Stable premiums helped to push customer satisfaction with life insurance companies to a record high, new research by The American Customer Satisfaction Index reveals (ASCI).
ACSI Managing Director David VanAmburg, indicated that Premium stability is really one of the only tangible factors that consumers have when rating their satisfaction with life insurance companies. Due to the nature of the product, interaction with insurers typically takes place when the policy is initially purchased and then again when the insured passes. This life cycle of the product renders premiums as one of the few measurable factors that consumers can make an educated decision about. Property & Casualty and health insurance have much higher levels of customer interaction therefore leaving more room for error and giving them lower overall satisfaction numbers.
ASCI, founded at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and produced by ACSI LLC, Ann Arbor, Mich., edged up 1.3 percent to an ACSI score of 81, which ties the industry’s all-time high.
The ACSI, a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to U.S. household consumers, uses data from annual interviews with about 70,000 customers. The index measures satisfaction with more than 230 companies in 47 industries and 10 economic sectors, plus more than 100 services, programs and websites of federal government agencies.
Despite a 1 percent drop in customer satisfaction for small life insurers, the aggregate of small companies leads again this year with an ACSI score of 81, the report shows.
VanAmberg said that customer satisfaction with smaller insurers is higher than that of large carriers because of the focused, customer-centric approach that small life insurers take. However, he cautioned that there maybe some residual wariness in the public psyche regarding large, powerful companies due to the turmoil our economy has faced over the last four years.
New York Life has the highest customer satisfaction benchmark among large companies, unchanged at 80, followed by Prudential (unchanged) and Northwestern Mutual (-2 percent) at 79. The largest issuer of life insurance, MetLife, registered 78 on the ACSI index. While MetLife is the only large insurer to show improvement, the gain is very small at 1percent.