Auto insurers should give themselves a pat on the back – satisfaction among policy holders has grown across Canada for the first time in five years.
The ninth annual J.D. Power Canadian Auto Insurance Study finds overall satisfaction with auto insurance ranks at 758 in 2016, up from 750 in 2015. The ranking, which is graded out of 1,000, is measured across five factors: insurers’ non-claims interaction, price, policy offerings, billing and payment, and claims.
Clients are most satisfied with how their insurers are handling claims, with the scale rising 19 points in that area. Surprisingly, price accounted for only a three-point increase, suggesting improved customer service may pull more weight with clients than discounts.
“Streamlining processes and improving digital self-service has been a core focus for many insurers as they look to improve the customer experience, and they are starting to see some return on that investment,” stated Valerie Monet, director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power.
The study points to Ontario’s rate reduction strategy, which stated a goal of cutting premiums by an average of 15% by August 2015, as an example. While the reduction has been highly publicized, not all clients received lower premiums; 21% have actually seen an increase this year in the province, up from 20% in 2015. However, Ontario clients posted the greatest gains in overall satisfaction.
“Rate reductions rarely affect every customer equally, with lower-risk customers, who typically have lower rates to start with, frequently being the first, and sometimes only, customers to see an actual price decrease,” said Monet. “Improvements in process and customer service benefit everyone and drive the overall improvements noted in Ontario.”
The ability to access policy information online is a growing metric, with 29% of customers nationally saying they are able to do so, up from 26% last year.
J.D. Power also finds a strong correlation between retention and loyalty; 77% of “delighted” customers (with a score of 900 or higher) said they would “definitely” stay with their insurer, and 73% said they would “definitely” refer them to others.
The study also ranks the satisfaction levels of individual insurers in each market – The Cooperators received the top spot in the Alberta, Atlantic and Ontario regions, while The Personal won out in Quebec.