U.S. auto insurance consumers are quite happy about their coverage, and a growing shift to direct-to-consumer models has driven much of their good feelings, J.D. Power said in a new report.

Overall customer satisfaction with their carriers grew higher in 2019. J.D. Power said that the average is at a record-high level of 831 out of 1,000 points. Out of that number, the highest overall satisfaction came from the 23 percent of customers who use direct distribution models.

“Auto insurance customers have more access, control and visibility into the details of their policies, and that is translating into record-high levels of customer satisfaction,” Robert Lajdziak, senior consultant for Insurance Intelligence at J.D. Power, said in prepared remarks. “As customers take greater control of their auto policies, it’s also becoming more important for insurers to offer superior digital experiences and easy access to account management features such as bill pay, policy information and an integrated experience for customers who bundle multiple policies.”

J.D. Power found that satisfaction levels were much higher, for example, when auto insurance customers bundled their auto policy with other coverage such as home and life insurance (837) than without bundling (812). Bundling helped boost overall satisfaction scores, advocacy rates and likelihood-to-renew levels, but J.D. Power argued that insurers haven’t done well at making bundling easier.

Other study findings:

  • Customer reliance on agents has declined by 33 percent over the last 20 years.
  • About one-fifth, or 17 percent of customers with an agent, said they haven’t met their agent face-to-face or on the phone.
  • Auto insurance premiums were generally flat in 2019, which J.D. Power said helped customer satisfaction. The study noted that customer retention starts to become adversely affected by a $100 price increase, but the threshold for customers to shop for another carrier starts at around $50.
  • In 2019, 72 percent of customers said they’d switch insurers for any level of financial savings, down from 87 percent in 2010, just after the Great Recession.
  • Esurance ranked highest in terms of customer satisfaction, scoring 847 out of 1,000, and Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group came in second with 834. Amerprise, California’s Wawanesa and GEICO grabbed the third, fourth and fifth slots, respectively.

The report – J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Auto Insurance Study – looked at five factors affecting customer satisfaction: interaction, policy offerings, price, billing process and policy information. J.D. Power compiled the study based on responses from 42,759 auto insurance customers from February through April 2019.

Source: J.D. Power