Where Do the Insurers Rank? WMABA’s 2024 Shops Rate Insurers Survey Results!

by Chasidy Rae Sisk

When collision repair professionals come together to discuss the challenges they face every day in their shops, “dealing with insurers” is certainly a regular topic.

Not all insurance companies are created equal, and knowing more about insurer marketplace conduct can help shops better navigate their own relationships and possibly assist in conversations with customers about the specific issues that may arise with their carrier. 

As part of its ongoing efforts to create and provide consumer-driven resources, tools and information to help the collision repair industry at-large, WMABA launched its third bi-annual Shops Rate Insurers Survey earlier this year in an effort to understand how claims are being handled in the Mid-Atlantic region. 

“The Survey is intended to be an informational resource, anecdotal results a shop can review or share with their customers,” explains WMABA Executive Director Jordan Hendler. “We surveyed our entire membership region, and while this survey doesn’t get the participation we want for it to be statistically valid, we believe this is useful to get people thinking and to start a conversation.”

WMABA debuted its Shops Rate Insurers Survey in December 2018 with another in 2022, and comparing results from the second iteration of the survey offered an opportunity to examine emerging trends among insurers. Analyzing responses for the third time provides insight into insurer practices, which can only become clearer over time as shops review what changes and what remains the same each time the survey is distributed. (Results from the 2022 Survey can be found in the May 2022 issue of Hammer & Dolly, available at bit.ly/SRI-22, and 2018 results can be found in the May 2019 edition, available at bit.ly/SRI-19)

Using a score of 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest, survey participants were asked to anonymously rate the behavior of 22 insurance companies in several categories: shop relations/claims handling, customer experience, insurer knowledge base, overall fairness and insurer payment for proper procedures. 

For the third time in a row, Erie Auto Insurance ranked first among the 22 insurers with a combined score of 21.09 out of 25, while Amica once again came in second with a combined score of 15.5. Erie consistently ranks first in all survey categories, while Amica maintained the second-place position it earned last time around in all categories except claims handling. Here, Nationwide proved they really are “on your side” by snagging the number two spot; this seems to indicate a positive trend for the insurer that took third place in every other category in addition to scoring the bronze medal overall, showing significant improvement from its 12th place ranking in 2019 and fifth place in 2022.

Consistency was also evident in the insurers that received shops’ lowest scores this year, with Allstate again ranking 22nd with a score of 9.59 (actually an improvement from its previous score of 9.37), while Liberty Mutual came in 21st, just like in 2022, with an overall score of 9.76. They were ranked the bottom two in claims handling, customer experience and overall fairness, though Country Financial and MAPFRE bumped them out of the worst place prize for insurer knowledge. MAPFRE also edged them out as “the worst” when it comes to payment for proper procedures. So, it’s no surprise that MAPFRE’s score of 10.42 caused the insurer to slip 13 spots, from seventh last year to 20th, showing the largest decrease (3.43) in overall score among all insurers.

On the opposing side, Berkshire Hathaway (GEICO) jumped the most, moving from the 18th position all the way to the eighth, and increasing their score by 2.11. The only other insurers to improve their overall scores since the 2022 survey were State Farm, Auto-Owners Insurance Group and The Hartford, with increases of 1.25, 0.6 and 0.49 respectively. In fact, 15 of the 22 rated insurers saw decreases in their overall scores, but while Progressive’s score of 11.93 remained stagnant, the negative changes to other companies allowed them to “Flo” from the 15th to the 11th position.

A glance at the categories individually revealed some interesting data points as well. While the best and the worst insurers remain fairly consistent throughout all questions asked, there’s a lot more variance among those ranked in the middle of the field, largely driven by those with the biggest fluctuations in their overall scores.

When it comes to claims handling, GEICO’s score of 2.88 ranked them eighth in 2024, compared to 18th in 2022, while MetLife’s claims handling practices degraded, taking them from seventh place in 2019 and 2022 down to 16th this year. GEICO was joined by Auto-Owners Insurance Group in moving up nine spots in the customer experience rating, while MAPFRE dropped nine positions from number eight to 17. GEICO also enjoyed the most improvement in insurer knowledge (eight spots), overall fairness (10 spots) and payment for proper procedures (moving from 19th to eighth). MAPFRE fell 17 spots in the insurer knowledge category, 14 in overall fairness and 16 in payment for proper procedures.

The data collected in the Shops Rate Insurers Surveys provides a good resource for consumers seeking more knowledge about these carriers and their practices, and survey results are an effective tool for starting conversations with customers who can also use the information to help them in the policy-buying process. WMABA anticipates that the information collected on nearly two dozen carriers will also be beneficial when approaching consumer protection agencies regarding inappropriate insurer behaviors in the future. 

By identifying the specific market tactics individual insurers use in their market, WMABA plans to use the information to demonstrate the repair industry’s perceptions about those practices to carriers and intends to engage in meaningful dialogue that will hopefully improve shops’ relationships with local carriers.

Want more? Check out the May 2024 issue of Hammer & Dolly!