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J.D. Power: Customer satisfaction down 13 points

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April 23, 2012—Customer satisfaction with the auto claims experience declined during the first quarter of 2012 for the first time in three calendar quarters, according to J.D. Power and Associates’ 2012 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study Wave 2.

Overall customer satisfaction declined by 13 points to 842, the lowest satisfaction level in the past three calendar quarters, according to J.D Power. The largest driver of reduced satisfaction scores was due to a 19-point decline in first notice of loss—when the customer first notifies the insurance provider of damage to their vehicle.

Jeremy Bowler, senior director of insurance practice for J.D. Power, said 47 percent of auto claimants delayed dropping their vehicle off at the body shop to wait for a more convenient time, and 20 percent waited due to weekends or holidays. He said those customers tend to have lower satisfaction as a result of waiting an additional day or more to get their vehicle to the shop.

“This suggests insurers need to do a better job of managing customer expectations for claims processing and vehicle repair times,” Bowler said.

J.D. Power said other key factors that caused an overall decline in customer satisfaction during the first quarter of 2012 include the following:

• Service interaction scores declined 16 points
• Appraisal scores declined 16 points
• Repair process scores declined 15 points

The average repair cycle time for claims increased nearly one full day during the first quarter of 2012 to 15.8 days, compared to 15 days during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to J.D. Power. The company said nearly 50 percent of the increase is attributed to customers waiting longer to bring their vehicle to the body shop once an appraisal is conducted.

"Repair times have also increased slightly from the last quarter,” Bowler said. "This, in addition to customers waiting longer for a more convenient time to bring their vehicle to the repair shop, has contributed to the overall lower satisfaction scores."

J.D. Power said its 2012 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study Wave 2 is based on responses from more than 3,700 auto insurance customers who filed claims within the past six months. The study excludes individuals who only filed auto claims for glass, theft or roadside assistance. Data for the study was collected during January and February 2012.

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