Customer Satisfaction Relating to Insurance Claims
Using a Local Agent
J.D. Power and Associates recently released their 2013 Property Claims Satisfaction Study that displayed customer satisfaction was much higher for those who completed their claims through an insurance agent. Overall, customers who used the agent thought the customer experience was more pleasurable than those who filed their claims directly.
The 2013 Property Claims Satisfaction Study found that around 80% of the customers who filed using insurance agents were satisfied with their service. This compares to about 65% customer satisfaction for those who used the direct filing option.
J.D. Power and Associates studies from the previous two years implicate that the percentage of customers satisfied with their experience of using an agent is on the rise. The previous years displayed agent satisfaction percentages around 75%.
According to the study, this year’s customer satisfaction of insurance agents is at a record high as each of the previous years was. However, the results of this study come at a time when insurance agencies are seeing another record being set with an increased rate of those who are filing directly. In 2012, about 55% of those who filed home insurance claims did so though the direction option. This compares to the 2013 percentage of about 65% filing though the direct method.
The rising number of those who prefer to use a home insurance claims agent can be directly tied to the rising number of direct claims. As more and more people file directly, a lapse in insurance claim response quality is more evident. Those who are using the call centers, or the direct method, are finding that there is less customer-company interaction.
A lack of personal relationship is particularly evident when customers use the call centers. Many of those who file home insurance claims are doing so after some great loss of personal belongings. Those who use insurance agents are more able to develop a personal connection when undergoing the filing process. These agents provide a stable connection that fosters a healthy environment for families after they have lost something of great value to them. For example, if a family has lost their entire house and all of their belongings due to a horrific natural event, they could become extremely frustrating if a call center representative did not express true sentiment towards their situation. Furthermore, that family might have a difficult time getting all of their questions answered immediately if they run into sporadic problems. An agent will provide a constant person who knows the family and is able to offer immediate service tailored to the family’s needs. This could be of particular use for any future claims, which allows even greater continuity.
Another reason that it could benefit a homeowner to file through an agent is that the agent is more local than a direct filing representative. A local agent is going to better understand the potential risks a family has to their home. Furthermore, local agents are better able to relate to their customers on a personal basis, which provides a more favorable experience. Local agents will also be more equipped when it comes to understanding local laws that regulate home insurance claims and policies. For example, if there is a specific law that pertains to a particular state, a local agent will more readily be able to access that information or already be aware of it. Ultimately, having an insurance agent that is both knowledgeable and personal to the customer can save the customer money in the long run.
However, it is important to note that many call centers are perfectly capable to get claimants the things that they need. Many insurance agencies are beginning to ensure that they maintain professionally trained representatives in their call centers that can achieve higher percentages of satisfied customers than the less direct route.