Kemper Direct & Kemper Select (formerly Unitrin & Merastar) Review: Auto & Home Insurance Customer Complaint Statistics & AM Best Ratings

This review will evaluate, for the most recent six year period where reliable statistics are available (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, & 2014), the auto & home insurance complaint ratings for the subsidiary companies of the Kemper Direct (formerly Unitrin Direct) & Kemper Select (Merastar) insurance companies, to determine whether each of their subsidiaries, such as Unitrin Direct Property & Casualty Company or Merastar Insurance Company, has a better-than-average, average, or worse-than-average customer complaint record.

I’ll look at increases & decreases in market share (as measured by annual written premiums) for each of these Kemper Direct / Select subsidiaries, as a possible indication of high or low insurance rates. Lastly, this review will compare the auto & home insurance complaint records for these Kemper subsidiary companies, with major competitors, like State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, GEICO, & Farmers.

Be sure to use the information in this Kemper / Unitrin auto and homeowners insurance review and the ad below this paragraph (or the ad at the end of this review) to request price quotes from multiple insurance companies, and find the best auto or home insurance company for you.

You can use the information in this review and compare Kemper Direct / Unitrin auto & homeowners insurance to over 40 competing companies for customer service, customer complaints, claims processing performance, and insurance rates, by going to this review on my website here.

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Kemper Direct / Kemper Select / Unitrin Auto & Home Insurance Complaints Review

Kemper Direct, formerly Unitrin Direct, and Kemper Select, formerly Merastar (or Unitrin Direct preferred insurance), together with Response Insurance (reviewed separately), make up the direct operations of the Kemper / Unitrin group of insurance companies, and sell auto & home (including renters) insurance direct to the public, through its websites and call centers, and are not available through local insurance agents. Kemper Direct is also marketed online, through social media, using the iMingle brand. You can find out more about iMingle, by reading my iMingle insurance review. Kemper Corporation has other auto & home insurance subsidiaries selling coverage through independent insurance agencies, and I will analyze their complaint statistics in future reviews. Auto & home insurance quotes can be obtained at the Kemper Direct website & the Kemper Select website, or by clicking the ads at the top or bottom of this review. Be sure to check how the complaint ratings for these Kemper companies compare to major competitors, as I indicate in the last section of this review.

This Kemper Direct insurance review is divided into four sections, consisting of: 1. its AM Best Financial Strength Ratings, 2. its auto insurance customer complaint ratings, 3. its home insurance customer complaint ratings, and 4. information about competing auto insurance companies, and how their complaint records compare to the Kemper Direct / Select companies.

Most auto & home insurance companies have several subsidiary companies. The use of more than one auto or home insurance subsidiary company is usually to offer different pricing to specific risk profiles (for example, drivers with a clean driving record vs. drivers with tickets and accidents), operate in a certain US state or group of states, or offer different lines of insurance, such as mobile home or motorcycle insurance. Different subsidiaries can also be used for different sales distribution methods, such as selling direct from the company, or through independent insurance agents. Each subsidiary has its own rates, so the price you are quoted will vary, if you are eligible and receive quotes from multiple Kemper / Unitrin subsidiaries.

1. AM Best Financial Strength Ratings for the Kemper Direct insurance companies

The auto / home insurance subsidiaries of the Kemper Direct / Select insurance companies (Unitrin Direct Insurance Company, Unitrin Direct Property & Casualty Company, & Merastar Insurance Company) included in this review have an A- (Excellent) AM Best Financial Strength Rating with a stable outlook (no ratings upgrade or downgrade is expected in the near future) reaffirmed on 7/15/2015. A- is the fourth highest rating for AM Best. I become concerned with any automobile or homeowners insurance company or subsidiary with less than an A- rating for financial strength from AM Best.

Kemper Direct / Select Auto & Homeowners Insurance Complaints

A measure of quality for an auto or home insurance company is the number of upheld complaints filed against it with a state’s insurance regulatory authority, adjusted for the company’s market share. Sections #2 & #3 of this review will show you if Kemper Direct / Unitrin auto & home insurance has a better-than-average, average, or below-average complaint record for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. 2013, & 2014.

Will positive or negative customer reviews help anyone choose a better auto or home insurance company? Do customer reviews at least help people avoid insurance companies with bad customer service? You may really like your auto or home insurance company, or you may have heard from relatives or friends about the insurance companies they think are best, but you never really know how good your insurance company will be, until you have a serious claim. The good news is many insurance companies settle a good portion of their claims in a manner acceptable to the majority of their customers. However, the wise consumer should avoid insurance companies with a worse than average history of auto or home insurance complaints.

The most common reasons, for people to file auto or home insurance complaints with a state insurance department against insurance companies, are for delays in a claim payment, unsatisfactory payment of a claim, and denial of a claim. The complaint statistics used in this Kemper Direct / Select insurance companies review are the number of upheld complaints, filed against these Kemper companies with a state’s insurance regulatory authority, adjusted for each subsidiary’s market share, as determined by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. This review provides valuable information to help you decide if Kemper Direct is best for you. By choosing a company with a better-than-average complaint history, or at least avoiding companies with consistent, worse-than-average complaint records, you reduce the likelihood you will have a negative experience, when you need your auto or home insurance company.

2. Kemper Direct / Select Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

Kemper Direct / Select insurance has three subsidiary companies insuring private passenger vehicles in the states where Kemper Direct / Select sells auto insurance.

Here’s how I establish my auto insurance complaint ratings:

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.

Unitrin Direct Insurance Company Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

B = Better than Average C = Average W = Worse than Average

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

2014 US auto insurance premium = $31,506,545

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.80)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $27,172,506

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.32)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $27,249,940

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.07)

2011 US auto insurance premium = $32,959,879

2010 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.64)

2010 US auto insurance premium = $44,835,553

2009 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (4.15)

Unitrin Direct Insurance Company is licensed to operate, but may not be selling auto insurance, in all of the following states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, & Virginia.

The Unitrin Direct Insurance Company subsidiary had a worse-than-average auto insurance complaint history from 2009 to 2013, but it had no auto insurance complaints in 2014. The auto insurance market share for Unitrin Direct Insurance Company increased from 2013 to 2014, which may be an indication Unitrin Direct Insurance Company now has more competitive pricing for its auto insurance, in at least some of the states where it operates.

Unitrin Direct Property & Casualty Company Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

B = Better than Average C = Average W = Worse than Average

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.36)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $30,133,350

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = C (.81)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $40,363,217

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.14)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $37,999,190

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.72)

2011 US auto insurance premium = $54,426,319

2010 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.12)

2010 US auto insurance premium = $83,790,858

2009 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.50)

Unitrin Direct Property & Casualty Company is licensed to operate, but may not be selling auto insurance, in all of the following states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, & Wisconsin.

The Unitrin Direct Property & Casualty Company subsidiary has a worse-than-average auto insurance complaint record in four of the last six years, but improved to have a lower than average number of auto insurance complaints each year for 2013 & 2014. The auto insurance market share for Unitrin Direct Property & Casualty Company has decreased since 2010, and dropped by about about 25% from 2013 to 2014, which may indicate Unitrin Direct Property & Casualty Company no longer has more competitive pricing for its auto insurance, in at least some of the states where it operates.

Merastar Insurance Company Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

B = Better than Average C = Average W = Worse than Average

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.71)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $11,907,997

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.13)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $15,278,369

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.48)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $18,204,968

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = C (1.20)

2011 US auto insurance premium = $21,236,305

2010 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.68)

2010 US auto insurance premium = $25,233,834

2009 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.43)

Merastar Insurance Company is licensed to operate, but may not be selling auto insurance, in all of the US states, except Hawaii & Massachusetts.

The Merastar Insurance Company subsidiary has a higher than average number of auto insurance complaints each year since 2009. Its number of auto insurance complaints, in its worst year during this five-year period, is 248% of the industry average. The auto insurance market share for Merastar Insurance Company has decreased each year since 2010, which may be an indication Merastar Insurance Company does not have competitive pricing for its auto insurance, in at least some of the states where it operates.

3. Kemper Direct / Select Home Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

Kemper Direct / Select sell home insurance through three subsidiary companies.

Unitrin Direct Insurance Company had only $427,219 in 2012 ($383,833 in 2013, and now $415,768 in 2014) US home insurance premiums. Since Unitrin Direct Insurance Company has very few home insurance customers, I don’t include it in this home insurance complaints analysis.

Here’s how I establish my home insurance complaint ratings:

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.

Unitrin Direct Property & Casualty Company Home Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

B = Better than Average C = Average W = Worse than Average

2014 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.11)

2014 US home insurance premium = $4,360,477

2013 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No complaints)

2013 US home insurance premium = $2,875,841

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (10.63)

2012 US home insurance premium = $3,050,136

2011 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.54)

2011 US home insurance premium = $3,196,030

2010 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (3.64)

2010 US home insurance premium = $2,499,435

2009 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (13.03)

Unitrin Direct Property & Casualty Company is licensed to operate, but may not be selling home or renters insurance, in all of the following states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, & Wisconsin.

The Unitrin Direct Property & Casualty Company subsidiary has a worse-than-average home insurance complaint history in five of the last six years, with its number of home insurance complaints in its worst year during this period (2012), at 1,063% of the industry average. Part of the reason the home insurance complaint ratios are high for this subsidiary, is because of its small size. But a consistent history of worse than average home insurance complaint ratios should be a concern for any home insurance customer. The home insurance market share for Unitrin Direct Property & Casualty Company increased from 2013 to 2014, which may be an indication Unitrin Direct Property & Casualty Company now has competitive pricing for its home insurance.

Merastar Insurance Company Home Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

B = Better than Average C = Average W = Worse than Average

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

2014 US home insurance premium = $4,169,720

2013 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.33)

2013 US home insurance premium = $4,762,923

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (4.33)

2012 US home insurance premium = $5,611,940

2011 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (3.86)

2011 US home insurance premium = $6,305,786

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

2010 US home insurance premium = $6,513,037

2009 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No complaints)

Merastar Insurance Company is licensed to operate, but may not be selling homeowners or renters insurance, in all of the US states, except Hawaii & Massachusetts.

The Merastar Insurance Company subsidiary had a worse-than-average home insurance complaint record in 2011, 2012, and 2013, and no home insurance complaints in 2009, 2010, & 2014. Because Merastar Insurance Company has a small amount of home insurance market share, only one home insurance complaint in 2013 led to the high complaint ratio, with three home insurance complaints each year in 2011 & 2012 leading to even higher complaint ratios. However, regardless of the size of a subsidiary’s market share, its best to look for a company with a consistent recent history of lower than average number of complaints each year.

The home insurance market share for Merastar Insurance Company has decreased each year since 2010, which may be an indication Merastar Insurance Company does not have competitive pricing for its home insurance.

4. Kemper Direct / Select Auto & Home Insurance Complaint Ratings Compared to Major Competitors

Allstate Insurance

Auto insurance complaint record: Most of the Allstate subsidiaries have a history of better annual auto insurance complaint ratios than the Kemper Direct / Select companies.

Home insurance complaint record: Most of the Allstate subsidiaries have a history of better annual home insurance complaint ratios than the Kemper Direct / Select companies.

You can check Allstate’s complaint statistics in my Allstate Insurance complaints & ratings review here.

State Farm Insurance

Auto insurance complaint record: The State Farm subsidiaries have a history of better annual auto insurance complaint ratios than the Kemper Direct / Select companies.

Home insurance complaint record: The State Farm subsidiaries have a history of better annual home insurance complaint ratios than the Kemper Direct / Select companies.

You can check the State Farm complaint statistics in my State Farm Insurance complaints & ratings review here.

Farmers Insurance

Auto insurance complaint record: The majority of the many Farmers Insurance Group companies have a history of better annual auto insurance complaint ratios than the Kemper Direct / Select companies.

Home insurance complaint record: The majority of the many Farmers Insurance Group companies have a history of better annual home insurance complaint ratios than the Kemper Direct / Select companies.

You can check the Farmers complaint statistics in my Farmers Insurance complaints & ratings review here.

GEICO Insurance

Auto insurance complaint record: The GEICO companies have a history of better annual auto insurance complaint ratios than the Kemper Direct / Select companies.

You can check the GEICO complaint statistics in my GEICO Insurance complaints & ratings review here.

Progressive Insurance

Auto insurance complaint record: Most of the many Progressive Insurance Group companies have a history of better auto insurance complaint ratios than the Kemper Direct / Select companies.

You can check the Progressive complaint statistics in my Progressive Insurance complaints & ratings review here.

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Thanks for reading this review about Kemper Direct / Select (Merastar) auto & home insurance complaints. You can find other reviews of leading auto, home, & life insurance companies on my website & blog. What do you think of Kemper Direct / Select (Merastar) auto & home insurance? Did you find this review useful? Comment on my facebook page. Contact me at help@smartshopyourcarinsurance.com if you have any questions. Follow me on Twitter for important insurance consumer news & new blog entries at CarInsWatch.