Affirmative Insurance Review: Auto Insurance Complaint Record & JD Power, AM Best, BBB Ratings

Affirmative / USAgencies is a nonstandard auto insurance company, most active in the states of California, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Illinois and Indiana. Nonstandard auto insurance is designed for inexperienced drivers, drivers without insurance, drivers with tickets or accidents, license suspensions, people recently licensed, and other factors making them ineligible for standard auto insurance with other auto insurance companies.

Updating this review from its original 9/12/2015 publish date, Affirmative Insurance Company was declared insolvent as of 3/1/2016, and a moratorium was placed on any further claim payments by the Affirmative, including the return of unearned premium. Needless to say, Affirmative customers should seek auto insurance elsewhere.

If you are insured with Affirmative or USAgencies, it’s likely you pay a lot for your auto insurance coverage. This review will consider how competitive the rates are for Affirmative / USAgencies auto insurance through recent gains or losses in market share for its companies, and will evaluate and compare the most recent three-year auto & home insurance customer complaint records for the Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance companies with major competitors like Allstate, State Farm, GEICO, and Progressive, to assist consumers to decide if Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance is a good insurance company for them.

JD Power & AM Best ratings for Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance will also be analyzed, if available. Do any of the Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance companies have a below average, average, or above average number of customer complaints? My review summary at the end (Section #6), will rate the auto & home insurance customer service & claims handling by the Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance companies, based on their 2011-2014 complaint record.

About Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance Group

Affirmative Insurance started in 1998, and until 2000, sold nonstandard auto insurance through its website and call center. Since 2000, Affirmative has expanded through purchasing retail locations and acquiring two nonstandard auto insurance companies from Vesta Insurance Group. In 2007, Affirmative Insurance Group acquired the USAgencies Insurance companies, and now is licensed in 13 states, although it may not currently selling auto insurance in all of these states. The Affirmative Insurance Group offers only one insurance product at this time: nonstandard auto insurance. You can go to the company website to see if there is a retail location or agency representing Affirmative / USAgencies near you. Updating this review from its original 9/12/2015 publish date, Superior Insurance Company was declared insolvent as of 3/1/2016, and a moratorium was placed on any further claim payments by the Affirmative, including the return of unearned premium. Needless to say, Affirmative customers should seek auto insurance elsewhere.

Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance Review

Updating this review from its original 9/12/2015 publish date, Affirmative Insurance Company was declared insolvent as of 3/1/2016, and a moratorium was placed on any further claim payments by the Affirmative, including the return of unearned premium. Needless to say, Affirmative customers should seek auto insurance elsewhere.

This Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance review is divided into seven sections, consisting of: 1. The AM Best Financial Strength ratings for the Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance companies, 2. The JD Power auto & home insurance customer satisfaction ratings for Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance, 3. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings for Affirmative Insurance, 4. the auto insurance customer complaint ratings for the Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance companies over the last three years, 5. the home insurance customer complaint ratings for the Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance companies over the last three years, 6. Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance compared to major competitors, and 7. a Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance review summary, rating the company average, better than average, or below average, based on its annual auto & home insurance complaint records & ratings from 2011 to 2014.

1. AM Best Financial Strength Rating for the Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance Companies

The Affirmative Insurance Holdings companies (Affirmative Insurance Company, Affirmative Insurance Company of MI, USAgencies Casualty Insurance Company, USAgencies Direct Insurance Company) are not rated for financial strength by AM Best. A rating agency rating the financial strength of smaller or newer insurance companies, called Demotech, Inc., also does not rate any of the Affirmative / USAgencies insurance companies. I prefer to avoid auto insurance companies not rated by AM Best, when possible or practical.

Updating this review from its original 9/12/2015 publish date, Affirmative Insurance Company was declared insolvent as of 3/1/2016, and a moratorium was placed on any further claim payments by the Affirmative, including the return of unearned premium. A liquidation hearing is set for March 24th, 2016. You can learn more about the insolvency and the hearing in this Insurance Journal article, “Affirmative Insurance Liquidation Hearing Set for March 24 in Illinois.”

2. JD Power Auto & Home Insurance Customer Satisfaction Ratings for the Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance Group companies

None of the Affirmative / USAgencies insurance companies are included in any of the annual studies rating auto insurance customer satisfaction and auto claims satisfaction.

3. Better Business Bureau (BBB) Ratings for Affirmative Insurance

Although customer complaints are best directed toward a customer’s state department of insurance, the Better Business Bureau is a well-known and popular choice for consumers filing complaints against companies. If many customers are having difficulty resolving an issue with their insurance company and take the time to contact the Better Business Bureau about it, it’s a pretty good sign customers in general may be unhappy with the service provided by their insurance company. If a lot of complaints are made to the BBB about a company, in greater numbers than similar-sized insurance companies, it’s reflected in the BBB rating, and is one indicator the company may have more dissatisfied customers than some of its competitors.

I don’t consider an A+ BBB rating to be a reliable indication of a good insurance company, but a lower than “A” rating should be considered as a sign of below average customer service. To date, the BBB rating & complaint record For Hallmark Insurance Company should not be a concern for its customers or prospective customers.

Affirmative is not an accredited business by the Better Business Bureau. Per the BBB website, “Businesses are under no obligation to seek BBB accreditation, and some businesses are not accredited because they have not sought BBB accreditation.”

Affirmative Insurance has six company profiles on the BBB website, but only four have a record of complaints against the company, as explained below. Affirmative Insurance Agency is an unrelated business, so its BBB company profile should be ignored by consumers evaluating Affirmative auto insurance.

Affirmative Insurance Services (Chicago / Northern Illinois BBB office)

Affirmative Insurance has the highest rating of “A+” from this Better Business Bureau office. Affirmative had 14 BBB complaints in the last three years, with 3 occurring in the last 12 months. 12 complaints were for the category of a problem with service and 2 complaints were for billing / collections issues. All complaints have been closed and resolved according to the BBB.

Affirmative Insurance Holdings, Inc. (also from the Chicago / Northern Illinois BBB office)

Affirmative Insurance has the highest rating of “A+” from this Better Business Bureau office. Affirmative had 16 BBB complaints in the last three years, with 6 occurring in the last 12 months. 11 complaints were for the category of a problem with service, 4 complaints were for billing / collections issues, and 1 complaint was over warranty/guarantee issues. All complaints have been closed and resolved according to the BBB.

Affirmative Insurance Svc (Dallas and Northeast Texas BBB office)

Affirmative Insurance has the rating of “B” from this Better Business Bureau office. Affirmative had 7 BBB complaints closed in the last three years, with all 7 closed in the last 12 months. All 7 complaints were for the category of a problem with service. Although all complaints have been closed and resolved according to this BBB office, the reason for the lower rating was the nature and/or number of complaints.

Affirmative Insurance Services (San Francisco Bay Area and Northern Coastal California BBB office)

Affirmative Insurance has no rating from this Better Business Bureau office, but had 2 BBB complaints closed in the last three years, with none in the last 12 months. One complaints was for the category of a problem with service and one complaint was for billing/collections issues.

In spite of no rating for the complaints handled by the San Francisco BBB office, and lower BBB rating from the Dallas office, I don’t see any of the BBB complaint information from its website as a concern for Affirmative auto insurance customers. However, the complaints against Affirmative in the next section (#4) should be a big concern for its policyholders.

4. Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings for the Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance companies

Updating this review from its original 9/12/2015 publish date, Affirmative Insurance Company was declared insolvent as of 3/1/2016, and a moratorium was placed on any further claim payments by the Affirmative, including the return of unearned premium. Needless to say, Affirmative customers should seek auto insurance elsewhere.

Many auto insurance companies settle the majority of their claims without a problem or complaints, but you can have a terrible claims experience with any company. You want to avoid companies having more than their fair share of complaints. Nonstandard auto insurance companies, like Affirmative / USAgencies, often have a much higher average number of complaints than standard or preferred auto insurance companies.

Below are the complaint ratings for Affirmative / USAgencies subsidiary auto insurance companies. Subsidiary companies are designed to cater to a certain type of customer, or operate in a particular state. For example, Affirmative Insurance Company of Michigan operates only in Michigan, although this subsidiary is no longer insuring any vehicles in Michigan. The USAgencies brand & group of companies was purchased by Affirmative Insurance Holdings in 2007. According to the Affirmative Insurance website, the Affirmative Insurance Group consists of five subsidiaries: Affirmative Insurance Company; Affirmative Insurance Company of MI; Insura Property & Casualty Insurance Company; USAgencies Casualty Insurance Company; USAgencies Direct Insurance Company.

I found no evidence the Insura Property & Casualty Insurance Company exists. The Affirmative Insurance Company of MI subsidiary and the USAgencies Direct Insurance Company have no auto insurance policies in force and have no customers.

This section will look at the auto insurance complaint statistics of the two active Affirmative / USAgencies subsidiaries, Affirmative Insurance Company and USAgencies Casualty Insurance Company, as well as data on the two inactive subsidiaries.

The auto insurance complaint ratios for the Affirmative / USAgencies 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 a car insurance company with complaint ratios less than 1.00 each year, over the most recent last three years or longer.

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

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. I use a minus sign (-) to indicate auto insurance complaint ratios slightly worse than average (1.05 to 1.25) and a plus sign (+) for auto insurance complaint ratios slightly better than average (.95 to .75).

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

Common reasons for auto insurance customers to file complaints with a state insurance department against their insurance companies, are for claim-related issues, such as delays in a claim payment, unsatisfactory payment of a claim, or denial of a claim. The complaint statistics used in this Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance review are the number of upheld complaints filed against each of the Affirmative / USAgencies companies with a state’s insurance regulatory authority. This Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance review provides valuable complaint information to help you decide if one of the Affirmative / USAgencies companies is the right auto insurance company for you. By choosing an insurance company with a better-than-average complaint history (ratings of “B” or “C+”), or at least avoiding companies with consistent, worse-than-average complaint records (ratings of “W” or “C-“), you decrease the chance you will have a poor experience, when you need your car insurance company the most.

Affirmative Insurance Company Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (4.51)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $226,288,188

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.97)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $206,389,257

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (3.20)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $100,027,435

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (4.95)

2011 US auto insurance premium = $71,110,923

Affirmative Insurance Company sells auto insurance mostly in the states of Alabama, California, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Texas, accounting for almost 90% of its 2013 auto insurance business, but it also may be available in the states of Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico, and South Carolina. Affirmative Insurance Company has a consistently worse-than-average auto insurance complaint history from 2011 to 2014, with a number of auto insurance complaints in its worst year (2011) during this period, at 495% of the industry average. I prefer to choose auto insurance companies with a consistent history of lower than average number of auto insurance complaints each year, but this hard to find if your only option is nonstandard auto insurance companies.

The good news is Affirmative Insurance Company has increasing auto insurance market share in some states, which may mean lower auto insurance rates compared to other companies eligible to the higher risk driver.

Affirmative Insurance Company may have lower car insurance rates than competing companies in these states:

In Alabama, Affirmative Insurance Company increased its auto insurance market share (as measured by direct written premiums) in the state from $21,270,000 (rounded to the thousands) in 2012 to $25,272,000 (rounded to the thousands) in 2013. Affirmative Insurance Company has its own retail offices in Alabama, and per the company website, is not available through independent insurance agents in the state.

In California, Affirmative Insurance Company increased its auto insurance market share (as measured by direct written premiums) in the state from $13,760,593 (auto liability coverage) and $3,945,152 (Auto physical damage coverage, i.e. Comprehensive & Collision) in 2012, to $46,213,455 (auto liability coverage) and $27,527,704 (auto physical damage coverage) in 2013, which is a huge increase. Affirmative Insurance Company is sold only through independent insurance agencies in California authorized to represent the company, according to the company website.

In Texas, Affirmative Insurance Company increased its auto insurance market share (as measured by direct written premiums) in the state to $56,996,836 in 2013, where it was not large enough to make the list of the 25 largest auto insurance companies in Texas for 2012. Affirmative Insurance Company has its own retail offices in Texas, and is also available through independent insurance agents in the state, per the company website.

In Illinois, the state’s auto insurance market share for Affirmative Insurance Company (as measured by direct written premiums) averaged $18,359,116 for 2011-2013. Although it is not evident if its auto insurance market share increased or decreased each year from 2011 to 2013, its average amount of direct written auto insurance premiums is large enough to indicate it may have competitive nonstandard auto insurance rates. Affirmative Insurance Company has its own retail offices in Illinois, and is also available through independent insurance agents in the state, per the company website.

Affirmative Insurance Company may have higher car insurance rates than competing companies in these states:

In Indiana, Affirmative Insurance Company decreased its auto insurance market share (as measured by direct written premiums) in the state from $6,845,735 in 2012 to $8,092,471 in 2013. Affirmative Insurance Company has its own retail offices in Indiana, and is also available through independent insurance agents in the state, per the company website.

Source of direct written premium data: Each state’s department of insurance website.

Affirmative Insurance Company of Michigan Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = No auto insurance policies in force

2014 US auto insurance premium = $0

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = No auto insurance policies in force

2013 US auto insurance premium = $0

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = No auto insurance policies in force

2012 US auto insurance premium = $0

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (19.18)

2011 US auto insurance premium = $894,540

Affirmative Insurance Company of Michigan was available in the state of Michigan only, but it non-renewed all its auto insurance policies, stopped selling new policies, and has not insured any vehicles in the state since 2011.

USAgencies Casualty Insurance Company (aka Affirmative Casualty Insurance Company) Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (4.66)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $104,891,551

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (3.42)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $97,625,787

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.35)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $98,394,121

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (3.90)

2011 US auto insurance premium = $114,367,582

USAgencies Casualty Insurance Company, now renamed Affirmative Casualty Insurance Company, insures private passenger vehicles in the state of Louisiana only. USAgencies Casualty Insurance Company has a consistently worse-than-average auto insurance complaint history from 2011 to 2014, with a number of auto insurance complaints in its worst year (2014) during this period, at 466% of the industry average. I prefer to choose auto insurance companies with a consistent history of lower than average number of auto insurance complaints each year, but this hard to find if your only option is nonstandard auto insurance companies. The auto insurance market share for USAgencies Casualty Insurance Company increased from 2013 to 2014, which may mean USAgencies Casualty Insurance Company now has more competitive auto insurance rates.

Affirmative Direct Insurance Company (formerly USAgencies Direct Insurance Company) Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = No auto insurance policies in force

2014 US auto insurance premium = $0

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = No auto insurance policies in force

2013 US auto insurance premium = $0

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = No auto insurance policies in force

2012 US auto insurance premium = $0

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = No auto insurance policies in force

2011 US auto insurance premium = $0

Affirmative Direct Insurance Company, formerly USAgencies Direct Insurance Company, has not insured any vehicles or had any active auto insurance policies in the last three years. Affirmative Insurance Group purchased the USAgencies companies in 2007, and prior to the acquisition, USAgencies sold direct from the company through retail locations, call centers, and its website. Affirmative Insurance Group markets through retail locations and independent insurance agencies, and may have discontinued this subsidiary, when it ceased its direct sales.

Source: Auto insurance complaint ratios & annual written premiums obtained from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website

5. Home Insurance (Homeowners, Condo, Renters) Complaint Statistics & Ratings for the Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance companies

None of the Affirmative / USagencies insurance companies are insuring any homes in the USA as of now, with the Affirmative / USAgencies only line of coverage being nonstandard personal auto insurance at this time.

6. Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance companies compared to GEICO, Progressive, State Farm, Allstate & other major auto insurance companies

For drivers now qualifying (or soon to qualify) for standard auto insurance rates, I recommend shopping with all the leading insurance companies, to find the companies with the best rates, then choose an insurance company with the best coverage & customer service for you. A company with good customer service should have a three year history of complaint ratios less than 1.00, which is better than average. If you can qualify for standard auto insurance, don’t bother with nonstandard companies like Affirmative / USagencies. You can go to this blog page to see my reviews of the complaint records for all the major US auto insurance companies here.

If you can’t qualify for auto insurance with standard auto insurance companies, you may not have as many options, but you still have options. Here’s how other major auto insurance companies may be able to help you:

GEICO: Although the auto insurance complaint ratios for GEICO Casualty Company are consistently worse than average each year, they are usually not as bad as the auto insurance complaint ratios as the Affirmative / USAgencies companies. If you have multiple major moving violations or DUIs, you may not qualify for GEICO, but if you do qualify, it’s possible GEICO will have a much better car insurance rate for you.

Progressive: Progressive is known for low auto insurance rates, if you buy direct from the company or through an agent, and most of its subsidiaries have much better auto insurance complaint ratios than the Affirmative / USAgencies companies.

Allstate: Allstate may or may not have a better auto insurance rate for you, but if you choose a good agent, you should expect better service, and the auto insurance complaint ratios for Allstate are much better than the Affirmative / USAgencies companies.

State Farm: If you don’t qualify for at least standard auto insurance rates with State Farm, you will not be eligible to insure with State Farm.

Other Insurance Company Options: If they operate in the state where you reside, you should see what American Family or Nationwide Insurance agents can do for you. The auto insurance complaint ratios for Farmers nonstandard auto insurance company, Mid-Century Insurance Company, are pretty good, but some Farmers agents may not choose to sell nonstandard auto insurance. You should also check with local independent insurance agencies in your area specializing in nonstandard auto insurance. However, many of the companies they represent may have auto insurance complaint ratios as bad as the Affirmative / USAgencies companies.

Price may be your primary consideration when you pay high rates for nonstandard auto insurance, but you may want to avoid any nonstandard auto insurance company with much worse-than-average auto insurance complaint ratios, like Affirmative / USAgencies.

7. Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance Review Summary

Here’s my summary to give you the bottom line on the customer satisfaction & auto insurance rates for Affirmative / USAgencies insurance, to see if the company performs better than average, average, or worse than average. Since Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance is not rated by JD Power, my evaluation is based on its three year auto & home insurance complaint statistics.

Updating this review from its original 9/12/2015 publish date, Affirmative Insurance Company was declared insolvent by the state of Illinois as of 3/1/2016, and a moratorium was placed on any further claim payments by the Affirmative, including the return of unearned premium. Needless to say, Affirmative customers should seek auto insurance elsewhere.

Affirmative / USAgencies Insurance has consistently poor auto insurance complaint statistics from 2011 to 2013, and indicates there may be problems with its customers seeing delays in claim payments, unsatisfactory payment of claims, and denial of claims.

Affirmative / USAgencies Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction & Claims Handling:

Worse than average

Affirmative / USAgencies Home Insurance Customer Satisfaction & Claims Handling:

Affirmative / USAgencies does not offer homeowners, condo, renters or any other property insurance.

Affirmative / USAgencies Auto Insurance Rates:

Affirmative Insurance Group had big gains or strong auto insurance market share in the states of California, Texas, Illinois, and Alabama. However, updating this review from its original 9/12/2015 publish date, Superior Insurance Company was declared insolvent as of 3/1/2016 by the state of Illinois, and a moratorium was placed on any further claim payments by the Affirmative, including the return of unearned premium. Needless to say, Affirmative customers should seek auto insurance elsewhere. It can be difficult for nonstandard auto insurance customers to find a good company, and frustrating to shop around when some insurance companies won’t insure you. However, it’s worth the frustration & time to check the rates of as many companies as you can, because some companies will charge more than twice the price of other companies for the same coverage. 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 auto insurance companies in your area.

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