Customer satisfaction with the auto claims process has apparently reached record levels, thanks in no small part to carrier investments in the technology that serves the process.

The 2019 J.D. Power U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study found that overall satisfaction climbed seven points since last year’s study to 868 out of a possible 1,000—a record high level. J.D. Power said that customers noticed improvement in every measure in the study, including first notice of loss, claim servicing, estimation process, repair process, rental experience and settlement.

As well, the time it takes from the first notice of loss to the return of the vehicle to the customer has dropped to an average 12.9 days compared to 13.5 days in 2018, J.D. Power said.

David Pieffer, vice president of J.D. Power Property & Casualty Insurance Intelligence, credits insurer investments in technology and processes for the gains.

“The investments made by insurers in claim digitization and internal process improvements are resulting in shorter cycle times and an improved overall claim experience,” Pieffer said in prepared remarks. ”

That said, Pieffer asserted that “there is still room for improvement, particularly in the area of helping claimants feel more at ease during the first notice of loss.” Respondents said that the P/C insurance industry meets the challenge of helping claimants feel at ease just 64 percent of the time on average. J.D. Power said that younger claimants are much less likely than older ones to say that they are at ease after initially reporting a claim.

Also worth noting: preference for digital status updates during the course of a claim grew by 6 percent over the past two years. But most claimants still prefer “proactive, non-digital status updates,” including calls from a repair facility, agent and insurer. These human touches boost claims servicing customer satisfaction much higher than the baseline factor score, J.D. Power said.

Amica Mutual ranked highest, with a customer satisfaction score of 898. Country Financial scored second with 896, and Erie Insurance ranked third at 879.

J.D. Power compiled its study based on responses from nearly 11,200 auto insurance customers who settled a claim within six months prior to the survey. Survey data was collected from November 2018 through September 2019.

Source: J.D. Power