In 2011, High Point Auto Insurance, Palisades Insurance, and Teachers Auto Insurance changed brand names to Plymouth Rock Assurance. These companies primarily insure private passenger vehicles, only in the state of New Jersey. There is a Plymouth Rock subsidiary company selling auto insurance in Massachusetts, but the MA subsidiary will not be reviewed in this blog article. Although High Point is a small auto insurance company, it has enough market share in NJ to be included in the 2012 JD Power Mid-Atlantic Region auto insurance study. I think the JD Power numerical scores (I feel the power circle ratings alone are misleading) are a great tool for US car & home insurance consumers, they should not be relied on as the sole reason to choose, or not to choose, an insurance company. Coverage options available, a company’s multi-year complaint history, how the company operates and services the customer, and of course, price, are also important to consider, before you select an insurance company. This blog post will analyze the JD Power rating and study results for High Point Auto Insurance, and give you more information, so you can decide if High Point/Plymouth Rock is the right company for you, or if you should consider insuring with another company. As readers of my blog should know by now, even if you love your insurance company, getting quotes from competing auto & home insurance companies, and additional opinions on your coverage each year, is crucial to make sure you pay reasonable rates, and help you avoid having coverage gaps if you have a claim.
High Point / Palisades / Teachers Auto / Twin lights / Plymouth Rock Assurance Review
To start, let’s review the various Plymouth Rock Assurance subsidiary companies, the products they sell, and how they sell them.
Plymouth Rock Assurance
As mentioned above, this is the new name for the High Point companies, Palisades companies, Twin Lights, & Teachers Auto Insurance of NJ, which have been managed by Plymouth Rock Management Company for some time now. Plymouth Rock is only a marketing name, so if you are insured or get a quote, Plymouth Rock, High Point, or one of the other subsidiary companies, or an unrelated company with a marketing relationship, will be the underwriting company insuring you. You can get an auto insurance quote from its direct operations, through its website, phoning its call center, or through a local independent agent appointed to sell their insurance, or a NJ Prudential Insurance agent. The Plymouth Rock Assurance website states prices may differ if you buy direct or through an agent. You may get a discounted rate by buying direct, or it’s possible an agent will know how to get you the best price, so it might make sense to explore both options. You may also be eligible for a group discount with High Point Property & Casualty Company, depending on your employer, or your membership in certain associations. You can find out more about the discount & eligible employers/groups here, to see if you may qualify for the Car Insurance Group Discount. The Plymouth Rock companies sell only auto insurance, with other lines of insurance, like home, motorcycle, or boat insurance, through partner companies not managed by Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock still insures NJ homes under High Point Preferred Insurance Company, but it is not selling new policies. Home insurance sold through Plymouth Rock are by the Mercer Insurance Group, underwritten by Mercer Insurance Co. of NJ, Inc. Homes in coastal or other areas of NJ may be underwritten by Lantana Insurance LTD, or Narragansett Bay Insurance Company.
High Point Property & Casualty Insurance Company
High Point Safety & Insurance Company
These two subsidiaries underwrite a large amount of the auto insurance being sold through Plymouth Rock’s direct operations and NJ Prudential agents. As mentioned above in the Plymouth Rock Assurance section, a group discount, depending on your employer or membership in an affiliated association, may be available to you with High Point Property & Casualty Company. If you get an auto insurance quote, make sure the representative you speak with discusses this with you. Both High Point Property & Casualty Insurance Company and High Point Safety & Insurance Company has seen their NJ auto insurance market share decrease each year since 2011, which may mean these subsidiaries no longer have competitive auto insurance rates.
Palisades Safety & Insurance Company
Palisades Insurance Company
These two subsidiary companies also underwrite auto insurance, with Palisades Safety & Insurance Company having greater 2013 NJ auto insurance market share than the two High Point subsidiaries above, but with Palisades Insurance Company having a much smaller market share. Palisades auto insurance is sold & serviced through local independent agents. After seeing a large decrease in its NJ auto insurance market share from 2011 to 2012, market share for Palisades Safety & Insurance Company increased from 2012 to 2013, which may mean Palisades Safety & Insurance Company now has more competitive auto insurance rates.
Teachers Auto Insurance Company of NJ
This subsidiary has special auto insurance rates, discounts, and coverage designed for educators. It can be purchased through the Plymouth Rock direct operations, NJ Prudential agents, and local independent insurance agents, but only NJ residents who are active or retired New Jersey educators and NJPTA members qualify. Click this link to find out more about the Teachers Insurance Plan of NJ offered by Plymouth Rock.
High Point Preferred Insurance Company
Once upon a time, Prudential, the large life insurance company based out of Newark, NJ, sold auto & home insurance in New Jersey, and other states. Prudential decided to focus on its main business of life insurance & investment products, and sold their home & auto insurance business. In May 2003, Palisades purchased the Prudential subsidiary company, Prudential Property & Casualty Insurance Company of NJ (PRUPAC-NJ), insuring homes & autos in NJ. Now, the homes that used to be insured through Prudential, are insured through High Point Preferred Insurance Company. However, High Point Preferred Insurance Company is not selling any new home insurance policies. I think it is important to get price quotes and review your home insurance coverage every year with different companies, to make sure you have the right amount of coverage at a competitive price. If you shop as I advise, and decide to switch to another company from High Point Preferred, be sure you know if there are any reasons to stay with High Point, because once you cancel, you will most likely not be able to get it back again, since they no longer sell home insurance policies.
Palisades Property & Casualty Insurance Company
This is the Palisades insurance subsidiary insuring homes in New Jersey, sold & serviced through select independent agents. Independent insurance agents appointed to sell Palisades auto insurance may not be appointed to sell Palisades home insurance. According to the Plymouth Rock website, its subsidiaries are not selling new home insurance policies. If your home is insured with Palisades Property & Casualty Insurance Company, consider changing home insurance companies carefully, as recommended above with High Point Preferred.
Twin Lights Insurance Company
This is Plymouth Rock’s residual market auto insurance company, which insures drivers not qualifying for standard auto insurance, due to their driving record, or other factors. If you are insured with Twin Lights, it’s a good idea to shop for better rates each renewal. You may find not only a lower rate, but as time goes by, the reason you did not qualify for standard auto insurance may not longer apply, and you will be able to save a significant amount of money.
Should you choose Plymouth Rock as your auto insurance company?
There are almost always pros and cons when choosing any auto or home insurance company. First, let’s look at what I consider positive about Plymouth Rock.
Plymouth Rock Auto Insurance Discounts
Plymouth Rock has many of the same newer discounts offered by some much larger insurance companies, but not common with all auto insurance companies, such as the group discount, a discount for payment in full, starting a policy at a future date 8 days or more in advance, owning a home or condo, and a discount for having a life insurance policy with a partner company. It also has the common discounts, such as a claims free discount, prior auto insurance discount, anti-theft discount, & defensive driving discount.
However, Plymouth Rock also has some much less common benefits which may be unique. Here’s a few I have not seen before:
One Year Rate Lock
Sandy Forgiveness: We Waive Sandy Auto Insurance Claims
Get Home Safe
You can find out the details by clicking this link about these unusual auto insurance discounts. Remember, lots of discounts are great, but the goal is to get the coverage you want at the best price. I rather pay for a car insurance policy with no discounts, but having the lowest rate for me, than an insurance policy with a hundred discounts, at a higher price with the same coverage.
High Point / Plymouth Rock Complaint Statistics & Ratings
Usually, in my insurance company reviews, I publish the company customer complaint ratios and explain them to you. But in the case of the Plymouth Rock companies, I am getting conflicting information from two sources: the State of New Jersey, and the statistics reported by the state to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners(NAIC). The state of NJ does not show any complaints for 2011. But the National Association of Insurance Commissioners shows policyholder complaints. The good news for Plymouth Rock auto insurance customers is, even if the NAIC data represents the accurate complaint record, the level of auto insurance complaints for the larger Plymouth Rock subsidiaries are better than average to average, compared to other auto insurance companies. Plymouth Rock promotes its low complaint record as a selling point, but I would not consider it as the sole sign you will have a great customer experience with them.
In checking the State of NJ and NAIC complaint statistics to update this review originally written on 4/13/2013, the occasional discrepancy between the NJ & NAIC complaint record for the High Point / Palisades companies, with New Jersey DOI website stating no auto insurance complaints for 2013, and the NAIC reporting two auto insurance complaints from NJ. However, when compared to the industry average, the High Point /Palisades/ Teachers Auto / Twin lights insurance companies still have a much better than average auto insurance complaint record from 2011 to 2013.
High Point JD Power Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction Rating & Scores
Updating this review, the results for the 2013, 2014, and 2015 JD Power Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction studies for High Point (now called Plymouth Rock Assurance in the JD Power Mid-Atlantic regional study for auto insurance customer satisfaction) continues to perform poorly:
2015: High Point / Plymouth Rock Assurance scored 21 points (on a 1,000 point scale) or 2.1% below the 2015 Mid-Atlantic region average, at 801 out of 1,000 points.
Here is how High Point / Plymouth Rock Assurance rated in the Mid-Atlantic Region for the five factors used to determine its overall auto insurance customer satisfaction score in 2015:
Policy Offerings: Two Power Circles (lowest rating)
Price: Two Power Circles (lowest rating)
Billing & Payment: Two Power Circles (lowest rating)
Interaction: Two Power Circles (lowest rating)
Claims: Three Power Circles (about average)
Overall Customer Satisfaction: Two Power Circles (lowest rating)
Nationwide and Liberty Mutual scored about the same as High Point / Plymouth Rock Assurance in the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Region study.
These companies scored 1% or more higher than High Point / Plymouth Rock Assurance in the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Region study (from highest scoring company to lowest scoring company): USAA, NJM Insurance, Erie, Hartford, State Farm, GEICO, Allstate, Travelers, and Progressive.
This company scored 2% lower than High Point / Plymouth Rock Assurance in the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Region study: 21st Century.
2014: High Point / Plymouth Rock scored 781 out of 1,000 points, which was 25 points (2.5%) below the Mid-Atlantic regional study average, scoring lower than all other auto insurance companies in the regional study except Liberty Mutual, and received the lowest JD Power rating of two power circles for overall auto insurance customer satisfaction.
Here is how High Point / Plymouth rated in the five factors used to determine its overall auto insurance customer satisfaction score in 2014:
Policy Offerings: Two Power Circles (the rest — lowest rating)
Price: Two Power Circles (the rest — lowest rating)
Billing & Payment: Two Power Circles (the rest — lowest rating)
Interaction: Two Power Circles (the rest — lowest rating)
Claims: Three Power Circles (about average)
2013: High point / Plymouth Rock scored 757 out of 1,000 points, which was 45 points (4.5%) below the 2013 study average for the Mid-Atlantic region, scoring lower than all other auto insurance companies in the regional study except 21st Century, and received the lowest JD Power rating of two power circles for overall auto insurance customer satisfaction.
The 2012 JD Power Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction study surveyed only auto insurance customers of the High Point companies — High Point Property & Casualty Insurance Company, and High Point Safety & Insurance Company — so the JD Power study score is not reflective of the customer satisfaction of the Palisades, or other Plymouth Rock auto insurance subsidiaries. High Point was the lowest scoring company in the Mid-Atlantic region study, scoring 748 out of 1,000 points, and receiving the lowest power circle rating (2 circles) in all categories (Pricing, Contacting the insurance company, Policy offerings, and Billing & payment). The average score for the region was 807 out of 1,000 points. If you think of the study as a percentage score, the regional average was about 81%, and High Point scored a little less than 75%, which is not a failing grade. However, the score is significantly lower than the other major auto insurance companies in the region. The next lowest scoring company is 21st Century auto insurance (owned by Farmers), at 763 out of 1,000 points, which also received the lowest power circle rating in all categories, but scored 15 points (1.5%) higher than High Point. Compare High Point’s score with an average rated company, like Progressive (3 power circles in all categories), scoring 799 points out of 1,000, and High Point is beat by a whopping 51 points (5%).
What may account for this low customer satisfaction scores? High Point mainly sells its auto insurance direct to the public, without agents. This works fine with almost any company, as long as there are no problems. However, when problems occur, having a personal agent accountable for your service usually results in higher satisfaction. For example, something as simple as reaching the company, can sometimes be much easier when you contact an agent, than when you call the company direct, and have to wait on hold for 10 minutes, because they are experiencing a high volume of calls.
Keep in mind, the Plymouth Rock companies sold though independent insurance agents, like Palisades, were not included in the study, and their customer satisfaction was not measured. Often, the degree of customer satisfaction will depend on the quality of your independent insurance agent.
High Point / Plymouth Rock Assurance AM Best Financial Strength Rating
As of 2/15/2012, High Point was rated B++ (good), with a negative outlook of a possible ratings downgrade in the future.
Updating this review from its original publish date of 4/13/2013, The Plymouth Rock companies of NJ, High Point Property & Casualty Insurance Company, High Point Safety and Insurance Company, High Point Preferred Insurance Company, Palisades Insurance Company, Palisades Property & Casualty Insurance Company, Palisades Safety and Insurance Association, Teachers Auto Insurance Company of NJ, and Twin Lights Insurance Company, had their AM Best financial strength rating downgraded to B+ (good) from B++, but with a stable outlook, meaning no rating upgrade or downgrade is expected in the near future. This rating was reaffirmed by AM Best on 5/8/2014 and again on 5/7/2015, but now these companies are rated with a positive outlook, meaning a possible rating upgrade may occur in the near future.
A “good” rating may sound acceptable to you, but I would not choose an auto or home insurance company with less than any type of A rating (A++,A+,A,A-). There are 5 grades higher than B+. Like with all other factors, I would not choose another insurance company simply because it has a higher financial strength rating than Plymouth Rock, but the B+ rating, even if its upgraded to a B++ rating again, should be a cause of concern, and it would be wise to see what higher rated companies can do for you.
Conclusion: Should you buy Plymouth Rock / High Point insurance?
My biggest concern with Plymouth Rock is its financial strength rating, if you like Plymouth Rock’s rates, coverage, and service, and want to insure with them. You need to keep an eye on the financial strength rating. It’s not unusual, for a company running into financial difficulty, for its AM Best rating to drop suddenly. AM Best is overdue for their annual rating review, and I would like to know how the financial reserves of High Point, and the other Plymouth Rock companies, held up after Super storm Sandy. You may want to see if the more rigorous rating company, Weiss Ratings, has rated Plymouth Rock. Weiss charges for their rating information, so I can’t provide it here, but if you register for their website, you may be eligible for some free rating information, and may be able to check the Plymouth Rock companies at no cost to you.
If you are okay with the financial strength ratings, you should contact High Point auto insurance for a price quote. While getting a price, you can make your own evaluation of the quality of their customer service. If the price and coverage is right for you, High Point may be a good choice for you. Particularly if you work in the field of education, High Point has special programs, benefits, and discounts. If you like their rates and coverage, but do not want to buy direct, contact a local Prudential agent, to see if they will sell you a policy. However, Prudential agents are focused on life insurance, so its possible they may have little interest in helping you, or are unable to sell you a policy, or sell it at the same price.
Contact an independent insurance agent representing Palisades, too, since their rates are different than High Point. But remember, the agent will represent several companies, and may recommend another company as a better choice for you. Some of the best auto insurance companies sell direct to the public, or through exclusive agents representing only them. But there are also great auto & home insurance companies selling only through independent insurance agents, so when shopping your insurance with the leading companies, don’t forget to contact a few local independent insurance agents.
The recent low JD Power customer satisfaction rating for High point auto insurance is a concern, but unless you are one of the few customers valuing service a lot more than price, it doesn’t make sense to rule out High Point auto insurance, until you get a rate quote. Some companies charge much less than other companies for the same coverage, so if any of the Plymouth Rock companies is the one saving you hundreds of dollars, you want to know about it.
Many people pay too much for their auto insurance because they never shop for better rates, or if they do shop, they don’t check the rates of enough companies. For a lot of people, the best auto insurance company is the one with the lowest rates. The ad below will take you to links to get online quotes from leading Home, Auto, Health, & Life insurance companies in your area.
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