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Study shows increased satisfaction with auto insurance claims

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Nov. 2, 2012—Despite higher average prices, overall consumer satisfaction with their auto insurance claims has increased since last year, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Auto Claims Satisfactions Study.

The study measures claimant satisfaction based on a 1,000-point scale, taking into account first notice of loss, service interaction, appraisal, repair process, rental experience and settlement, J.D. Power said in a press release_notes. The study surveyed 12,508 auto insurance customers who settled claims within the past six months.
Overall claimant satisfaction was at 852 index points this year, a six-point improvement from 2011. It is the fifth time in the last six years that satisfaction has increased in year over year numbers.

Scores for “settlement satisfaction,” listed as the most important aspect by those surveyed, increased by 16 points among those who claimed a total loss.
The average total loss settlement also increased compared to 2011, which J.D. Power attributed to an increase in used-vehicle values.

“As used vehicle sale prices increase, the value of the loss settlement also increases,” Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power and Associates, said in a statement. “According to our Power Information Network, a database of vehicle sales transactions, used-vehicle sales prices peaked in May and June of this year, averaging nearly $18,500, compared with approximately $17,700 in January of this year.”

As satisfaction increased in 2012, average out-of-pocket costs for claimants also went up, coming in at $403, $26 higher than in 2011. Out-of-pocket costs include claimants' deductible and any additional expenses incurred, such as rental car or repair costs, according to the survey.

“Providing exceptional customer service is an important element in driving the perception of being treated fairly,” said Bowler. “Claimants' perception of fairness is more than just the amount of the settlement, especially for repairable vehicles, where claimants are more focused on their vehicle being returned in its pre-accident condition. Focusing on keeping claimants updated and quickly communicating what will be covered in the claim also have a major impact on their perceptions of how fairly they are treated.”

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