Wawanesa Auto & Home Insurance Review

Wawanesa Insurance was the award recipient, for scoring the highest for auto insurance customer satisfaction in the state of California, for the 2012, 2013, & 2014 JD Power auto insurance studies, measuring customer satisfaction among the leading auto insurance companies in the state. Wawanesa sells insurance in the states of California & Oregon only, but many auto insurance customers in these two states may be unfamiliar with Wawanesa. This review will analyze the JD Power & AM Best ratings for Wawanesa Insurance, look at its three-year home & auto insurance customer complaint record in comparison with major competitors like Allstate, State Farm, GEICO, & Progressive, show you the best way to get a price quote for the coverage you need, and help you decide if Wawanesa Insurance might be a good choice for you.


Wawanesa Insurance Review

Wawanesa Insurance began as a farmers’ mutual insurance carrier in 1896 in Wawanesa, Manitoba, and was incorporated by an Act of the Canadian Parliament on May 1, 1929. The U.S branch was established under the laws of California on May 23, 1974. The U.S. operations of Wawanesa Insurance is headquartered in San Diego, California. Marketing, underwriting, claims processing, and policyholder services are all conducted from the San Diego office. As stated above, Wawanesa Insurance is licensed to write business in California and Oregon only. The U.S. operation is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company of Canada. Based on direct premiums written, Wawanesa Insurance ranks among the top twenty auto insurance writers in California.

Who’s heard of Wawanesa Insurance?

A lot of Oregon & California residents are unaware of the existence of Wawanesa auto insurance, because the company does little advertising. Wawanesa markets preferred auto & home insurance (In Oregon, auto insurance only) direct to the consumer through direct mail solicitations and limited media advertising. For example, the only advertising I’ve seen in the Oregon market is the occasional ad for Wawanesa auto insurance on a Tri-Met bus in Portland. Wawanesa estimates 90-93 percent of new business customers are developed from referrals of existing policyholders. This helps Wawanesa Insurance maintain expense levels well below industry averages, possibly allowing cost savings to be passed on to consumers in the form of lower insurance rates.

What type of insurance does Wawanesa Insurance sell? How do you get price quotes?

Wawanesa Insurance underwrites & sells automobile, homeowners, condominium and renters Insurance direct to the consumer from the company. You can request an auto insurance price quote, only if you live in Oregon or California, through Wawanesa.com, but you can’t get an auto insurance price quote online from the website, and must wait up to three business days to get the quote through e-mail or regular mail. Since the only way to get a quote is through the company, I recommend calling Wawanesa at 1-877-WAWANESA (929-2637), Monday to Friday 7:30 am – 7:30 pm, and Saturdays from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm, for a price quote. In Oregon, Wawanesa sells only auto insurance, and no types of property insurance (homeowners / renters / condo). Wawanesa Insurance has 12 month insurance policies, as opposed to the typical six month auto insurance policies offered by many companies, so keep it mind when comparing Wawanesa auto insurance rates among competing companies.

Wawanesa sells preferred risk auto & home insurance, which means only potential customers with the lowest risk profiles may qualify. So, unless you have a clear motor vehicle report and claims history, you may not qualify. The State of California mandates criteria for which drivers qualify as “good” drivers, so Oregon drivers may face stricter eligibility requirements. According to the Wawanesa website, these eligibility rules apply to potential auto insurance customers in Oregon:

You are ineligible to receive a quote if any of the following applies:

None of the drivers have been continuously licensed (no license suspensions for any reason) in either the U.S. or Canada for the last 3 years.

Any driver has an at-fault accident on their driving record within the last 3 years.

Any driver age 25 or over has been convicted of more than 1 minor traffic conviction in the last 3 years.

Any driver under the age of 25 has been convicted of any traffic violations in the last 3 years.

Any driver has been convicted of an alcohol, drug or vehicular manslaughter type offense within the last 3 years.

Source: Wawanesa Insurance Company Information for Oregon web page

I’ve sold auto & home insurance for a company selling only to preferred risk applicants, and I know even consumers qualifying for eligibility, may dislike all the questions they are asked and rules they need to follow. But the benefit of insuring with auto & home insurance companies with strict eligibility guidelines can be much lower rates for those people who qualify. I live in Oregon, and the last time I checked, Wawanesa was one of the companies with the lowest rates for me. However, in previous years, Wawanesa auto insurance rates for me were less competitive. No auto insurance company has low rates for everyone, and companies with low or high rates change over time.

AM Best Financial Strength Rating for Wawanesa Insurance

Wawanesa General Insurance Company, the American subsidiary for the Canadian Insurer, Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, had its “A” (Excellent) AM Best Financial Strength Rating with a stable outlook (no ratings upgrade or downgrade is expected in the near future) reaffirmed on 11/21/2014. The AM Best rating of “A” is the third highest rating for AM Best. The AM Best financial strength rating is not a measure of customer service or claims handling, but a measure of the ability to pay claims and stay in business. Although Wawanesa has competitors with higher financial strength ratings, I do not advise using higher AM Best ratings as a selection criteria, unless you’re also sure of similar or better claims and customer service from the higher rated companies. However, I do recommend avoiding, if possible or practical, any car or home insurance company or subsidiary with lower than an “A-” rating for financial strength from AM Best.

Source: Wawanesa General Insurance Company AM Best rating

JD Power US Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction Study Ratings for Wawanesa Insurance

This annual JD Power study is divided into regional or single state studies. Oregon Wawanesa auto insurance customers were not evaluated by JD Power for 2012, 2013, 2014, or 2015. However, the California studies are a useful proxy for Oregon. In the 2013 & 2014 Northwest region studies including Oregon, only Pemco Insurance had a higher auto insurance customer satisfaction score (not including USAA), than the score for Wawanesa auto insurance in California, and only by 2 points (on the 1,000 point scale) in 2014.

Here are the actual scores & their relation to the study average for Wawanesa insurance in the JD Power auto insurance customer satisfaction studies (2012-2015) where it was rated:

2015: Wawanesa scored 41 points (on a 1,000 point scale) or 4.1% above the 2015 California region average, at 844 out of 1,000 points.

Here is how Wawanesa rated in the California 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: Four Power Circles (better than most)

Interaction: Three Power Circles (about average)

Claims: Five Power Circles (among the best)

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

Hartford and Auto Club of Southern California (AAA) scored about the same (within 5 points) as Wawanesa in the 2015 California Region study.

These companies scored 5.7% higher than Wawanesa in the 2015 California Region study (from highest scoring company to lowest scoring company): USAA.

These companies scored 1.3% or more lower than Wawanesa in the 2015 California Region study (from highest scoring company to lowest scoring company): Ameriprise, State Farm, Esurance, GEICO, Progressive, Allstate, CSAA, Farmers, Safeco, Nationwide, Liberty Mutual, 21st Century, Mercury, Travelers, & Infinity.

2014 California Study

Wawanesa scored 57 points (on a 1,000 point scale) or 5.7% above the 2014 California regional study average, at 852 out of 1,000 points.

Here is how Wawanesa rated in 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: Five Power Circles (among the best)

Interaction: Five Power Circles (among the best)

Claims: Five Power Circles (among the best)

With the exception of USAA, Wawanesa scored higher than every other company in the 2014 California region study by 28 points (2.8%) or more.

2013 California Study

Wawanesa Insurance received the highest rating of five power circles (among the best), scoring 820 points out of 1,000 points, which is 43 points (4.3%) better than the regional average score of 777 points on the 1,000 point scale. Although Wawanesa topped the study, it scored only 8 points higher than the next highest scoring company, State Farm, which rated 4 power circles (better than most). Considering the 1,000 point scale, it’s hard to say an 8 point higher score means Wawanesa is providing much higher auto insurance customer satisfaction than State Farm in 2013. However, the score for Wawanesa above State Farm (higher by 17 points) was more significant in 2012. Wawanesa scored 38 points (3.8%) higher than Allstate, 35 points (3.5%) higher than Progressive, and 19 points (1.9%) higher than GEICO, which I think does indicate higher auto insurance customer satisfaction at Wawanesa Insurance than these companies. For 2013, Wawanesa Insurance scored slightly lower than its 2012 score by 3 points. Wawanesa was the only company (other than USAA) rated 5 power circles (among the best) for the category of Pricing, which is an indication Wawanesa may have lower auto insurance rates. Wawanesa also received the highest 5 power circle rating for claims handling.

2012 California Study

Wawanesa Insurance received the highest rating of five power circles (among the best), scoring 823 points out of 1,000 points, which is 38 points (3.8%) better than the 2012 California study’s average score of 785 points on the 1,000 point scale. Wawanesa scored 17 points (1.7%) higher than State Farm, scored 22 points (2.2%) higher than GEICO, 50 points (5%) higher than Progressive, and 59 points (5.9%) higher than Allstate, which I think shows higher auto insurance customer satisfaction for 2012 at Wawanesa Insurance than these companies, and with much, much higher satisfaction above Progressive & Allstate.

Summary: Wawanesa consistently scores the highest (not including USAA, which requires military affiliation to be eligible, and scores much better than Wawanesa, as well as all other companies) in this study from 2012 to 2015, and significantly higher than most other companies rated in this region.

Source: JD Power Insurance Ratings

Wawanesa Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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.

For more information, I discuss how to interpret insurance company complaint ratios here and here

Wawanesa General Insurance Company Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = C (.86)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $306,113,217

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.70)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $290,304,457

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.35)

2011 US auto insurance premium = $267,797,456

Wawanesa General Insurance Company has had a lower-than-average auto insurance complaint history over the last three years, with its number of auto insurance complaints, in its worst year during this period, at 86% of the industry average. The auto insurance market share for Wawanesa General Insurance Company has increased by more than 10% since 2011, which may indicate competitive pricing for its auto insurance in California and/or Oregon. With the increase in auto insurance market share, Wawanesa has moved from having a great auto insurance complaint ratio at 35% of the industry average in 2011, to higher ratios each year, now getting closer to the industry average in 2013.

Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners website

Wawanesa Home Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

Wawanesa offer homeowners, renters & condominium insurance in California only.

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.

Wawanesa General Insurance Company Home Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2013 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.51)

2013 US home insurance premium = $23,726,452

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

2012 US home insurance premium = $23,562,823

2011 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.39)

2011 US home insurance premium = $22,025,664

Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners website

Wawanesa General Insurance Company sells property insurance in California only, but has a very small share of the California home insurance market. A few complaints can result in high complaint ratios for companies with small market share. For example, Wawanesa General Insurance received an home insurance complaint ratio more than 50% greater than the industry average in 2013, but the company had only three home insurance complaints for that year. Wawanesa had no home insurance complaints for the previous year of 2012. With small companies like this, the occasional year with a much higher than average complaint ratio, if caused by a low number of complaints, should not be a reason for alarm. Home insurance market share has been flat since 2011, which may be a sign coverage or pricing for Wawanesa property insurance (home, condo, renters) is not competitive, compared to other companies.

Wawanesa Auto & Home Insurance Complaint Ratings Compared to Allstate, State Farm, GEICO, & Progressive Insurance

Here’s how Wawanesa’s home & auto insurance complaint record compares to major competitors:

Allstate Insurance

Auto insurance complaint record: Most of the Allstate subsidiaries insuring vehicles in California or Oregon, have a history of about the same or better annual auto insurance complaint ratios than Wawanesa General Insurance Company.

Home insurance complaint record: Excluding Wawanesa’s 2013 high home insurance complaint ratio, the Allstate subsidiaries insuring homes in California have a history of worse annual home insurance complaint ratios than Wawanesa General Insurance Company.

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 Wawanesa General Insurance Company.

Home insurance complaint record: Excluding Wawanesa’s 2013 high home insurance complaint ratio, the State Farm companies insuring homes in California have a history of about the same or better annual home insurance complaint ratios than Wawanesa General Insurance Company.

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

GEICO Insurance

Auto insurance complaint record: The GEICO companies, other than the worse-performing GEICO Casualty Company, have a history of better annual auto insurance complaint ratios than Wawanesa General Insurance Company.

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

Progressive Insurance

Auto insurance complaint record: Due to the very large number of Progressive subsidiaries operating in Oregon & California, and their varying auto insurance complaint performance, please compare Wawanesa General Insurance Company with the Progressive subsidiary insuring or quoting you. Keep in mind, Wawanesa only insures drivers with a low risk of claims, so if you have tickets or accidents, Wawanesa may not be willing to insure your vehicles.

You can check the Progressive auto insurance complaint statistics for each Progressive subsidiary here.

You can read more of my auto & home insurance company reviews for over forty different companies, rating each company’s pricing, claims handling and customer service, at smartshopyourcarinsurance.com.

Wawanesa Insurance Review Summary

Looking at JD Power ratings and complaint statistics, there is good reason to think Wawanesa provides above average customer service and claims handling for auto insurance at competitive rates. However, only drivers with above average driving records and meeting Wawanesa’s eligibility requirements will qualify. Also, Wawanesa is limited to providing auto insurance for residents of California & Oregon. The only way to find out if Wawanesa can help you, and save you money, is to contact them for an auto insurance quote.

Wawanesa provides property (condo,homeowners, & renters) in California only. There are no clear indications Wawanesa’s home insurance prices, service, or coverage is better or worse than average. However, if you live in California, and Wawanesa insures your cars, or offers you a lower-priced auto insurance quote, you should consider Wawanesa insurance for your home or apartment, get a price quote, and see if it meets your needs.

Most people make the mistake of never shopping with other auto & home insurance companies. If you shop with enough companies, you’ll find many insurance companies charge a lot more than other companies for the same coverage, or some companies offer much better coverage for the same price. However, no 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!

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