State Farm and several smaller Northwest-based auto insurers
continue to be among the best at taking care of their customers after
an accident. And some of the other larger, best-known insurers
including Progressive, Allstate, Safeco and Farmers Insurance are
among the worst. That was the finding of a new survey of Oregon body shops conducted by the Northwest Automotive Trades Association (NATA).
About 650 body shops throughout the state received the
survey, which asked them to grade the top 22 auto insurers in the state
in terms of how well each company's "policies, attitude and payment
practices ensure quality repairs and customer service for Oregon
motorists." More than 100 shops from 48 Oregon communities actually responded to the
survey. These shops had an average of 11 employees and have combined
total sales of an estimated $144 million.
This is the third time the association has conducted such a survey
since 2004, allowing for some comparisons of how shops' views of
insurers have changed. Some of the findings included:
- State Farm held on to the top spot, receiving an overall grade of B+,
a slight drop from the A- it received in the two earlier surveys.
- In addition to State Farm, three Northwest insurers North
Pacific/Liberty Northwest, Oregon Mutual and Mutual of Enumclaw were
again the only three to receive grades of B or B-, ranking them in the
top four each time the survey has been conducted.
- Four companies received below-average overall grades of D+ or
lower. These companies were Farmers, Allstate, Progressive and Safeco.
- The other 14 auto insurers on the survey including Hartford,
Liberty Mutual, USAA, American Family, California Casualty and
Nationwide received overall grades of between C+ and C-.
- In most cases, the grades given a particular insurer from shops
involved in that insurer's DRP were higher than
those given by shops that are not part of that insurer's program. That
was particularly true with Progressive, GEICO, USAA, AIG DRP
shops that gave them grades of B- or better while non-DRP shops gave these
same insurers grades of C- or lower (a D- in the case of Progressive).
But even Farmers and Nationwide's DRP shops gave those insurers only
average grades of C.
- California Casualty, American Family, AIG and GEICO received
slightly higher grades in the 2008 survey compared to the 2006 survey.
Country Companies is the only insurer to improve in each of the last
two surveys, moving from a C- in 2004 to a C in 2006 and to a C+ this
- Allstate showed the largest decline in grade and ranking compared
to 2006, when it was in the middle of the pack with a grade of
"C". This year, shops gave Allstate a grade of D+, dropping it to the
second-to-last spot in the rankings.
- Safeco, which received a grade of C in 2004, has since remained
near the bottom of the rankings in the two most recent surveys with a
grade of D+.
- Progressive improved slightly from a D- in the last survey to a D
this year, but remained at the bottom of the rankings. Only Progressive
and Farmers have ranked in the bottom four among insurers in all three
Northwest Automotive Trades Association is a Portland-based trade
association representing a diversity of the automotive trades
industries in Oregon. NATA has produced the "Collision Repairer Report
Card" since 2004. For more information, visit www.aboutnata.org.