Body Shop Owners Rank Carriers on Claims

By Jim Sams | February 5, 2020

Auto body shop owners may know better than anybody how well insurance companies take care of their customers. A report card released this week by an industry publication suggests that if you’re looking for exceptional results, don’t look to the nation’s largest carriers.

None of the nation’s top 10 private passenger carriers earned more than a C+ national grade on the Crash Network’s Insurer Report Card, although some did better in individual states.

“You have to look fairly far down in the rankings before you find one of the best-known and largest auto insurers, but most consumers will find an insurer or two among the 15 highest-graded who offer auto insurance policies in their state,” stated Crash Network Editor and Publisher John Yoswick in a press release.

The newsletter publisher asked 1,037 collision repair professionals in all 50 states to grade the insurers that they dealt with. Shops awarded each company a grade from “A+” to “F” based on one question: “How well does this insurer’s claims handling policies, attitude and payment practices ensure quality repairs and customer service for motorists?”

The survey resulted in letter grades to 135 insurance carriers that had received a grade from at least 35 of the respondents. Of those 79 carriers received enough responses to merit a national ranking.

The only A+ grade went to the North Carolina Farm Bureau, which is a relative gnat on the national scene but a big deal in its home state. The Farm Bureau Group was North Carolina’s fifth-largest private passenger auto insurer in 2018, with $612 million in written premium and a 9.6% market share, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Chubb and Erie Insurance both received A- marks.

“Shops say the best insurance companies don’t pressure them to cut corners or install lower-quality parts just to save the insurers money. The best insurance companies also aren’t adding more administrative steps that slow down the repair and claims process,” Crash Network said in the report.

Among the top ten insurers, Travelers, USAA Group, Nationwide and State Farm received C+grades. Farmers, Progressive Group, American Family, Geico, Liberty Mutual and Allstate received a C-.

On the bottom of the scale, Loya, The General and Direct General received D grades. No carriers got an F.

Body shops tended to rank carriers higher when they had direct repair agreements in place. USAA, for example, was ranked an A- when only grades given by body shops with DRPs were counted. State Farm and Travelers received Bs. But each of those grades dropped below a B when non-DRP scores were added in.

Crash Network also received comments from auto body shop owners and managers. They have glowing remarks to carriers that paid for quality parts an prioritized timely repairs. Typical comments about low-grade carriers complained that they don’t encourage the use of automaker-recommended repair procedures and are slow to respond to requests for approvals.

You can find a link to download the Insurer Report Card here.

About Jim Sams

Sams is editor of the Claims Journal. He can be reached at More from Jim Sams

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