Few Look To Switch Auto Insurers, But Those Who Do Often Jump Ship

May 2, 2013

Back in January, J.D. Power & Associates released its 2013 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, which showed that most Americans are happy with their insurers, based on the way those companies handl the claims process. 

But what if we looked at customer satisfaction from a slightly different angle -- say, by the number of people shopping for insurance? Power's just-released 2013 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study shows that by that metric, too, Americans are generally happy campers, but when they're unhappy, they're really unhappy.

To gather results for that study, Power polled over 16,900 folks with auto insurance who'd requested quotes from competitors within the past 12 months. Among the findings, four stand out:

1. Customer satisfaction with insurers remains high: respondents gave their insurers an average score of 804 on a 1,000-point scale.

2. Satisfaction with the experience of purchasing insurance is even higher: 828 out of 1,000. However, this is the third year that the figure has remained flat.

3. Only 23% of people who currently have auto insurance have requested quotes from competitors within the past year.

4. However, among those who did eyeball the competition, a hefty 45% ditched their current insurer. That's the highest rate Power has recorded since it began tracking such stats in 2008.

Translation: most folks like their current insurance provider, but when their eye starts to wander, there's a good chance they'll jump ship.

J.D. Power's Jeremy Bowler suggests that when a customer is dissatisfied with her insurer, the problem can often be traced to pricing or communication hurdles. The former isn't surprising -- after all, who doesn't want a lower insurance rate? -- but the latter is a bit new.

Bowler says that unlike consumers in years past, many of today's shoppers would rather conduct all their business via a website or mobile app, without the hassle of contacting an agent: "Customers want a site that's easy to navigate, allows them to get a quote and even complete the purchase without having to speak with an agent or call center representative. If they're not able to get that from one insurer's website, they will quickly move to the next insurer's site." 

Does this fit your own thinking about auto insurance? Do you want your agent to be a good neighbor, or are would you rather discuss rates with a chatbot? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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