CHICAGO- According to a recently released J.D. Power auto insurance study, the overall experience rating by auto insurance customers improved in 2017 to 819 on a 1,000-point scale—a historically high level. However, despite the rise in overall satisfaction, price satisfaction has declined for the second year in a row. The recent spike in auto accidents are likely to blame, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
“The J.D. Power study underscores significant trends in the auto insurance industry and in auto safety,” said Bob Passmore, assistant vice president of personal lines policy. “Auto insurers are doing a great job on customer service, but companies and policyholders are feeling the effects of a number of road safety threats that are putting intense pressure on auto insurance costs. Distracted and impaired driving are some of the factors contributing to alarming increases in the frequency of auto accidents nationwide. Those trends are driving up insurance premiums and ultimately impacting price satisfaction.”
Auto accident fatalities have increased 14 percent since 2014—the biggest increase in more than 50 years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that nearly 3,500 people were killed and 391,000 injured due to distracted driving in 2015.
According to software developer TrueMotion, 92 percent of drivers use their smartphones while driving, and 71 percent text while driving. Drivers aren’t just talking and texting, either. Increasingly, drivers are surfing the web, engaging on social media and using apps. Amazingly, Netflix is one of the top 10 apps used by drivers. Other factors such as more miles being driven on roads needing repair, higher speed limits, increasingly congested roads, and more marijuana-impaired drivers also have been cited as contributing to rising numbers of accidents.
The J.D. Power study also noted that insurers can minimize the negative impact of price increases by clearly communicating the value of their policies and services. Raising awareness about auto safety trends also is critical, according to PCI.
Despite advancing auto safety technology, consumers need to understand that America’s roads are becoming increasingly dangerous,” said Passmore. “But the good news is that all of us can make a difference by putting distractions aside when we are driving, and that starts with putting that device down while driving. Continuing to educate consumers about these alarming auto accident statistics and the continued threat of distracted and impaired driving can help make our roads safer and keep costs down for consumers. Auto insurers want to continue providing excellent customer service and improve policyholder satisfaction in all areas.”