICO (tie)
  • Texas - Texas Farm Bureau

J.D. Power found that there is a strong correlation between scores for trust and those for overall satisfaction. According to the company, "On average, a one-point increase in trust (on a 5-point scale) would correlate with a 118-point increase in overall satisfaction. Despite the importance of trust, only 42 percent of all auto insurance customers say they 'strongly agree' that they trust their insurer."

The study also looked at what makes customers change or remain with their insurance company. It found that when insurance companies deny a claim, it makes customers unlike to renew with them. When customers experienced a claim that was fully approved and settled, their satisfaction was high and generated the greatest liklihood of renewal.

Additionally, customers who experienced sub-optimal claim outcomes and remained with their carrier vowed to be more diligent about understanding their policy and its coverage moving forward.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Teachers from Houston, Tampa, and Detroit can be entered to win.

Photo by Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

With more parents having a larger hand in educating their children for the last seven months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it's become apparent to many just how tough being a teacher can be. Maaco, the world's largest provider of auto paint and collision services, is rewarding one lucky teacher with a free MAACOver as part of a new giveaway.

The giveaway can include an exterior paint job, deep cleaning, and collision/damage repair. These are all services that Maaco offers as part of its menu.

Teachers of grades K-12 can nominate themselves or students and community members can nominate a deserving educator via Macao.com. Only teachers in Houston, Tampa, and Detroit are eligible.

Nominations must be submitted by October 5. Winners will be announced October 19.

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If you've got a reservation, you can now order your 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

In a memo to dealers, Ford has announced that it is lowering the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of its 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E, the long-awaited all-electric crossover.

According to a post on the Mach-E forum, the price of the Mustang Mach-E will be $1,000 to $3,000 than initially promoted. The memo states that the Mustang Mach-E Premium will be $3,000 lower than initially anticipated with the all-wheel drive version dropping to $50,800 and rear-wheel drive model now coming in at $48,100.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E The Ford Mustang Mach-E will begin arriving at dealership lots soon. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Mach-E First Edition, a sold-out top-of-the-line model, will get a $1,000 price deduction. That same drop applies to the Mach-E Select, the base model. That base model has a 230-mile range. Higher price point versions of the Mach-E can achieve up to 300 miles of range.

The price of each vehicle includes a $1,100 delivery charge. Customers are eligible to receive a $7,500 federal tax credit with purchase.

Pricing will apply to all models that have been ordered since the Mach-E was unveiled at the 2019 L.A. Auto Show. The first deliveries of the crossover are expected to arrive in customer hands later this year.

How does the new price compare? The freshly-unveiled Volkswagen ID.4 will start at $41,990 including the cost of delivery, making it about $2,000 less than the new price of the Mach-E Select, which comes in at $43,995 for front-wheel drive models and $46,695 for all-wheel drive variants. The ID.4 will get up to 250 miles on a single charge.

The Tesla Model Y comes in at $49,990 but has more range than the Mustang Mach-E at 316 miles on a single charge and comes standard with all-wheel drive.

Ford and Volkswagen vehicles will rely on private charging opportunities. Both companies have recently announced partnerships with Electrify America, which has two cross-country charging routes available and is working to rapidly install charging stations at private enterprises and in public spaces nationwide.

Volkswagen ID.4 buyers get three years of free charging with purchase. Mustang Mach-E owners get 250-kilowatt-hours of free charging when they buy a Mach-E.

Tesla has a fully built-out electric vehicle charging infrastructure that allows for fast charging of the Model Y. With that capability it can relain 158 miles of charge in just 15 minutes while at a Supercharger. There are 17,000 Superchargers worldwide and six new locations open each week according to the Tesla website.

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