IRC Reports Satisfaction With Companies Despite Rising Premiums

December 12, 2002

According to a recent Insurance Research Council (IRC) survey of U.S. households, most Americans are satisfied with the companies that provide their personal insurance. More than nine out of 10 respondents with homeowners policies (93 percent) stated that they were satisfied with their homeowners insurers, while 86 percent of respondents with auto policies were satisfied with their auto insurers.

The study found that the percentage of satisfied consumers has declined somewhat since the last survey, which took place in 2000. Respondents’ satisfaction with the companies that provide their homeowners insurance dropped five percentage points since 2000 (from 97 percent to 93 percent), while satisfaction with auto insurers dropped ten percentage points (from 96 percent to 86 percent). However, current satisfaction is virtually identical to levels noted in 1995 (92 percent satisfied with homeowners insurers and 86 percent satisfied with auto insurers).

“These declines in satisfaction may be attributed, in part, to rate increases across nearly every line of personal property and liability insurance,” Elizabeth Sprinkel, senior vice president, who heads the IRC, said. “Rate increases have been triggered by declining profitability due to rising repair costs, falling investment income, the September 11 terrorist attacks, and other catastrophes. Despite these trends, however, consumer satisfaction with the insurance industry remains exceptionally strong,” Sprinkel said. “Improvements in technology, customer service, and product offerings have helped to offset the impact of rising costs on consumer satisfaction.”

Survey respondents also indicated that they were satisfied with how the insurance industry handled the needs of customers affected by the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Most respondents (61 percent) who recalled hearing about how insurers responded to the attacks believed that the industry had been responsive to the needs of its customers affected by this disaster.

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