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CRASH Network: Smaller, regional insurers better for auto body shops, customers during claims

All images, information, and text courtesy of Written by John Huetter. Copyright 2017. All Rights Reserved)

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A CRASH Network survey of more than 1,200 collision repairers found the nation’s largest auto insurers lag far behind smaller and regional rivals when it comes to handling their customers’ claims.

As the publication noted, customers might compare insurers based solely on price and get into collisions so infrequently that they have no idea which insurer will truly have their back during the claims process — and which carriers are more likely to complicate or even promote inadequate repairs.

“Collision repairers interact with these companies every day,” CRASH Network owner and editor John Yoswick said in a statement. “We think their perspective on which companies do the best job taking care of policyholders – and which ones have some room for improvement – can be a valuable tool for drivers as they consider which insurer to choose.”

Of the nation’s Top 10 largest carriers, only USAA, Travelers and State Farm made it into the Top 50 graded insurers — but none of the trio placed higher than 41st (USAA), according to an Executive Summary. All three got a B-, and the national average was a lower B-.

This seems to bear out data from CRASH Network’s “Who Pays for What?” surveys that find USAA and State Farm the most willing of the Top 6 carriers to reimburse shops asking for various not-included operations — though such payments are not a given.

But forty other smaller or regional insurers are still a better bet for customers, based on the 2017 Insurer Report Card. The study received responses from 1,221 collision repairers in all 50 states, and each participant graded an average of 17 insurers active in their state out of what nationwide worked out to be 136 graded insurers. The study ended up listing 86 carriers.

GEICO, the No. 2 insurer in the country, was seen as the worst of the Top 10 in the 2017 Report Card, ranking 76th overall and earning a “C.”

A email to GEICO seeking comment early Thursday afternoon had not yet been returned.

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