Agents still matter to insureds in the auto claimant process
Customers who begin the auto claim process with an agent have the highest overall customer satisfaction says the latest study from J.D. Powers. The global market research company’s annual study found that the plethora of communication options now available to customers during the claims process has helped drive up satisfaction, particularly with Generation Y.
Options such as email, online chat as well as telephone now available as a way to navigate the claims process has improved the overall process. In particular, the study finds:
- The use of technology to check the status of a claim has increased year over year by 5 percentage points to 42% of claimants.
- Email and online updates have each increased by 2 percentage points from last year to 27% and 17%, respectively.
Ultimately, however, the technology is most helpful in getting an update on a claim rather than as a way to file one.
“While technology offers a customer more options, what we find is that even when customers file a digital claim they still want to talk with someone to get an explanation of the process, what to expect along the claims pathway and the timing,” said Garrett. “Even the younger generations, which are most comfortable using digital channels, still want to talk with someone. We see the biggest gains in satisfaction when technology is used as a complementary channel for receiving status updates.”
The 2016 Auto Claims Satisfaction study collects responses from 12, 228 auto insurance customers who have settled a claim within the past six months. The data used in the 2016 Survey was collected from November 2015 through August 2016. The processes measure in the study include: first notice of loss; service interaction; appraisal; repair process; rental experience; and settlement. Total customer satisfaction is then calculated on a 1,000-point scale.
Gen Y is the focus of J.D. Power’s 2016 Auto Claims Satisfactions Study
This year’s study, which focused on Generation Y auto insurance claimants, saw a rise in overall customer satisfaction in this group. “Gen Y is a large and influential segment of the claims market, so it’s encouraging to see that insurance providers continue to focus on improving this generation’s satisfaction,” said Mark Garrett, director of insurance industry analytics at J.D. Power.
In fact, Gen Y is now the largest generational group of auto claimants in the country at 40%, up 17% from 33% in 2015. In second place is Gen X which continues to remain at 20%, while both the Baby Boomers and Pre-Boomers share continues to shrink.
Other key findings of the study
In addition to the overall customer satisfaction ratings, the 2016 Auto Claims Satisfaction study included these other key findings:
Changing Role of the Agent: While some insurance providers are reducing the agent’s role in the claims process, the study finds that 80% of customers who purchased their policy through a local agent still call their agent first to report or seek advice regarding a claim. Among customers who call their agent first, 64% say their agent reported their claim, while 20% are transferred by their agent to a call center and 16% are redirected. Overall customer satisfaction is 882 when the agent files the claim, but slips to 858 when the customer is transferred to a call center and falls even further to 824 when they are instructed to contact the call center.
Costs of a Claim: Among the two-thirds of customers who have renewed their auto insurance policy since filing a claim, 28% say their insurance premiums have increased.
Satisfaction Affects Customer Loyalty, Advocacy: Satisfaction with the claims experience affects customer retention and referrals. Among delighted claimants (overall satisfaction scores of 900 or higher), 84% say they “definitely will” renew their policy and 83% “definitely will” recommend their insurer. Among displeased claimants (scores of 549 and below), only 12% say they “definitely will” renew and 7% “definitely will” recommend their current insurer.