Insurance customers' sense of satisfaction with the claims experience has dropped for the first time in the past three calendar quarters, a new survey suggests.
In its most recent U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, J.D. Power and Associates reports that claimants' contentment with the auto insurance claims process fell 13 points in the first three months of the year to 842. That's the lowest satisfaction reading since the second quarter of 2011.
Among the biggest drivers of deteriorating satisfaction levels was claimants' first notice of loss, or when the customer first apprises their insurer of damage to their vehicle. Other factors were service interaction, appraisal and the repair process.
Jeremy Bowler, senior director of J.D. Power and Associates' insurance practice, said insurance customers' tendency to put off when they make a claim has influenced sentiment.
"Forty-seven percent of claimants delayed dropping off their vehicle at the body shop to wait for a more convenient time, and 20 percent indicated waiting for weekends or holidays," said Bowler. "However, these customers tend to also have lower satisfaction as a result of having to wait an extra day and a half, on average, to get their vehicle to the shop compared to results from the prior quarter.
He added that it may be a good idea for insurance agents to try and manage expectations so policyholders have a better idea of what to expect before making a claim.