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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The first 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible off the line was auctioned for charity tonight.

Photo courtesy of Barrett-Jackson/Facebook

The United Way for Southeastern Michigan was a double beneficiary on Friday night. Proceeds from the sale of the first production 2021 Ram 1500 TRX Launch Edition and the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible benefitted the charity. The winning bid for the C8 Corvette Convertible was $400,000.

The Corvette Convertible traces its roots back to the original 'Vette - the 1953 model was only available as a rag top. The modern C8 Corvette Convertible engineered the hard top to provide a quieter cabin, increased security, and a cleaner look than previous convertible designs. It can be activated at speeds u pro 30 mpg and retracts in 16 seconds.

The roof is powered by six electric motors — a Corvette first. A body-colored roof is standard, while Carbon Flash metallic-painted nacelles and roof are optional.

A divider glass window in the middle of the vehicle can be power adjusted with the top up or down. In addition to the roof, the car as the same rear spoiler used on the Stingray coupe's Z51 Performance Package, resulting in identical drag between the coupe and convertible with the top up.

The chassis was tweaked for the convertible, giving the convertible nearly the same performance as the coupe.

Like the Stingray coupe, the convertible is powered by a 6.2-liter V8 engine that produces 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible has a $68,495 starting MSRP.

Last year, Rick Hendrick, founder and CEO of Hendrick Companies, placed the winning bid for the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray VIN 0001 at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction. All proceeds from that sale benefitted the Detroit Children's Fund, a nonprofit focused on high-potential investments to provide Detroit school children the opportunity to receive an excellent education.

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Existing Dodge Charger and Challenger models are getting a no-cost update designed to thwart thieves.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis
The Dodge Charger and Challenger are hot models. Not just hot as in good-looking. Hot as in stolen. In 2019, the Dodge Charger HEMI and the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat were atop the Highway Loss Data Institute's list of vehicles most likely to be stolen. The claim rates for each model's whole-vehicle theft were more than five times the average for 2016 to 2018 models. Since then, both models have continued to see robust sales.

Dodge has announced an automotive software upgrade that is designed to made the cars less desirable to theives. Using the Dodge owner's four-digit security code, a new enhanced deterrence feature limits the vehicle's engine speed to idle (675 rpm). At idle, the engines produce approximately 2.8 horsepower and 22 lb.-ft. of torque.

2020 Dodge Charger The Dodge Charger is one of the most stolen vehicles in the U.S. Photo courtesy of Stellantis

The no-charge update is limited to Dodge Charger and Challenger models equipped with 392-cu.-in. HEMI V8 or supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 engines.

"Dodge is launching a new owner-customized 'double verification' security system," said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge Brand Chief Executive Officer – Stellantis. "When flashed into the computer of affected 2015 or newer Dodge muscle cars, the protective software will limit the engine output to less than three horsepower, foiling fast getaways and joyrides."

The software upgrade can be installed free of charge by any Dodge dealer on 2015 through 2021 model-year Dodge muscle cars. The complimentary enhancement applies second-level vehicle security encryption via Dodge's Uconnect 4C infotainment system.

"More than 150 cars are stolen every day in the United States," added Kuniskis. "For any car owner, it's terrible, it's a hassle and it's a personal violation. Though statistically rare, car thieves have targeted the high-horsepower Dodge muscle cars, and we want the Dodge 'Brotherhood' to know we're taking quick action and covering their backs."

Dodge has committed to pursuing other enhancements to vehicle-theft deterrence in order to protect owners' investments.

Dodge expects the new security feature to be available late in the second quarter of 2021.

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