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Executives at the insurance departments of both states spoke to Online Auto Insurance News (OAIN) about why there are higher-than-average costs in their parts of the nation.
An urban environment like Washington is unique, as it is “more akin to a city than a state,” according to Barlow. Densely-populated urban areas are magnets for “more congestion, more traffic and more chances for accidents,” according to Barlow. Washington’s average premium is barely above New Jersey, which had the third-highest premium figure at $1,276.
The Garden State, though bigger in size than the nation’s capital, also sees population density coming into play with auto insurance costs, according to Marshall McKnight, spokesman for the Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI). According to McKnight, many people who purchase New Jersey car insurance end up buying these coverages.
The NAIC statistics only reflect costs for liability, comprehensive and collision coverage. In New Jersey, PIP coverage is available at $250,000 limits, a choice that 3 out of every 4 policyholders purchased in 2011, according to McKnight, who added that such high limits have run up costs when combined with loose regulation of no-fault coverage. New Jersey has thousands of “procedural codes” governing PIP compensation for certain medical services, and the recent addition of more codes that go into effect early next month should bolster regulation of no-fault coverage in the state, according to McKnight. According to a 2011 report from the Insurance Information Institute (III) on no-fault systems across the nation, our nation’s capital has the seventh-highest no-fault claim size, averaging $5,395 per no-fault claim.
In that listing, New Jersey has the second-highest average no-fault claim size, at $16,331.
Filings made public by the California Department of Insurance show at least eight car insurers in the state are asking for rate increases, with two of the requests already approved. The biggest average percentage increase in rates belongs to Access General, which has requested an 11 percent increase that would impact almost 350,000 customers. Unigard’s 6.9 percent increase has already been approved and has been impacting 19,171 customers since March. Commerce West’s hike affects its Stonewood Valu Program, and the size of the overall increase is largely due to a requested 19.7 percent hike in property damage coverage. Integon Preferred requested a total 6.9 percent change to rates that would affect 17,145 customers. Metropolitan Direct Property and Casualty is asking for a 5.2 percent jump in rates that would impact 84,264 customers and go into effect Aug.
Hillstar’s requested 4.6 percent increase to rates would go into effect May 20 for all policies in its Choice rating plan that gives discounts to policyholders with good driving records.
Grange has asked to hike rates by an average of 6.5 percent for 8,683 customers that would be effective July 15.
Consumers can use websites of state regulators like the California Department of Insurance to research the latest filings of rate changes so they can make an informed car insurance comparison between insurers. The latest batch of filings from Pennsylvania regulators, consisting mostly of hikes to insurance prices, means that consumers retrieving an auto insurance quote online could see a handful of new, higher rates. Two companies under the Progressive banner will be increasing insurance rates, both by 6.8 percent overall.
Horace Mann and subsidiaries Horace Mann Property and Casualty and Teachers Insurance Company will all be implementing rate increases that will go into effect for all policyholders on Oct. Horace Mann Property and Casualty raised overall rates by 5 percent for about 11,300 policyholders, amounting to a $33.44 average increase for each. At Teachers, rates will be hiked by 2 percent overall, amounting to an average $12.82 increase for about 5,370 customers. Integon Indemnity reported the second-highest overall rate increase out of the filings, at 7.3 percent. Out of this latest batch of filings, Metropolitan Casualty also reported a relatively large average increase for each policyholder. GEICO Casualty has decreased overall rates for 13,480 policyholders by 2 percent, amounting to an average decrease of $37.79 per policyholder. John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. The latest edition of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) monthly report on price trends shows that the average price of motor vehicle insurance was a mere 0.1 percent higher in June when compared with May. The new Consumer Price Index (CPI) data indicate that June 2011 car insurance policy costs were 3.8 percent higher than in June 2010. The BLS publishes monthly CPI updates meant to track and give data on changes in inflation and the cost of consumer goods in America over time.
Policy-price data compiled in the CPI is collected from a sample of insurers in 87 pricing areas.
Auto insurance policyholders at USAA are more “delighted” than other insurers’ customers and are so satisfied with the coverage provider that 4 out of 5 of them would recommend the company to friends and family, according to a survey of tens of thousands of auto insurance consumers.
Market Force Information (MFI), which produced the survey, ranked auto insurers in a “Delight Index” that the global consumer consultancy firm described as an “intersection of overall satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending” an auto insurer to others. Amica, Erie, The Hartford, State Farm and AAA also nabbed high scores in the Delight Index. The Texas-based insurer, which provides policies to members of the military and their families, has a reputation for “delivering exceptional service,” MFI said in a statement. USAA performed well when its auto policyholders were asked about loyalty and satisfaction because they were happy with the provider’s price, stability and online services.
The MFI report was generated from an August survey of more than 21,000 auto insurance consumers in North America. Most consumers (59 percent) cited price as a reason for choosing their primary auto insurer, according to the survey.
However, the survey also showed that insurers have some price flexibility if their customers are committed to them. Insurers can bank on other, less-obvious attributes to reel in customers, according to MFI.
Nearly 3 out of every 10 of those surveyed said that they are drawn to insurers that offer bundled coverage with “complete service” on those policies; availability of consolidated coverage was the second-most-cited feature that consumers said was their reason to choose an auto insurer. USAA led in that category, with half of its customers citing the insurer’s financial stability as the reason they bought coverage there, followed by State Farm and AAA at 36 percent and 33 percent, respectively.

Although price is the most-common driver in consumer choice, MFI found that there are many ways insurers can sway consumers —  and it’s a large pool of consumers. Only 14 percent of those surveyed said they will definitely not be switching carriers in the next year, leaving a lot for insurers to fight over.
Twenty-five percent of respondents said that they “considered switching” from auto insurer in the past year, with 12 percent of them actually doing so. MFI’s survey delved further into customer retention, finding that the highly-satisfied customer base at USAA was also the least likely to consider switching to another company, at 10 percent saying so.
Nearly a quarter of claimants gave service a rating of 4 out of 5, according to Eden-Harris, though 12 percent rated their claims experience at 3 or less. Those unhappy claimants “are definitely at high risk for defecting,” Eden-Harris told OAIN.
According to the survey, recommendations from a friend or relative played into their decision 24 percent of the time. Satisfaction and likelihood of recommendation are “highly correlated” and give insurers more reason to keep their customers happy, according to Eden-Harris. Nearly 4 out of every 5 of USAA policyholders surveyed said they would “happily recommend” the carrier to a friend or colleague, the highest percentage of any insurer. USAA also led the pack among insurers that were most recommended, with 43 percent of policyholders saying they ended up with the company on recommendations from friends and family; Erie followed with 40 percent and Amica at 38 percent.
The heavy role that recommendations play in where policyholders decide to buy an auto insurance policy shows just how hyper-connected the world of business is, according to Eden-Harris. Eden-Harris described the common process of today’s consumers, who can get quotes for auto insurance at competitive prices, see how consumers view a particular carrier and obtain industry reports. Other variables like advertising and online services frame the competitive world that car insurers inhabit.
The billions spent throughout the industry on advertising can mean more public exposure for an insurer, but it also means that an insurer can lose customers to another big spender. GEICO outspent all other auto insurers in a report released this year on marketing expenditures.
Progressive, Allstate and State Farm all tied for the second-highest loss rates, at 11 percent each.
The MFI found that online service is another way an insurer can impress consumers who might not be happy with other aspects of that insurer’s business. And although the survey found that a chunk of Esurance customers considered taking business elsewhere in the last year, the direct-to-consumer insurer outperformed others in “easy online services to manage profile and account,” followed by GEICO and USAA.
To find out how policyholders rank USAA on claims, rates and service, readers can research user-submitted USAA auto insurance reviews online. The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) says in a new study that it can explain why auto insurance rates have risen some 43 percent across the country in the past 25 years: loose regulations on how insurers price policies. While the cost findings aren’t new—Online Auto Insurance News (OAIN) reported on a similar study back in June—CFA’s conclusions in the new study are clear cut. According to the report, California was the only state to see a decline in the average expenditure on auto insurance between 1989 and 2010. According to a previous CFA study, California saw a decrease in auto rates of 0.3 percent over a 25-year period. Insurance companies are able to maintain profitability even in states that have greater regulatory oversight.
Limiting the costs passed down to policyholders, including “excessive salaries” for insurance employees. Eliminating other rating factors such as education, occupation and prior insurance coverage.
All of those regulations were implemented in California after the passage of Proposition 103.
Shortly after the study was released, the insurance industry responded with their own analysis of why prices in California remain lower than the national average. The Insurance Information Institute (III) cited state Supreme Court rulings, safety advances such as air bags, along with other state auto insurance rules as reasons for the stabilization of rates in California. Meanwhile, the III disputed the CFA findings of significant rate increases in the auto insurance market.
The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) also criticized the report, citing tort reform, fraud fighting and tough DUI laws as drivers of lower auto insurance rates.
CFA’s Hunter, who helped draft California’s Proposition 103, dismissed those arguments to OAIN.
The annual number of insurance claims that coverage providers flag as having possible elements of fraud has been on the rise in California in recent years, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
Growth in the number of referred claims that were auto-related outpaced the growth in questionable claims reports overall. Areas with the largest questionable-claim counts in the state in 2010 were Los Angeles and San Francisco. According to the NICB, 20 percent of the questionable claims reported across the country originate in California. The NICB is a not-for-profit organization that is funded by member insurance companies and investigates claims that members identify as having possible elements of fraud. CoverHound has raised $33.3 million in a financing round led by ACE Group, which the company plans to use to build an online commercial insurance platform starting with businessowners policy insurance offerings that could be available next year. San Francisco, Calif.-based CoverHound announced its Series C financing round today, just months after announcing its Series B round. The investment gives ACE a roughly 24 percent stake in the tech company and representation on its board, according to CoverHound CEO Keith Moore. The C round of financing also includes CoverHound’s existing investors RRE Ventures, Blumberg Capital, Core Innovation Capital, Route 66 Ventures, and American Family Ventures, the venture capital arm of American Family Insurance.
CoverHound partnered with Google in March on its Google Compare online auto insurance shopping web portal, a step Moore credits with giving the company the inspiration to forge into online commercial insurance distribution. CoverHound’s partnership on Google Compare has so far produced a big crop of high net worth business, Moore said. A lot of that has to do with CoverHound’s carrier partners on Google Compare, which include ACE, The Chubb Corp.

Jeffrey Zack, ACE’s vice president of global media relations and financial communications, declined to offer details about the investment.
Moore said roughly 20 percent of CoverHound’s business on Google Compare is from the high net worth segment buying pricey insurance policies for expensive vehicles.
He believes access to the high net worth segment gives CoverHound a foothold into commercial insurance because a large portion of that consumer base are likely business owners or decision makers. Beyond those lines Moore foresees offerings for startups and businesses in the incubation phase, which typically only seek coverage under a BOP policy. Startups are prime targets for online insurance because they run lean and therefore do as much as possible on the Internet, where there’s typically low overhead, he said.
CoverHound’s interest in providing insurance for startups stems from its membership in New York-based AngelPad, an incubator launched in 2010 by a group of former Google employees. Moore believes his firm’s involvement with AngelPad gives CoverHound an inside track with its other startups in the incubation phase. Analyst Cliff Gallant, managing director at Nomura Securities, who follows ACE and other large carriers, wasn’t surprised by the investment from the carrier, which he said is generally conservative in its investments.
ACE Group Vice Chair John Lupica said during an interview in August with Carrier Management that his company’s most successful innovation is an online insurance program management platform first launched five years ago, known as ACE Worldview. Not everyone thinks what CoverHound is doing with commercial insurance will prove successful. Moore said much of the software and personnel infrastructure is already in place to quote and sell commercial policies. He said CoverHound is also working in partnership with a large personal finance website as part of its online distribution expansion that Moore believes will bring more commercial customers into the fold. Innovative new digital products: As CoverHound insurance product offerings continue to evolve, expansion into small business and commercial insurance is an ideal growth opportunity for the company.
Expanding insurance carrier options: After recently extending its carrier offerings to include The General, MetLife, Mapfre, Century National, and Stillwater, new insurance carriers will continue to be added to the platform to increase consumer choice.
Expanding marketing partnerships: After launching its partnership with Google Compare in March, CoverHound continues to expand this partnership into new states, and will add more high profile marketing partnerships in the months ahead to continue to reach targeted insurance shoppers. We are beginning to see the bad Yelp reviews of the Google Compare Shopping Site on the Web that partnered with Coverhound here in California. Quote of NoteHiring a veteran is the perfect way to assist with perpetuation problems many agencies face today. 1 for average expenditure, a metric that measures how much residents of a state actually ended up spending on policies. And more of them have more valuable collision coverage and comprehensive coverage,” he said. That’s because many residents of New Jersey and Washington buy personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, a type of coverage in which an insurer compensates its own policyholder for crash-related losses no matter who was at fault. The insurer requests that the new rates go into effect May 28 for new policies and June 30 for renewing policies. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News. The CPI data referenced here to compare auto insurance prices are representative of coverage costs for an estimated 87 percent of the U.S. Premium levels are determined by looking at a sample of 768 individual private passenger policies or quotes.
Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.
But it was USAA that outperformed competitors in the chief index while making a strong showing across the board.
Power and Associates survey on car insurance consumers’ shopping habits that was released in April. Nearly 1 out of every 5 respondents cited easy online service as an important factor when picking their car insurer, according to the Eden-Harris. The report lays the increase in auto rates squarely on how insurance is regulated, with a glowing review of California’s regulatory infrastructure and insurance marketplace by the CFA.
That state passed Proposition 103 in 1988, which limited the factors insurance companies could use to set rates, among other regulations. The study released this week gave credit to the reforms implemented by the passage of Proposition 103. Studying rates over a 10-year span, the III’s president Robert Hartwig stated that rates have increased only 4.2 percent over that time. They show that total number of claims referred to the NICB because of the appearance of fraud rose 9.4 percent between 2008 and 2010.
The number of questionable California auto insurance claims increased from 9,605 in 2008 to 11,317 in 2010 — an 18 percent jump. A CoverHound spokeswoman said via email that the company does not key in consumer requests for carriers or for agents and it never sells consumer data.
This measurement is influenced by how many drivers in the state end up buying optional comprehensive and collision coverage. Horace Mann’s 1.7 percent increase overall means about a $14 average increase for each of the 5,370 policyholders affected. 6 for both new and renewing policyholders but will only impact upwards of about 1,250 of them. All are major players in high net worth insurance, and may be an even more imposing presence combined. Changes reflect fluctuations in insurers’ premium-calculation formulas, as well as increases in state-mandated minimums for coverage.

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26.03.2014 admin

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