Auto claims satisfaction lower among total loss claimants

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Oct. 27, 2011—Auto insurance claimants who incur a total vehicle loss are less satisfied with the claims experience compared to claimants who incur a repairable vehicle claim, according to J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study release_notesd Thursday.

Satisfaction averages 811 on a 1,000-point scale among claimants with a total loss—42 points lower than claimants whose vehicle is repaired, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

J.D. Power and Associates said the gap is largely due to a lack of satisfaction regarding the settlement. About 50 percent of total loss claimants say the settlement they received wasn't enough to replace their totaled vehicle with a similar vehicle.

Auto claims resulting in a total loss tend to be more complex compared to vehicle repair claims, said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power and Associates. In addition to filing a claim, claimants also have to purchase a replacement vehicle.

"Ongoing communication and managing expectations are key throughout the entire claims process, as total loss claims take 18.2 days, on average, for claimants to receive payment, compared with just 12.5 days for the return of a repaired vehicle,” Bowler said. “Making the claimant aware of how quickly they'll receive the settlement and providing a thorough explanation of how the settlement amount was calculated are crucial to improving the overall experience in those instances of total loss."

Auto-Owners Insurance scored 890 in overall claimant satisfaction, ranking the highest among all insurance companies for the fourth consecutive year. The following insurance companies round out the top five:

• State Farm: 878 overall claimant satisfaction score
• Amica Mutual: 865 overall claimant satisfaction score
• American Family: 862 overall claimant satisfaction score
• The Hartford: 858 overall claimant satisfaction score

The following insurance companies comprise the five ranked lowest regarding claimant satisfaction:

• Farmers: 804 overall claimant satisfaction score
• Esurance: 800 overall claimant satisfaction score
• Encompass: 789 overall claimant satisfaction score
• Commerce: 772 overall claimant satisfaction score
• 21st Century: 771 overall claimant satisfaction score

The 2011 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, which was conducted March through July 2011, is based on more than 11,500 responses from auto insurance customers who filed a claim within the past 12 months. The study excludes claimants who only incurred glass damage, filed roadside assistance claims, or had a vehicle stolen.

Visit to view a full list of insurance company claimant satisfaction rankings.

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