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Study: Rising auto insurance premiums have dented customer satisfaction

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Rising insurance premiums have made a sizeable dent in consumer satisfaction, and driven many customers to shop for lower rates, according to the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study.

The survey attributes carriers’ need for rate increases to “runaway demand in used vehicles that drove prices up an average of 41% in 2021, pushing vehicle replacement and repair costs into uncharted territory.”

Over the past year, the average overall satisfaction score fell six points, to 862 on a 1,000-point scale, the survey said. It found that six of nine large insurers and six of 11 midsize insurers saw their scores fall, but did not identify them.

“A perfect storm of record-high replacement costs, increased frequency and severity of collisions, and an economic outlook that suggests this situation won’t change anytime soon is forcing a major industry disruption,” Marty Ellingsworth, executive managing director of property/casualty insurance intelligence at J.D. Power, said in a statement.

For the first time in five years, J.D. Power said, consumers were more satisfied buying their polices through a direct agent than digitally. Direct sales channels, which include apps and websites, saw a sharp decline after several years of rising satisfaction, falling 17 points to 860. Meanwhile, the exclusive agent channel was at 866 points, though the survey did not say if that number reflected a change. The independent agent channel finished third, despite a climb to 854 from 848 a year ago.

Among large carriers, State Farm ranked first in pricing satisfaction, scoring 885 against a segment average of 863. Among midsize carriers, The Hartford, Erie Insurance and Amica Mutual took the top three spots, with rankings of 889, 878 and 874. The segment average is 855.

A copy of the full report was not made available.

J.D. Power’s Auto Insurance Loyalty Indicator and Shopping Trends report showed that recent rate increases in March and April of 2022 are pushing shopping rates back to historical levels, although they remain lower than they were a year ago.

The primary drivers for shopping for retained and switched shoppers are proactive price checking, 51%, and rate increases, 35%. Rate increase of 11% or more were cited by 64% of those shopping for a new policy.

“Longer term, this may be the catalyst to significant adoption of usage-based insurance, which may be the only way insurers can navigate the financial realities while still managing to engage with customers and build loyalty by meeting their specific needs,” Ellingsworth said.

A TransUnion survey released earlier this month found that 40% of consumers surveyed had been offered a telematics policy, up from 32% from the most recent survey in November, and that the percentage of those who had opted in had risen from 49% to 65%.

TransUnion attributed the increase in opt-ins to consumers seeking lower premiums in response to rising insurance rates, which have gone up 4.3% on average, as well as higher prices in general.

The J.D. Power U.S. Insurance Shopping Study is based on responses from 10,804 insurance customers who requested an auto insurance price quote from at least one competitive insurer in the previous nine months. The study was fielded from March 2021 through January 2022.


Featured image by Tero Vesalainen/iStock

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