Overall customer satisfaction with homeowners insurance claims fell to a five-year low, according to a new study by J.D. Power, as nearly every insurer’s scores were dragged down by slower cycle times, more complicated claims processes and communications challenges.

Amica Mutual and The Hartford tied for the top ranking in J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Property Claims Satisfaction Study, with both earning a score of 886 (on a 1,000-point scale). Farmers was next with a score of 884, followed by Erie Insurance (882) and Nationwide (878) to round out the top five. At the other end of the scale were CSAA Insurance Group (AAA) with a score of 845, followed by AIG (844) and last-ranked Safeco (841).

USAA would have topped the ranking with a score of 893, but it was not included in the rankings because it sells only to military families.

The industry average was 871, down from 883 in 2021. On average, it took 17.8 days for claimants to have their repairs completed this year, up 2.9 days from a year ago.

Email overtook phone calls as the most frequently used communication method between insurer and insured, and mobile app usage is up 19 percentage points from a year ago. Customers who used digital tools throughout the claim process (first notice of loss, submitting photos for the estimate) saw their repairs get started nine days sooner, and overall satisfaction scores among such customers is 33 points higher than among customers who used no digital tools. However, J.D. Power found that satisfaction scores are 47 points lower when customers submit photos but still need to arrange for an in-person inspection.

“Insurers really struggled last year, partly due to circumstances beyond their control,” said Mark Garrett, director, insurance intelligence at J.D. Power. “Longer cycle times, material shortages and personnel availability put added pressure on insurers to keep customers informed and expectations managed. Digital tools were a pivotal part of the process as customers increasingly turned to digital channels by submitting photos to assist in the estimation process and were far more willing to use the tools for status updates. Unfortunately, these digital tools are not always meeting expectations, resulting in support staff needing to get involved. That disconnect creates a major drag on customer satisfaction.”

The study is based on responses from 5,724 homeowner insurance customers who filed a claim within the previous nine months. The study was fielded from April through December 2021.