The renewed efforts agents are putting on customer service after obtaining auto insurance leads appear to be paying off, as customer satisfaction in auto insurers is at an all-time high, a new poll points out.
According to J.D. Power and Associates' 2012 U.S. Auto Insurance Study, on a 1,000-point scale, customer satisfaction with auto insurance companies reached 804. That's 14 points ahead of where the level was in 2011 and the highest score recorded since the study was first conducted more than 12 years ago.
Satisfaction was determined through the analysis of several different indicators, including interaction with agents, price, policy offerings, billing and payments, as well as the claims process.
Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power, noted that while customer satisfaction with price remained where it was last year, all other indicators suggested consumers are more pleased with insurers.
"Auto insurance companies have made great strides in all other areas," said Bowler. "Specifically in the area of policy offerings, a number of insurance companies place an emphasis on product differentiation in their advertising and packaging of discounts and offerings."
While the poll found that consumers tended to be more sensitive when it came to prices, they were more willing to tolerate rate hikes if they were sufficiently satisfied. However, their willingness to accept higher premiums had its limits, as satisfaction levels were 735 when rates rose higher than $50. The average satisfaction score was 797, meanwhile, for increases of less than $50.
Bowler said that one way in which agents can reduce the effects of dissatisfaction prompted by price changes is by more effectively communicating to their clients when rates will rise so that they aren't blind-sided.
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