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Oregon Body Shops Give Top Grades to State Farm, Oregon Mutual

GEICO, Safeco and Farmers rank among worst in survey asking collision repair facilities which insurers best take care of their customers after an accident.

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The Northwest Automotive Trades Association (NATA) has released the results of a survey of Oregon collision repair facilities asking them to rank insurance companies based on taking care of their customers after an accident.

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More than 70 shops responded to the survey, and the results indicated that State Farm and two 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 GEICO, Safeco and Farmers – are among the worst.

“Just as medical providers see how health insurers take care of patients, collision repair shops interact with auto insurers on a daily basis, so we feel it’s worthwhile to ask how those insurers treat Oregon drivers after an accident,” said Barbara Crest, executive director of NATA. “We believe their views will be helpful to insurance companies and consumers.”

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More than 500 collision repair shops throughout the state received the survey, which asked them to grade the Top 20 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.”

This is the seventh time NATA has conducted such a survey since 2004. Crest pointed to a number of items of interest in the findings of the latest survey:

• Repairers have consistently given the same three companies a grade of B or better all seven times the survey has been conducted. State Farm has continued to hold on to the top spot, receiving an overall grade of B+ again this year. But a Northwest insurance company, Oregon Mutual, nudged up from a B last year to a B+ in the latest survey. Mutual of Enumclaw once again ranked third with a B. State Farm is the largest auto insurer in Oregon; Mutual of Enumclaw and Oregon Mutual are ranked 12th and 13th, respectively.

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• In addition to Oregon Mutual, six other insurers saw their grades improve from the 2012 survey. Travelers became the fourth-highest graded insurer by earning a B- (up from a C+ last year). Progressive, Ameriprise and Country Companies each moved up half a grade to C+.

• Although the same four insurers were on the bottom of the rankings for the third straight year, the order amongst them changed because Allstate improved to a C (from a C-) and GEICO brought its D+ in 2012 up to a C- this year.

• Progressive’s improvement is notable given that it had a D+ or worse (and the lowest or second-lowest ranking) in every survey between 2004 and 2009. Even last year, it was ranked 16th on the list with a C, but this year moved to eighth with a C+.

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• Although Allstate still only received an average grade, that’s an improvement over the D or D+ it received in each survey between 2008 and 2011.

• Three insurers saw their grades drop. USAA, which ranked fourth last year, dropped behind Travelers and Kemper/Unitrin when it received a C+ rather than the B- it did last year. American Family and Liberty Mutual also dropped half a grade.

• Farmers and Safeco received an “F” from about one in four shops, the most failing grades received by any insurer. (By comparison, GEICO, the third-lowest graded insurer, received about half as many Fs as Farmers.) State Farm received an “A” from well over half of shops.          

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• In most cases, the grades given a particular insurer from shops involved in that insurer’s direct repair program (DRP) were higher than those given by shops that are not part of that insurer’s program. This was particularly true with USAA and The Hartford; their DRP shops gave them grades of A- or better, while non-DRP shops gave these same insurers grades of C or C+. But even American Family and Farmers direct repair shops gave those insurers only average grades of C.

“Collision repairers say the insurers receiving the highest grades – which includes both larger and smaller insurance companies – do the best job of taking care of Oregon drivers after an accident,” said Crest. “We hope consumers will take these ratings into account when choosing an auto insurer, and that insurers that received lower grades will work to improve their performance.”

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More information:

NATA

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