Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Company Reviews: AM Best Financial Strength Rating & Customer Complaint Record.

Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Company, an insurance company insuring houses, farms, mobile homes & cars in Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Ohio, & South Dakota, had its Financial Strength Rating (FSR) affirmed as “B+” (good) on 5/30/2014 by AM Best, with a negative outlook, meaning there could be a rating downgrade in the future. As of 6/2/2015, AM Best has downgraded the Financial Strength Rating for Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Company to “B (Fair)” with a stable outlook, meaning no ratings downgrade or upgrade is expected in the near future. The Financial Strength Rating of “B” is a rating in AM Best’s “vulnerable” category.

Most insurance agents will tell you not to insure with any insurance company, with less than an AM Best grade of “A-,” for the financial strength of the company. A grade of “B” may still be above average when you are a student in school, but it’s not a good grade for an insurance company. This blog post will explain the reasons for the poor rating from AM Best, give you information about the company, including its four year home & auto insurance complaint records, to help you decide if Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Company is right for you.


Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Company Review

The Insurance Journal reported, in this article about the new Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Company AM Best rating negative outlook, AM Best’s assessment “is based on Buckeye’s significant operating losses in recent years, which led to sizable declines in its policyholders’ surplus, stemming from catastrophe weather-related losses, and unfavorable loss experience in the automobile line of business and competitive market pressures in its operating territory.”

The Insurance Journal also reported, “To counter the trends, in addition to reducing its property exposures, Buckeye has undertaken a new rating platform for automobile, bi-peril rating of property risks, continued rate increases across all major lines and agency management actions.”

In updating this review after the AM Best rating downgrade to “B (Fair)” on June 2nd, 2015, it’s clear Buckeye’s measures to improve its profitability were not successful, although its financial outlook is now stable, with no further expected downgrades in the near-future.

Per this Insurance Journal article, “Ratings of Ohio’s Buckeye State Mutual Downgraded”:

The rating downgrades reflect Buckeye’s significant operating losses in recent years, which led to sizeable declines in its policyholders’ surplus, stemming from catastrophe weather-related losses, along with unfavorable loss experience in the automobile line of business and competitive market pressures in its operating territory.

The losses were partially offset by net investment income, albeit at a declining level. In addition to recently reducing its property exposures, Buckeye has undertaken a new rating platform for automobile, bi-peril rating of property risks, continued rate increases across all major lines and agency management actions.

Buckeye’s business concentration in the Midwest continues to expose its earnings to catastrophic wind, hail and tornado losses.

If you are insured with Buckeye State Mutual or Georgia Middle Mutual, canceling home policies to reduce the company’s loss exposure, coupled with auto & home insurance rate increases, are never good news, and you should consider shopping for a more financially stable insurance company. Car & home insurance rates vary a lot among companies, with some companies charging twice as much as others. Contrary to what you might expect, some of the companies with the best ratings & complaint records may have competitive rates for you. You don’t have to pay more for better service. You can likely find a better insurance company and save a lot of money, compared to what you pay now with Buckeye State Mutual for the same coverage.

About Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Company

Buckeye Insurance Group started in 1879, as German Baptist Mutual Fire and Lightning Insurance Company of Miami County, Ohio, and provides insurance coverage to rural Midwestern communities in Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Ohio, and South Dakota. Buckeye insurance products include farm, auto, home, dwelling fire, and umbrella liability insurance. Middle Georgia Mutual, a Buckeye Insurance Group subsidiary, started operations in 1894 in Griffin, GA, and offers the same insurance products to rural communities in Georgia. Buckeye State Mutual & Middle Georgia Mutual insurance are available only through independent insurance agents appointed to represent one of the companies. You can find the agent nearest you on their websites, buckeye-ins.com & midga-ins.com. However, with its “B” AM Best financial strength rating, and average complaint history, I think you can find better options for your insurance than Buckeye Insurance Group.

Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Company Customer Complaint Statistics & Ratings

The complaint ratios I show below display the ratio of the company’s U.S. Market Share of closed complaints compared to the company’s U.S. Market Share of premiums for a specific policy type. Complaint ratios lower than “1” have less complaints than average, and complaint ratios over “1” have more complaints than average. The lower the complaint ratio, the less complaints against the company. The higher the complaint ratio, the more complaints against the company. The complaint ratios were obtained from the NAIC Consumer Information Source.

The complaint ratios are number scores, & may not be easy for everyone to interpret. I devised a grading system, giving grades to companies based on the complaint ratios, to make it easier to compare companies, find the best auto & home insurance companies, and avoid the worst insurance companies.

B = Better than average. Insurance companies with complaint ratios less than 75% of the average insurance company.

C = Average. Insurance companies with complaint ratios from 75% to 125% of the average insurance company.

W = Worse than average. Insurance companies with complaint ratios more than 125% of the average insurance company.

Here are the complaint ratings for Buckeye State Mutual, and its subsidiary in GA, Middle Georgia Mutual Insurance Company:


Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Company Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No complaints)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $25,282,521

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.43)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $25,028,817

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.00)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $22,478,155

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = C (1.06)

2011 US auto insurance premium = $24,027,319

2010 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.10)

Auto insurance is Buckeye’s largest line of personal insurance, although its market share is much less than many of its competitors, such as State Farm, Allstate, GEICO, and Progressive. Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Company has inconsistent performance for complaints fro 2010 to 2014. There are certainly other auto insurance companies available with a consistent better-than-average complaint history, but choosing an insurance company with an exceptionally good customer complaint history is no guarantee you won’t have a complaint or a problem with claim. Consider coverage options, price, and the quality of your agent, along with a company’s complaint record, before choosing a company.


Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Company Home Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

2014 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No complaints)

2014 US home insurance premium = $13,412,982

2013 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.34)

2013 US home insurance premium = $14,158,699

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No complaints)

2012 US home insurance premium = $12,614,998

2011 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (5.24)

2011 US home insurance premium = $13,887,185

2010 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = C (1.23)

Homeowners, dwelling, & mobile home insurance are slightly more than half as much in total annual premium for Buckeye, as the total annual premium the company makes from its auto insurance customers. It takes only one or two complaints for companies like Buckeye with small market shares for a type of insurance, to have higher than average complaint ratios.

For example, in 2010, Buckeye had only 2 property insurance complaints filed with a state regulatory authority, but its complaint ratio was over 1, at 1.23. However, the 2011 home insurance complaint ratio, at 5.24 with 9 home insurance complaints is a concern, and much higher than average, even if Buckeye had triple its home insurance market share. I would consider the home insurance complaint record from 2010 to 2013 worse than average for Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Company.


Middle Georgia Mutual Insurance Company Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = Not applicable

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No complaints)

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = No policies

2010 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = No policies

It looks like Middle Georgia Mutual began offering auto insurance in Georgia starting in 2012. Collecting less than $500,000 in annual premium from auto insurance customers in 2012, the company has an extremely small share of the market, but it may grow in time. With no complaints filed with the Georgia Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner (as indicated by the NAIC complaint ratio), Middle Georgia Mutual is off to a good start, but only time will tell if it can maintain a consistent better-than-average auto insurance complaint history. Updating this review for 2014, Middle Georgia Mutual Insurance Company no longer seems to exist, and its few auto insurance customers may have been assumed by Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Company.


Middle Georgia Mutual Insurance Company Home Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

2013 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = Not applicable

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No complaints)

2011 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.57)

2010 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No complaints)

in 2012, the home insurance market share for Middle Georgia Mutual is about 20% of the size of the Buckeye State Mutual market share for the same products, as measured by the total annual premium collected for this line of insurance. If Buckeye is very small for this line of insurance, Middle Georgia Mutual is microscopic. Any complaint can lead to a higher than average complaint ratio. For example, Middle Georgia Mutual had one home insurance complaint filed in 2011. One complaint takes the ratio from “0” to “2.57.” If Middle Georgia Mutual can continue to have no home insurance complaints in most years, it can prove itself as being better than average for its complaint history. Based on its current three year complaint history, I would not use it as a pro or a con in my buying decision. Updating this review for 2014, Middle Georgia Mutual Insurance Company no longer seems to exist, and its few home insurance customers may have been assumed by Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Company.

Which companies are better than Buckeye State Mutual and have lower auto & home insurance rates?

The only way to find the best coverage and low rates for you is to shop with all the leading insurance companies. At this link to a webpage on my website, you can find the major auto & home insurance companies in each state. You can find out the AM Best financial strength ratings, JD Power customer & claims satisfaction ratings, and customer complaint ratings for many of these companies on the home page of this website. Many people pay too much for their 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 insurance company is the one with good coverage, service, and 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. Choose the type of insurance, put in your zip code, & start shopping now!

What’s your experience with Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Company? Tell me about it. Comment on my facebook page. If you have questions and would like my help, you can reach me at help@smartshopyourcarinsurance.com. Follow me on Twitter for important insurance consumer news & new blog entries at CarInsWatch.