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