The study finds that 68 percent of customers file their recent homeowners claim through direct channels, a significant increase from 57 percent in 2012. Satisfaction is 50 points higher among customers who file a claim through their agent, than among those who file a claim through direct channels.
“For the industry average, the call center experience fails to deliver the same level of service as an agent,” said Bowler. “Especially during times of hardship when someone’s house has been destroyed or their valuable possessions have been lost, it’s difficult for a call center representative to replicate the personal relationship customers get with an agent. However, a select few direct insurance companies buck this trend, achieving call center service scores that compete favorably with the best agency writers.”
Among customers surveyed for the 2013 study, 72 percent who filed with an agent say their agent helped put them at ease, while just 56 percent who filed direct say their call center representative did the same.
“The industry is definitely shifting toward direct channels,” said Bowler. “As that shift continues, the key for insurance companies is to ensure their call center representatives are fully trained to provide the claims experience their customers have come to expect. High customer satisfaction can be achieved through call centers, because some of the insurance companies that have the highest overall satisfaction in the study are direct providers, including Amica Mutual, this year’s highest-ranked insurer.”