Shelter Review: Auto & Home Insurance Customer Complaints, AM Best & JD Power Ratings

This Shelter Insurance review will evaluate the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, & 2014 homeowners & auto insurance customers complaints for the subsidiary companies of Shelter Insurance, to determine whether each subsidiary, such as Shelter Mutual Insurance Company, has a better-than-average, average, or worse-than-average customer complaint record. I’ll also look at increases & decreases in auto & home insurance market share (as measured by annual written premiums) for each Shelter subsidiary, as a possible indication of high or low insurance rates.

In addition to reviewing & rating its most recent six year complaint record, I’ll analyze the AM Best Financial Strength Ratings, and change in the JD Power home & auto insurance scores & ratings for Shelter Insurance from 2012 to 2015, and compare them to the scores of leading competitors, like State Farm, Allstate, Travelers, Hartford, American Family, Farmers, Progressive, & GEICO.

Be sure to use the information in this 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.

The detailed information in this review compares Shelter auto & homeowners insurance to the industry average and competing companies for customer service, customer complaints, claims processing performance, and insurance rates, but if If you don’t want to read all the details, you can go to this review on my website here, to see at a glance if Shelter Insurance consistently performs better than average, average, or worse than average for customer service, claims, and pricing, and compare Shelter Insurance to over 40 other U.S. auto & home insurance companies.

If you find this review useful, please like it on Facebook & share the link to this review or my site with your friends & family through social media. Bookmark this page for updates as new JD Power studies are published each year.

Shelter Auto & Homeowners Insurance Review

Shelter Insurance Companies include Shelter Mutual Insurance, Shelter General Insurance, Shelter Life Insurance, Shelter Reinsurance Company, and Haulers Insurance Company Inc. Shelter Insurance sells auto & home insurance through approximately 1,300 independent Shelter insurance agents, operating in the states of Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Auto insurance quotes can be obtained through the Shelter Insurance website.

This Shelter Insurance review is divided into five sections, consisting of: 1. AM Best Financial Strength Ratings for the Shelter Insurance companies 2. JD Power insurance customer & claims satisfaction scores & ratings for Shelter Insurance compared to competing companies 3. the auto insurance customer complaint records for the Shelter Insurance subsidiaries, 4. the homeowners insurance customer complaint records for the Shelter Insurance subsidiaries, and 5. the competitiveness of Shelter auto & home insurance rates compared to other major auto & home insurance companies.

1. AM Best Financial Strength Ratings for the Shelter Insurance companies

The Shelter Insurance companies 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) affirmed on 05/07/2015. A is the third 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.

AM Best financial strength ratings are not a measure of customer service or the quality of the claims adjusting for any of the Shelter Insurance companies, but an opinion about their ability to pay claims, remain financially solvent, and stay in business. I recommend avoiding, if possible or practical, any auto or homeowners insurance company with lower than an “A-” rating for financial strength from AM Best, or not rated by AM Best. Some major auto & home insurance companies have slightly lower or higher financial strength ratings than the Shelter Insurance companies, but the difference in financial strength among A++, A+, A, & A- rated companies is not significant to me unless higher rated companies are the same or better in terms of price, coverage, claims handling, and customer service.

2. Shelter JD Power Auto & Home Insurance Ratings for 2012, 2013, 2014, & 2015

This part of my review will analyze the JD Power ratings & numerical scores for Shelter Insurance, in all the JD Power insurance studies where the company was included in the last few years, to see if its JD Power ratings truly reflect the quality of the claims & customer service for the company.

I’ll compare the numerical scores (instead of the power circle rating) for Shelter auto & home insurance, to the industry average and the scores of competing insurance companies, for each JD Power insurance study (2012-2015) where it was rated. Shelter Insurance was included in two of the five annual JD Power auto & homeowners insurance studies:

The Annual JD Power Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction Study

The Annual JD Power Homeowners Insurance Customer Satisfaction Study

You can scroll down to read my analysis or summaries of the studies most interesting to you.

The Annual JD Power Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction Study

Shelter Insurance is usually rated in only one of the eleven regional studies composing the annual JD Power US Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction Study, the Central region, including the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, where Shelter has many of its auto insurance customers. If you live in a state not included in the Central region, the results for Shelter Insurance in the Central region may still be a good proxy for how Shelter Insurance performs in your state.

Central Region (AR, IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, OK, SD) (including TX in 2012 study only)

2015: Shelter scored 26 points (on a 1,000 point scale) or 2.6% above the 2015 Central region average, at 846 out of 1,000 points.

Here is how Shelter rated in the Central Region for the five factors used to determine its overall auto insurance customer satisfaction score in 2015:

Policy Offerings: Five Power Circles (among the best)

Price: Five Power Circles (among the best)

Billing & Payment: Five Power Circles (among the best)

Interaction: Four Power Circles (better than most)

Claims: Four Power Circles (better than most)

Overall Customer Satisfaction: Five Power Circles (among the best)

These companies scored .4% or more higher than Shelter in the 2015 Central Region study (from highest scoring company to lowest scoring company): USAA and Auto-Owners.

These companies scored 1.6% or more lower than Shelter in the 2015 Central Region study (from highest scoring company to lowest scoring company): State Farm, American Family, Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Hartford, Safeco, Auto Club of Southern California, Progressive, Farm Bureau Mutual, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, and Travelers.

2014: Shelter Insurance scored 24 points (on a 1,000 point scale) or 2.4% above the 2014 Central region average, at 844 out of 1,000 points.

Here is how Shelter Insurance rated in the Central Region for the five factors used to determine its overall auto insurance customer satisfaction score in 2014:

Policy Offerings: Five Power Circles (among the best)

Price: Five Power Circles (among the best)

Billing & Payment: Three Power Circles (about average)

Interaction: Four Power Circles (better than most)

Claims: Four Power Circles (better than most)

Overall Customer Satisfaction: Four Power Circles (better than most)

These companies scored .9% or more higher than Shelter Insurance in the 2014 Central Region study: USAA and Auto-Owners.

These companies scored 1.4% or more lower than Shelter Insurance in the 2014 Central Region study: State Farm, GEICO, Farm Bureau Mutual, American Family, Safeco, The Hartford, Allstate, Travelers, Liberty Mutual, Auto Club of Southern California, Farmers, Nationwide, and Progressive.

2013: Shelter Insurance scored 16 points (on a 1,000 point scale) or 1.6% above the 2013 Central region average, at 817 out of 1,000 points.

These companies scored .4% or more higher than Shelter Insurance in the 2013 Central Region study: USAA, State Farm, and Auto-Owners Insurance.

These companies scored .5% or more lower than Shelter Insurance in the 2013 Central Region study: American Family, The Hartford, Farm Bureau Mutual, GEICO, AAA Missouri, Allstate, Safeco, Travelers, Farmers, Progressive, Liberty Mutual, and Nationwide.

2012: Shelter Insurance scored 3 points (on a 1,000 point scale) or .3% above the 2012 Central region average, at 814 out of 1,000 points.

These companies scored .2% or more higher than Shelter Insurance in the 2012 Central Region study: USAA, Texas Farm Bureau, State Farm, GEICO, and American Family.

These companies scored 1.5% or more lower than Shelter Insurance in the 2012 Central Region study: Nationwide, AAA Missouri/Texas, Progressive, Allstate, Safeco, Farmers, Travelers, Farm Bureau Mutual, and Liberty Mutual.

Central Region Auto Insurance Satisfaction Summary: Shelter Insurance scored .3%, 1.6%, 2.4%, and 2.6% above the region average each year in the 2012, 2013, 2014, & 2015 studies respectively, showing a trend of increasing scores and above average auto insurance customer satisfaction in the central region states of AR, IA, KS, MO, NE, and OK, where Shelter is available.

The Annual JD Power Homeowners Insurance Customer Satisfaction Study

2015: Shelter scored 13 points (on a 1,000 point scale) or 1.3% above the 2015 JD Power Homeowners Insurance Customer Satisfaction study average, at 800 out of 1,000 points.

Here is how Shelter rated in the five factors used to determine its overall homeowners insurance customer satisfaction score in 2015:

Policy Offerings: Four Power Circles (better than most)

Price: Three Power Circles (about average)

Billing & Payment: Three Power Circles (about average)

Contacting the Insurer: Four Power Circles (better than most)

Claims: Three Power Circles (about average)

Overall Homeowners Insurance Satisfaction: Four Power Circles (better than most)

American Family, COUNTRY Financial, & State Farm scored about the same (within 2 points) as Shelter in the 2015 JD Power Homeowners Insurance Customer Satisfaction study.

These companies scored .6% or more higher than Shelter in the 2015 JD Power Homeowners Insurance Customer Satisfaction study (from highest scoring company to lowest scoring company): USAA, Amica, Auto-Owners, Erie, Auto Club of Southern California, and GEICO.

These companies scored .5% or more lower than Shelter in the 2015 JD Power Homeowners Insurance Customer Satisfaction study (from highest scoring company to lowest scoring company): Nationwide, Allstate, California State Auto Association (CSAA), Hartford, Chubb, Progressive, Cincinnati, Mercury, Farmers, Encompass, Automobile Club Group, Metlife, Kemper, Liberty Mutual, Safeco, Travelers, and Hanover.

Prior to 2015, Shelter Insurance has not been included & rated in a JD Power homeowners insurance customer satisfaction study since 2012, due to too small a sample share of responding Shelter Insurance customers in 2013 & 2014.

2012: Shelter Insurance scored 25 points (on a 1,000 point scale) or 2.5% above the 2012 JD Power Homeowners Insurance Customer Satisfaction study average, at 810 out of 1,000 points.

These companies scored .5% or more higher than Shelter Insurance in the 2012 JD Power Homeowners Insurance Customer Satisfaction study: USAA, Amica, Auto Club of Southern California, Erie and American Family.

These companies scored 1.1% or more lower than Shelter Insurance in the 2012 JD Power Homeowners Insurance Customer Satisfaction study: Auto-Owners, Chubb, Country, Encompass, The Hartford, Safeco, Allstate, Mercury, Auto Club, CSAA/AAA NCNU, The Hanover, Liberty Mutual, Metlife, Farmers, and Travelers.

Homeowners Insurance Customer Satisfaction Summary: Shelter scored 2.5% & 1.3% above the average for the 2012 & 2015 JD Power Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction Studies respectively. However in the important categories of Claims & Pricing for 2015, rated about average by its homeowners insurance customers.

Shelter Auto & Homeowners Insurance Complaint Record 2009-2014

You may really like your car 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. A great way to evaluate an auto or home insurance company’s claims service is to look at its customer complaint record.

A measure of quality for an auto or homeowners insurance company is the number of upheld complaints filed against it with a state’s insurance regulatory authority, compared to the industry average and competing companies. Some of the most common reasons, for people to file auto & 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.

Sections #3 & #4 of this review will show you if Shelter auto & home insurance has a better-than-average, average, or below-average complaint record, based on its 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014 customer complaint statistics. These sections of the review provides valuable information, to help you decide if Shelter, or a competitor, like Allstate or State Farm, is a better insurance company 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 decrease the likelihood you will have a negative experience, when you need your auto or home insurance company.

The complaint statistics, called complaint ratios, used in this Shelter Insurance review are the number of upheld complaints filed against each of the Shelter companies with a state’s insurance regulatory authority, adjusted for each subsidiary’s market share, as determined by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

The complaint ratios for the Shelter insurance companies listed 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. Ideally, you want to choose an auto or home insurance company with complaint ratios less than 1.00 each year, at least over the most recent three years.

So you don’t have to worry about comparing complaint ratio numbers, I devised a rating system to help you identify if Shelter has a good or poor complaint record.

Here’s how I establish my auto & homeowners 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. I use a minus sign (-) to indicate auto insurance complaint ratios slightly worse than average (1.01 to 1.25) and a plus sign (+) for auto insurance complaint ratios slightly better than average (.99 to .75).

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

I prefer companies with the longest recent history of “B” ratings each year (or at least in the most recent three years). Companies with “B” or “C+” ratings are okay, too, particularly if they have less market share, with less than $50,000,000 in premiums for that line of insurance (auto or home) each year. I prefer to avoid companies with a consistently higher than average number of complaints, or with inconsistent complaint records, unless there are mitigating factors, such as very small market share.

3. Shelter Insurance Companies Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

Shelter Insurance has three subsidiary companies licensed to insure private passenger vehicles in the states where the company sells auto insurance. 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 commercial property or motorcycle insurance.

Shelter Mutual Insurance Company Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.42)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $708,855,586

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.50)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $628,236,067

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.74)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $601,731,710

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.51)

2011 US auto insurance premium = $589,150,373

2010 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.60)

2010 US auto insurance premium = $567,271,415

2009 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.48)

The Shelter Mutual Insurance Company subsidiary has a better-than-average auto insurance complaint history over the last six years, with its number of auto insurance complaints in its worst year during this period at 74% of the industry average. The auto insurance market share for Shelter Mutual Insurance Company has increased each year since 2010, which may be an indication of competitive pricing for its auto insurance.

Shelter General Insurance Company Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (24.87)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $2,979,106

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.17)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $60,074,386

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.36)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $75,769,201

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = C+ (.88)

2011 US auto insurance premium = $77,649,413

2010 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = C+ (.77)

2010 US auto insurance premium = $76,609,343

2009 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.33)

Shelter General Insurance Company has an inconsistent auto insurance complaint history since 2009, with its number of auto insurance complaints in 2013 at 217% of the industry average. Its very high 2014 auto insurance complaint ratio is influenced by its change in market share. The auto insurance market share for Shelter General Insurance Company has decreased since 2011, but dwindled to very few customers from 2013 to 2014, which indicates the Shelter General Insurance Company subsidiary is no longer selling new policies and is non-renewing the policies of its current customers.

Haulers Insurance Company, Inc. Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.46)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $22,809,691

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.48)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $22,633,751

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = C+ (.84)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $21,533,847

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = C- (1.19)

2011 US auto insurance premium = $21,402,851

2010 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.40)

2010 US auto insurance premium = $21,263,335

2009 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.39)

Haulers Insurance Company, Inc. has a lower than average number of auto insurance complaints in five of the last six years since 2009, with its number of auto insurance complaints in its worst year during this period at 19% more than the industry average. The auto insurance market share for Haulers Insurance Company, Inc. has grown only very slightly over the last five years, which may be an indication Haulers Insurance Company, Inc. does not have competitive pricing for its auto insurance, or is not actively sold by agents.

4. Shelter Insurance Companies Home Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

Shelter Insurance Companies sells home insurance through the one subsidiary company listed below.

Shelter Mutual Insurance Company Home Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.51)

2014 US home insurance premium = $390,652,716

2013 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.62)

2013 US home insurance premium = $372,504,608

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = C- (1.19)

2012 US home insurance premium = $354,338,603

2011 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = C+ (.98)

2011 US home insurance premium = $330,870,014

2010 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.55)

2010 US home insurance premium = $315,990,255

2009 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.72)

The Shelter Mutual Insurance Company subsidiary has an inconsistent home insurance complaint history over the last six years, with its number of home insurance complaints in its worst year during this period at 19% of the industry average. The home insurance market share for Shelter Mutual Insurance Company has increased each year since 2010, which may be an indication of competitive pricing or advantages for its home insurance.

5. Shelter Auto & Home Insurance Rates & Pricing Compared to Competitors

Homeowners Insurance Pricing

For pricing, the most reliable way to know if Shelter Insurance has high or low rates for you, is to conduct your own pricing survey, by obtaining price quotes from all the leading insurance companies in your state, to find the best company for you. However, a recent rapid increase or decrease in market share may indicate whether a company has higher or lower insurance rates for at least some people applying for auto or homeowners insurance.

If you look at the annual homeowners insurance premiums for Shelter Mutual Insurance Company in section #4 of this review, its homeowners insurance market share has increased each year since 2010, which may indicate Shelter Mutual Insurance Company has competitive homeowners insurance rates.

Shelter also received a rating of three power circles (about average) for homeowners insurance pricing in the national 2015 JD Power U.S. Homeowners Insurance Satisfaction study. The following companies rated better than average (4 power circles or 5 power circles) for lower homeowners insurance rates in the 2015 JD Power Homeowners Insurance Satisfaction study: USAA, Amica, Erie, Auto Club of SC, GEICO, Auto-Owners, and Mercury.

Auto Insurance Pricing

Shelter received the rating of five power circles (among the best) in the Central region containing the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, for the category of auto insurance pricing in the 2015 JD Power Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction study, which reflects the opinion of current Shelter auto insurance policyholders in these states about the auto insurance rates they pay.

The following companies also rated above average (4 power circles or 5 power circles) for lower auto insurance rates in the 2015 JD Power Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction study in the Central region: USAA, Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group, Auto-Owners Insurance, Progressive, Hartford, and GEICO.

The following companies rated above average (4 power circles or 5 power circles) for lower auto insurance rates nationally in the 2015 JD Power Auto Insurance Purchase Experience Study: USAA, Erie, Ameriprise (available through Costco), The Hartford, California State Auto Association, Amica Mutual, Liberty Mutual, Auto Club Group, Travelers, & GEICO.

Remember, the companies with the best rates for some people participating in a survey may not have low rates for you. To get lower auto or home insurance rates, the only way to know if any insurance company has high or low rates for you is to conduct your own pricing survey, by obtaining price quotes & reviewing your coverage with all the leading insurance companies in your state, to find the best company for you.

It pays to shop. 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. No single company has low rates for everyone. You have to shop with all the leading companies, to find the company with the best coverage and best price for you. 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, and start shopping now!

Thanks for reading this review about the Shelter Insurance JD Power customer & claims satisfaction ratings, AM Best financial strength ratings, and its 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 Shelter auto & home insurance? Did you find this review useful? Comment on my facebook page. If you have questions, you can reach me at help@smartshopyourcarinsurance.com. Follow me on Twitter for important insurance consumer news & new blog entries at CarInsWatch.