Selective Insurance Review: Auto & Homeowners Insurance Complaints, AM Best, BBB, & JD Power Ratings

Selective Insurance Group sells auto & home insurance in 14 Eastern and Midwestern U.S. states, and is the 44th largest Property & Casualty insurance company in the USA, per AM Best. You may know about Selective Insurance Group, but do you really know how good Selective is for auto & home insurance? I’ll review the AM Best financial strength ratings, JD Power customer satisfaction ratings, and Better Business Bureau ratings for the ten subsidiary companies making up the Selective Insurance Group, such as Selective Insurance Company of America and Selective Way Insurance Company, including their auto & home insurance complaint records over the last three years. My review summary will give you my opinion if Selective Insurance is performing better than average, average, or worse than average, compared to its competitors, like State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, GEICO, Farmers, American Family, and others. The smart insurance buyer shops for the best combination of coverage, price, and service, so be sure to use the ad below this paragraph (or the ad at the end of this review) to get price quotes from multiple insurance companies and find the best insurance company for you.


Selective Insurance Review

This Selective Insurance review is divided into five parts, consisting of: 1. A company overview including the Selective Insurance website, and the best way to get an insurance price quote, 2. The AM Best financial strength ratings for the Selective Insurance Group companies, 3. The JD Power customer satisfaction ratings and BBB rating for Selective Insurance, 4. the auto & homeowners insurance customer complaint records for the Selective Insurance Group companies over the last three years, 5. a review summary of Selective Insurance rating its complaint record as average, better than average, or below average, and comparing its rates and auto & homeowners insurance to competing insurance companies.

1. About Selective Insurance

Selective Insurance, with its origin going back to 1926 as Selected Risks Insurance Company, sells auto, homeowners, condo, renters, flood, and personal liability umbrella insurance, in addition to commercial insurance for businesses, through independent insurance agents with office locations across twenty-two states in the East and Midwest of the USA. Selective has many agents representing the company in the states of: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Selective has three independent agencies representing it in Washington D.C., Maine (all three in the Portland area), and one agency representing it in Texas (San Antonio) and one agency representing it in Arkansas (Little Rock).

However, per the Selective website, auto & home insurance is available only in these 14 states: Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Selective Insurance Website & Price Quotes

You can’t get auto or home insurance price quotes through the Selective Insurance website, but you can locate the office of an independent insurance agency representing Selective near you through the website, and contact an agent for price quotes. Selective customers can pay bills, report claims, & access their insurance information through the website.

Source: Selective Insurance website

2. Selective Insurance Group AM Best Financial Strength Ratings

The Selective Insurance Group companies (Selective Insurance Company of America, Selective Way Insurance Company, Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina, Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast, Selective Insurance Company of New York, Selective Insurance Company of New England, Selective Casualty Insurance Company, Selective Fire & Casualty Insurance Company, Selective Auto Insurance Company of New Jersey, and Mesa Underwriters Specialty Insurance Company) had their “A” (Excellent) AM Best Financial Strength Rating reaffirmed with a stable outlook (no ratings upgrade or downgrade is expected in the near future) on 05/28/2015. The AM Best rating of “A” is the third highest rating (lower than the A++ & A+ ratings) for 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 Selective Insurance Group 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. Some major auto & home insurance companies have higher financial strength ratings than the Selective Insurance Group 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.

Source: AM Best Rating for Selective Insurance Company of America

3. Selective Insurance JD Power Ratings & BBB Rating

JD Power Customer Satisfaction Ratings

Selective Insurance, like many other smaller regional insurance companies, does not have enough auto or homeowners insurance customers at this time in any one state, region, or nationally to be included in any of the recent annual JD Power insurance customer satisfaction studies, which evaluate the largest national and regional auto or homeowners insurance companies in the USA. Not being included in a JD Power insurance study does not make Selective Insurance better or worse than large or JD Power rated companies, but it does make it harder to evaluate the quality of customer service provided by a company not rated by JD Power, like Selective Insurance Group.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating

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.

Selective Insurance Company / Selective Insurance Group is rated “B” by the Better Business Bureau, and it is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau. As reported by the BBB, factors lowering the rating for Selective Insurance Company of America are failure to respond to one complaint filed against business and two complaints filed against business that were not resolved.

Selective Insurance had 8 BBB complaints in the last three years, with 4 occurring in the last 12 months. 6 complaints were for the category of a problem with service and 2 complaints were for billing / collections issues.

I don’t consider the highest BBB ratings to be a reliable indication of a good insurance company, but any insurance company with a lower than “A” rating should be considered as a sign of below average customer service. To date, the BBB rating & complaint record for Selective Insurance should be a concern for its customers or prospective customers, due to its failure to respond to a complaint, and its unwillingness to resolve two complaints.

Source: BBB ratings for Selective Insurance Company of America / Selective Insurance Group

4. Selective Insurance Group Auto & Homeowners Insurance Complaints

The auto & home insurance (including homeowners, condominium-owners, and renters) complaint statistics for the Selective Insurance Group companies listed below were calculated by the NAIC, and display the ratio of each company’s U.S. Market Share of closed complaints compared to its 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 insurance company with complaint ratios much less than 1.00 each year, over the last three years.

So you don’t have to worry about comparing complaint ratio numbers, I devised a rating system to help you identify if a Selective Insurance company 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 $100,000,000 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 small market share.

Selective Insurance Group consists of ten subsidiary companies, some of which sell auto & home insurance in the same states, but not every Selective Insurance subsidiary sells auto or home insurance. Mesa Underwriters Specialty Insurance Company and Selective Insurance Company of New England sell only commercial insurance for businesses. Selective Insurance Company of New York seems to be exiting the auto & home insurance business, having only $67,924 in US home insurance premiums in 2013 and no auto insurance premiums in 2013, thereby having too few customers at this time for its complaint statistics to be relevant for review.

I. Selective Insurance Group Auto Insurance Customer Complaints

These four subsidiaries insure private passenger vehicles in the states where Selective operates, although some subsidiaries may operate in the same states, and may not operate in all states where Selective is licensed to sell auto insurance.

Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2015 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = C+ (.77)

2015 US auto insurance premium = $78,995,485

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.33)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $77,536,571

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.96)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $76,165,221

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.91)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $70,905,805

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.65)

2011 US auto insurance premium = $61,765,008

Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina operates in most of the 14 states where Selective is available, in spite of its name seeming like it operates only in SC. Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina is the Selective subsidiary with the largest auto insurance market share.

Selective Auto Insurance Company of New Jersey Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2015 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.60)

2015 US auto insurance premium = $43,148,093

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

2014 US auto insurance premium = $47,766,977

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.47)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $52,752,994

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.32)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $57,280,164

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.28)

2011 US auto insurance premium = $60,922,286

Selective Auto Insurance Company of New Jersey sells auto insurance in the state of New Jersey only. Although the auto insurance market share for this subsidiary has decreased over the last three years, it is still the Selective subsidiary with second largest auto insurance market share, making New Jersey the state where Selective has the most auto insurance customers.

Selective Insurance Company of America Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2015 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (5.76)

2015 US auto insurance premium = $9,051,726

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.99)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $9,452,158

2013 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.41)

2013 US auto insurance premium = $8,844,821

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (7.88)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $8,037,467

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (7.06)

2011 US auto insurance premium = $7,236,759

Selective Insurance Company of America operates in most of the 14 states where Selective is available.

Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast Auto Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2015 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.29)

2015 US auto insurance premium = $15,169,945

2014 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.35)

2014 US auto insurance premium = $16,030,766

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

2013 US auto insurance premium = $16,863,209

2012 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.43)

2012 US auto insurance premium = $19,027,658

2011 Auto Insurance Complaint Ratio = C- (1.20)

2011 US auto insurance premium = $21,212,265

Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast operates in most of the 14 states where Selective is available.

II. Selective Insurance Group Homeowners (including Homeowners, Condo, Renters) Insurance Customer Complaints

These seven subsidiaries insure houses, apartments, & condos in the states where Selective operates, although some subsidiaries may operate in the same states, and may not operate in all states where Selective is licensed to sell property insurance.

Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina Insurance Company Homeowners Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2015 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.46)

2015 US home insurance premium = $72,491,959

2014 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.46)

2014 US home insurance premium = $70,720,617

2013 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = C+ (.91)

2013 US home insurance premium = $64,463,511

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.58)

2012 US home insurance premium = $56,151,427

2011 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = C+ (.92)

2011 US home insurance premium = $43,979,918

Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina operates in most of the 14 states where Selective is available, in spite of its name seeming like it operates only in SC. Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina is the Selective subsidiary with the largest homeowners insurance market share.

Selective Auto Insurance Company of New Jersey Homeowners Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2015 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No complaints)

2015 US home insurance premium = $18,956,276

2014 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.40)

2014 US home insurance premium = $20,577,121

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

2013 US home insurance premium = $22,034,145

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = C+ (.77)

2012 US home insurance premium = $21,041,910

2011 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (.44)

2011 US home insurance premium = $18,256,297

Selective Auto Insurance Company of New Jersey sells homeowners (condo & renters) insurance in the state of New Jersey only.

Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast Homeowners Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2015 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = C+ (.84)

2015 US home insurance premium = $19,921,562

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

2014 US home insurance premium = $20,409,053

2013 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.73)

2013 US home insurance premium = $20,332,486

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = C- (1.24)

2012 US home insurance premium = $19,570,080

2011 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1.34)

2011 US home insurance premium = $18,080,919

Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast operates in most of the 14 states where Selective is available.

Selective Insurance Company of America Homeowners Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2015 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2,739.19)

2015 US home insurance premium = $21,492

2014 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (1,825.60)

2014 US home insurance premium = $22,324

2013 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (4.35)

2013 US home insurance premium = $13,431,832

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (8.96)

2012 US home insurance premium = $17,200,410

2011 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = W (2.26)

2011 US home insurance premium = $17,836,544

Selective Insurance Company of America operates in most of the 14 states where Selective is available. However, based on its drop in market share starting in 2014, it does not seem to be selling new policies and is now insuring very few homes.

Selective Fire & Casualty Insurance Company Homeowners Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2015 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No complaints)

2015 US home insurance premium = $14,927,999

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

2014 US home insurance premium = $16,558,804

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

2013 US home insurance premium = $3,518,874

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = No home insurance policies in force

2012 US home insurance premium = $0

2011 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = No home insurance policies in force

2011 US home insurance premium = $0

Selective Fire & Casualty Insurance Company sells home insurance in the state of New Jersey only.

Selective Casualty Insurance Company Homeowners Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2015 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No complaints)

2015 US home insurance premium = $14,542,193

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

2014 US home insurance premium = $16,097,571

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

2013 US home insurance premium = $3,425,534

2012 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = No home insurance policies in force

2012 US home insurance premium = $0

2011 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = No home insurance policies in force

2011 US home insurance premium = $0

Selective Casualty Insurance Company sells home insurance in the state of New Jersey only.

Selective Way Insurance Company Homeowners Insurance Complaint Statistics & Ratings

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

2015 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No complaints)

2015 US home insurance premium = $121,216

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

2014 US home insurance premium = $147,312

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

2013 US home insurance premium = $13,874,017

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

2012 US home insurance premium = $17,605,977

2011 Home Insurance Complaint Ratio = B (0) (No complaints)

2011 US home insurance premium = $18,636,345

Selective Way Insurance Company operates in many of the 14 states where Selective is available. However, based on its drop in market share starting in 2014, it does not seem to be selling new policies and is now insuring very few homes.

5. Selective Insurance Review Summary

Here’s my summary to give you the bottom line on the customer service & rates for Selective, to see if it performs better than average, average, or worse than average.

Selective auto insurance customer & claims service as measured by its 2013-2015 complaint record:

Worse than Average

Selective Homeowners insurance customer & claims service as measured by its 2013-2015 complaint record:

Average

Although the Selective subsidiaries operating in New Jersey have better than average complaint ratios, the auto insurance complaint ratios for most of the other Selective subsidiaries are consistently worse than average. Another concern is Selective’s lack of response to several Better Business Bureau complaints. Selective may provide acceptable customer & claims service in New Jersey, but you want to make sure other companies do not provide better coverage, service, or rates before you decide to insure with Selective. As with any insurance company sold exclusively through independent insurance agents, your choice of an agent can make a big difference in the quality of the service & advice to receive.

How does Selective Insurance compare to other major auto & home insurance companies, like State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide, GEICO, & Progressive? Compare Selective Insurance with over forty other companies at my home page: smartshopyourcarinsurance.com.

Selective Insurance Rates

For pricing, the most reliable way to know if your insurance company charges too much 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 auto or home insurance market share may indicate whether a company has higher or lower insurance rates for at least some people.

If you look at the annual auto insurance premiums for Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina, the largest Selective insurance subsidiary insuring vehicles in states other than New Jersey (see section #4 of this review), its auto insurance market share was flat from 2014 to 2015, which may indicate Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina does not have very competitive auto insurance rates.

The auto insurance market share for Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast has decreased each year since 2011. If your autos are insured by Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast, you may want to ask your agent if there is an option to switch you to a Selective subsidiary with a better rate, or shop with other auto insurance companies to see if your coverage with Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast is costing too much.

Selective Auto Insurance Company of New Jersey, the largest Selective subsidiary insuring vehicles in New Jersey, has had a significant decrease in auto insurance market share each year since 2011, which may indicate this subsidiary no longer has competitive auto insurance rates in New Jersey.

If you look at the annual homeowners (including renters & condos) insurance premiums for Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina, the largest Selective insurance subsidiary insuring homes in states other than New Jersey (see section #4 of this review), its home insurance market share has increased each year since 2011, which may indicate Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina has competitive homeowners insurance rates.

However, the home insurance market share for the other Selective subsidiaries have decreased in recent years. If your autos are insured by Selective Insurance Company of America, you may want to ask your agent if there is an option to switch you to a Selective subsidiary with a better rate, or shop with other home insurance companies to see if your coverage with Selective Insurance Company of America is costing too much.

It really pays to shop with all the leading auto and/or home insurance companies in your state. 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!

Did this Selective Insurance review explain what you need to know about Selective auto & home insurance? Tell me about it. Please leave a comment on my facebook page. Follow me on Twitter for important insurance consumer news and new blog entries at CarInsWatch.