August 23, 2013

Overall claimant satisfaction with the handling of Superstorm Sandy property claims has declined "substantially" on J.D. Power & Associates' 1,000-point scale, the customer research firm reported today with the release of its 2014 Property Claims Satisfaction Survey -- Wave 1.

The survey of 2,517 homeowners saw satisfaction with Sandy-releated claims drop 20 points compared with a previous study, the company says. However, overall satisfaction with all property claims during the current wave of the study remains stable at 832.

"Since we wait until the conclusion of each claim to survey the customer, the complexity of the Superstorm Sandy claims in this wave has increased from the last reporting period," said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power, in a statement. Initially, "Property claims related to Superstorm Sandy were primarily for items damaged in the yard, and the settlement process was expedient. The current wave study findings include more complex Superstorm Sandy property claims being processed for the structure of the home."

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The study measures satisfaction with the claims experience among insurance customers who filed a claim for damages covered under their homeowners policy by examining: settlement; first notice of loss; estimation process; service interaction; and repair process. The average settlement amount increased to $10,205 from $5,517 in the previous period. An increase in the number of claims related to damage to the exterior of the house (71% vs. 65%) contributes to the higher settlement figures, J.D. Power says.

Last year, Lincoln, R.I.-based Amica Mutual took the top spot among individual insurers in property claims satisfaction, according to J.D. Power research. Individual insurers' performance was not included in this version of the study.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, ...