The property/casualty insurance industry earned high consumer marks over its collective response to Hurricanes Florence and Michael, according to a new J.D. Power survey.

Approximately 87 percent of customers said their insurer either met or exceeded expectations in terms of hurricane responses. Diving deeper, 30 percent gave their insurer a “perfect 10” score, and just 2 percent slapped their carriers with the lowest score possible, J.D. Power said.

“When consumers enter into an agreement with an insurance company, they are essentially buying a promise,” Tom Super, director of J.D. Power’s insurance practice, said in prepared remarks. “When hurricanes such as Florence and Michael occur, it shines a light on those companies that are able to deliver on that commitment at a great scale—and those that miss the mark.”

Some twists came out of the survey responses. One interesting one: Higher customer satisfaction with direct insurers versus agency-led carriers. About 64 percent of direct-to-consumer policyholders said they had their claim fully covered, where just 54 percent of agency-led carriers said the same. Consumers with direct insurers had higher satisfaction levels than with their agency-led carrier counterparts. Lower favorability was just 9 percent for direct insurers, but that number hovered close to 14 percent for carriers with local agents.

One possible reason why: J.D. Power found that direct carriers reported a higher percentage of claims under $10,000 (at 38 percent of claims) and also had a higher percentage of auto-only claims. Claims under $10,000 were about 29 percent of the total for agency-led carriers.

Other survey highlights:

  • 90 percent of customers said they were contacted by their insurer in some way to offer assistance after the hurricane hit. About 63 percent said they were contacted by phone while 44 percent received an email. Approximately 8 percent said their insurer sent a text message, and just under 30 percent were contacted in person.
  • Just under 90 percent of consumers said their claim was either fully or partially covered. About 5 percent said their claim was unresolved, and 4 percent reported their claim was denied (2 percent said they were not sure). Of consumers who had their claims denied, 65 percent felt their insurer didn’t do enough to inform them of their coverage options before the hurricane struck.
  • Many customers saw their insurers do more than just handle claims. Just under 50 percent said they saw their insurer offer food, water, shelter and other services. About 62 percent of consumers saw their own insurer or another insurer offer non-insurance assistance, but 30 percent said they did not see insurers offer any community support.
  • Younger customers scored their insurers a bit higher than older customers, which J.D. Power surmised was due to “less complex insurance needs.”

J.D. Power conducted the survey with affected home and auto policyholders who submitted a claim after Hurricanes Florence and Michael. The period of the survey was from Oct. 19 through Nov. 2, 2018, and more than 650 people responded from states including North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia.

The full report is titled “J.D. Power Pulse Survey: Insurance industry Performance in the Wake of Hurricanes Florence and Michael.”

Source: J.D. Power