Does your automobile insurance company have a lot of complaints? Will you have difficulty placing a claim, or have a valid claim delayed or denied? How do you know if your company is any good? Most consumers fail to check the complaint records of their insurance companies. Here I provide complaint information for 20 of the largest (by market share in Wisconsin, based on auto insurance premium) insurance companies and rank them, from best to worst, based on their 2010 national auto insurance complaints. (Accurate 2011 data not available yet). I also list 22 insurance companies you may want to avoid, with a higher than average number of auto insurance complaints filed against them in Wisconsin.
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The Wisconsin Department of Insurance website(Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance) is the source of my information about market share & state complaint information. The Wisconsin complaint ratio is determined by the number of complaints per $100,000 of direct written auto insurance premium. The ratio is used so you can compare the complaint records among car insurance companies fairly.
For example, Government Employees Insurance Company, a GEICO subsidiary company, had .06 complaints per $100,000 of auto insurance premium it collected in 2010. Viking Insurance Company of Wisconsin had .12 complaints per $100,000 of auto insurance premium it collected in 2010, which is two times the number of complaints per one $100,000 than Government Employees Insurance Company. Both these companies have 2010 complaint ratios higher than the Wisconsin auto insurance industry average complaint ratio of .03 complaints per $100,000 of auto insurance premium collected by all insurance companies in Wisconsin for 2010. Government Employees Insurance Company has a 2010 complaint record twice as much as the industry average, and Viking has a 2010 complaint record 4 times as bad as the average auto insurance complaint ratio.
The complaint ratio is important, because a car insurance company with a lot more customers is likely to have a larger number of complaints than a smaller car insurance company, because it handles more customer transactions.
For example, a large insurance company may handle 1,200 total loss auto claims, and have 8 valid complaints in regards to how these claims were handled. A smaller car insurance company may have 200 total loss auto claims, and only 2 valid complaints.
Even though the larger insurance company had 4 times the number of complaints than the smaller car insurance company, the larger insurance company has 1 complaint per 150 claims, and the smaller company has 1 complaint per 100 claims. The larger insurance company really has the better complaint record.
The Wisconsin complaint ratio uses the number of Wisconsin auto insurance complaints per $100,000 of auto insurance premium for each company, so you can compare an insurance company’s complaint records with other companies fairly, regardless of the size of the companies.
The Wisconsin Department of Insurance publishes the 2010 auto insurance complaint ratios for companies collecting 1 million dollars or more of auto insurance premium, have 5 or more complaints for the year, and have a complaint ratio greater than the average for the 2010 Wisconsin auto insurance market ( .03 auto insurance complaints per $100,000 or auto insurance premium.
So, if your company does not show up on this list, does that mean it has a good complaint record? This may not be the case. Small companies, collecting less than one million dollars of auto insurance premium in 2010, are not measured. But it’s not too likely you are insured or intending to insure with a company this small. However, you may be insured with a company with less than 5 complaints or the year, but with an auto insurance complaint ratio worse than average.
The worst drawback about the available Wisconsin auto insurance complaint ratios is they show only the companies with a worse than average complaint ratio, and do not show the companies with better than average complaint ratios.
Ideally, you want to insure with a company with consistently better than average complaint ratio over the years, not simply know what companies to avoid.
My second list ranks the 20 insurance companies insuring the most private passenger vehicles in Wisconsin for 2010, from best to worst, by their 2010 national auto insurance complaint ratings, to help you find companies with good complaint records.
You want to consider other factors, beyond one year’s complaint ratio, when deciding on an insurance company.
However, if you are getting auto insurance quotes, or insure your vehicles with any of the companies making my first list below, for 22 insurance companies with some of the worst auto insurance complaint records in Wisconsin for 2010, you may want to consider choosing another company. Particularly if you are insured with any of the companies with an asterisk, denoting they also had a higher than average auto insurance complaint ratio in 2009.
Auto Insurance Companies with a Worse than Average 2010 Wisconsin Auto Insurance Complaint Record
The Wisconsin auto insurance industry average complaint ratio for 2010 = .03.
Companies with an * also had a higher than average auto insurance complaint ratio for 2009.
*1. ICM Insurance Company = .18
*2. 21st Century Centennial Insurance Company, Inc. = .15
*3. Bristol West Insurance Company = .14
4. Auto Club Group Insurance Company = .14
5. Viking Insurance Company of Wisconsin = .12
6. Integrity Property & Casualty Insurance Company = .10
7. Twin City Fire Insurance Company (The Hartford) = .09
*8. Allstate Insurance Company = .08
*9. Sentry Insurance A Mutual Company = .07
10. Dairyland Insurance Company = .07
*11. Erie Insurance Exchange = .06
*12. USAA Casualty Insurance Company = .06
13. Government Employee Insurance Company (GEICO) = .06
14. Property & Casualty Insurance Company of Hartford (The Hartford) = .06
*15. Geico Indemnity Company = .05
*16. Integrity Mutual Insurance Company = .05
*17. General Casualty Company of Wisconsin = .04
*18. Auto Club Insurance Association = .04
*19. Badger Mutual Insurance Company = .04
*20. Geico General Insurance Company = .04
*21. Farmers Insurance Exchange (Farmers Insurance Group) = .04
22. Wisconsin Mutual Insurance Company = .04
Below is my second list with national auto insurance complaint ratings for the top 20 auto insurance companies in WI, totaling 70.9% of the 2010 Wisconsin auto insurance market.
I devised a letter grade system, using the national auto insurance complaint ratios for the insurance companies listed, to make it easy to tell an insurance company with a great or good complaint record, from an insurance company with a poor or average complaint record.
Although I list the leading 20 companies, there are 199 companies insuring cars in Wisconsin, and the rest make up 29.1% of the 2010 Wisconsin auto insurance market. Some of these companies are large national insurance companies with great reputations, Like Amica Mutual Insurance Company. The 20 leading companies may not be the companies with the best rates for you, so you should consider other companies not on the list below, too.
For additional information, go to my website for more auto & home insurance complaint ratios, AM Best financial strength ratings, and JD Power customer satisfaction ratings & claims satisfaction ratings, for insurance companies, including insurance companies not on this list.
Here is my grading system. I also show the national auto insurance complaint ratio for each company. The lower the number of the complaint ratio, the better the complaint record.
A+ = Insurance companies with complaints 25% or less than the average insurance company.
A = Insurance companies with complaints 50% or less than the average insurance company.
B = Insurance companies with complaints 90% or less than the average insurance company.
C = Insurance companies with complaints from 90% to 110% of the average insurance company.
D = Insurance companies with complaints from 110% to 200% of the average insurance company.
F = Insurance companies with complaints over 200% of the average insurance company. More than twice as much as average!
Insurance companies frequently have several subsidiary insurance companies insuring autos in Wisconsin, and the name of the subsidiary may be different than the parent insurance group.
For example, Progressive companies include Progressive Universal Insurance Company, Progressive Northern Insurance Company, Progressive Classic Insurance Company, and Artisan & Truckers Casualty Company, and other Progressive subsidiaries not making the top 20 list. Although the first three seem obvious they belong to Progressive, the fourth company, Artisan & Truckers, does not indicate it is part of Progressive in its name.
Sometimes a company with “Farmers” in its name does not belong to Farmers Insurance Group, nor does “Hartford” in its name make it a part of The Hartford. I include the parent company name when I know it, and when it’s needed to avoid confusion. Make sure you know the insurance group, and the name of the insurance subsidiary company quoting or insuring you, to check the proper complaint ratio.
Here’s my list. Not all these companies may be selling new auto insurance policies. You may not be eligible or qualify for every company. Don’t let it annoy you. There are plenty of companies wanting your business. If you have a hard time qualifying for auto insurance due to your driving record, or other factors, see this blog post showing auto insurance companies insuring almost all drivers.
Be sure to shop with as many companies as possible, so you can choose the best combination of low rates, coverage, & service.
20 Top Wisconsin Auto Insurance Companies Ranked from Best to Worst by their 2010 National Auto Insurance Complaint Ratings
Companies marked with an asterisk — * — are among the companies with a worse than average Wisconsin auto insurance complaint ratio in 2010.
*1. Wisconsin Mutual Insurance Company = A+ (.23)
2. Rural Mutual Insurance Company = A (.29)
3. Artisan & Truckers Casualty Company (Progressive) = A (.32)
4. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company = A (.34)
5. Acuity A Mutual Insurance Company = A- (.50)
6. Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Company = A- (.50)
*7. Geico General Insurance Company= B+ (.51)
8. Progressive Universal Insurance Company = B (.53)
9. Progressive Northern Insurance Company = B (.54)
10. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company = B (.56)
11. American Family Mutual Insurance Company = B (.58)
12. Progressive Classic Insurance Company = B (.62)
13. West Bend Mutual Insurance Company = B (.72)
*14. Erie Insurance Exchange = B (.78)
*15. Farmers Insurance Exchange (Farmers Insurance Group) = C (.95)
*16. Allstate Insurance Company = C (.96)
*17. General Casualty Company of Wisconsin = C (1.01)
*18. Auto Club Insurance Association (AAA) = C (1.03)
19. American Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin (American Family) = D+ (1.17)
*20. Sentry Insurance A Mutual Company = D (1.49)
Now you know the complaint ratings for the biggest auto insurance companies in Wisconsin. The next step is to get price quotes by shopping your auto insurance & homeowners insurance with ALL the leading insurance companies, you can get a great price AND great customer service & claims handling. Use my website to find all the leading insurance companies, evaluate their customer service, and find the best price for you. Click the ad below and start shopping now!
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