Advertising, Claims Handling Drive Reputations of Auto Insurers

October 4, 2010

Consumers have been highly satisfied with their auto insurance companies over the past year, and they view Allstate, State Farm and Geico as the most reputable auto insurance providers, according to a new survey.

The survey conducted in August by Colorado-based Market Force Information, which specializes in customer intelligence, found that Allstate and State Farm Insurance nearly tied for insurers with the best reputation, with each earning about 21% of the votes. Geico ranked third with 14%, while USAA and Progressive each earned 6% to tie for fourth place.

When asked which company is doing the best job communicating its value to consumers, Geico outscored all others by a large margin. Four out of 10 consumers selected Geico, followed by Allstate, Progressive and State Farm, with 22%, 17% and 11%, respectively.

A key driver in satisfaction with auto insurance providers is how they process claims, the survey suggests. Of the 18% of survey respondents who reported filing a claim with their auto insurance provider in the past year, 85% said they were satisfied with the way the claim was processed.

More than three out of four of the respondents said they saw an auto insurance ad in the last 60 days, and most (93%) reported seeing the ad on television. Advertising awareness appeared to be a large motivator among consumers who contemplated switching providers. One quarter of the study participants who said they considered switching to a different company had checked out another insurance provider based on an ad they saw.

When the consumers were asked why they chose one auto insurance provider over another, most (59%) said their decision was based on price. The ability to get complete services from one provider played a big role as well, with 27% citing it. Two-thirds of consumers surveyed said that they get other types of insurance from their providers. Other factors influencing the selection process included recommendations from friends and the financial stability of the provider.

Ten percent of consumers actually switched insurance providers in the past 12 months, driven primarily by service and fee/rule changes. Twenty-five percent indicated they made a change because they were unhappy with their service, and 20% changed because their provider implemented new fees/rules that adversely affected them. Of those who switched providers, 74% went to providers with better pricing.

The survey was conducted in August among a network of more than 300,000 independent mystery shoppers and merchandisers, according to the research firm. The pool of 2,800 respondents ranged in age from 18 to 72, with 53% reporting incomes of more than $50,000 a year.

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