Annual Survey Lists Top 10 Ease of Doing Business P/C Insurers

October 20, 2008

West Bend Mutual Insurance Company of Wisconsin (No. 1), Central Mutual Insurance (No. 2), Safety Insurance (No. 3), Frankenmuth Insurance (No. 4), and Selective Insurance (No. 5) earned the top five spots when it comes to Ease of Doing Business (EDB), reports Acton, Mass.-based Deep Customer Connections Inc. in its 6th annual survey.

The annual survey’s Ease of Doing Business Index gauges a carrier’s performance against what independent agents rate as most important when choosing a carrier to write business with. More than 7,400 independent agents and brokers assessed the performance of over 250 property/casualty carriers in the survey.

In addition to capturing the overall top spot, West Bend earned a “Top 10” status in each of the eleven Ease of Doing Business (EDB) Factors and ranked number one on two factors — “policy services” and “marketing support.”

The “Top 10” overall EDB Index performers are:
1. West Bend Mutual Insurance Company
2. Central Mutual Insurance
3. Safety Insurance
4. Frankenmuth Insurance
5. Selective Insurance
6. ACUITY Insurance
7. SECURA Insurance
8. State Auto Insurance
9. Society Insurance
10. Texas Mutual Insurance and United Fire Group (tie)

“There is a small increase in overall performance from last year’s EDB survey,” said Nort Salz, president of Deep Customer Connections (DCC). “Industry-wide, the Ease of Doing Business Index rose from 87.8 in 2007 to 88.5 in 2008.”

In DCC’s annual EDB survey, agents and brokers rate the importance of 11 EDB Factors and then evaluate individual carriers’ performance in each factor. In addition to the highest overall EDB Index performers, DCC recognizes the top performers by Factor. They are:

Ease of Doing Business Factor (Top Property and Casualty Insurance Performer)
–Acts on agency needs (Frankenmuth Insurance)
–Underwriting responsiveness (Safety Insurance)
–Quotes and issues without rework (Selective Insurance)
–Underwriting flexibility (Safety Insurance)
–Policy services (West Bend Mutual Insurance Co.)
–Effective technology (Progressive Insurance)
–Handles claims promptly (Chubb Insurance)
–Handles claims fairly (The Cincinnati Insurance Co.)
–Marketing support (West Bend Mutual Insurance Co.)
–Insurance expertise and support (Texas Mutual Insurance)
–Makes it easy for the agent to do business with the policyholder (Central Mutual Insurance)

Some carriers improved their ratings while others’ ratings fell. For example, West Bend recaptured the No. 1 spot, and Central Mutual moved from 7th to 2nd. There are also several new names on the overall Top 10 list: Safety Insurance, Society Insurance, Texas Mutual Insurance, and United Fire Group.

“These changes in ratings represent one important reason carriers should measure their EDB performance,” explained Paul Croke, a DCC co-founder. “Agents’ ratings of EDB performance evolve over time; today’s improvements — including those in other industries — breed tomorrow’s expectations. Even the best performing carriers need to work hard to continue to earn high EDB ratings.”

“Measuring EDB is important for carriers,” continued Salz. “Our research clearly shows that EDB is a primary factor in agents’ buying decisions. EDB metrics enable carriers to know what they need to do to positively influence whether agents will buy from them because of their EDB performance.”

Further details of 2008 survey results will be available in DCC’s Annual EDB Benchmark Report, scheduled to be released in December.

Source: Deep Customer Connections

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