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Nathan Golia
Nathan Golia
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Whose Homeowners Claims Experience Rules the Day?

Despite heavy storm losses last year, property claims customer satisfaction increased, according to J.D. Power & Associates, which ranked 19 insurers on satisfaction.

The claims experience is in the news like never before as insurers focus on customer retention in the face of increased catastrophe events. So many investments have been made in this area since Hurricane Katrina that Ernst & Young suggested recently that there isn't much room to compete on it.

J.D. Power & Associates, however, takes another view. In announcing the results of its 2012 U.S. Property Claims Satisfaction Study, Jeremy Bowler, senior director of its insurance practice, said in a statement that "the way in which carriers ramp up for a major natural catastrophe can have a major impact on customer satisfaction … Having a plan in place to handle the increased volume of claims helps carriers, but so does having time to prepare for an oncoming storm. There usually is some advance warning for a hurricane, so carriers have a few days to prepare and be proactive with their customers. However, since there is little warning for tornado or hail storms, carriers are forced to react in trying to manage claims associated with this type of storm damage."

J.D. Power examined claim settlement; first notice of loss; estimation process, service interaction and repair process practices in the study, ranking 19 carriers on a 1,000-point scale. The winner was Amica Mutual, with a total score of 894.

Or was it? USAA came in with a total score of 895 — but was excluded from the rankings because of its narrow audience.

Regardless of who the "true winner" is, insurers can take solace in the fact that only five out of 19 came in below the industry average score of 833. And in second (or third) was Auto-Owners Insurance, whose CIO Bob Buchanan recently told us how its selection of Guidewire aims to improve that experience and maybe its score of 873.

For more tips on how to handle catastrophes and improve the claims experience, check out our latest digital issue.]

Rounding out the top five: Nationwide, 872; Erie Insurance, 864; and Chubb, 859. The lowest-ranked carrier was The Hanover, with 812.

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, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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