Insurance complaint rankings released
USAA, State Farm rank best in survey of island auto insurance complaints
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USAA Insurance and State Farm Insurance came out best in a state tally of complaints by auto insurance consumers.
The two companies had the fewest complaints per 1,000 vehicles of the 11 insurers doing the bulk of business in the state last year, according to the insurance division of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
USAA had 0.11 complaints per 1,000 vehicles insured in 2006, the state said, while State Farm had a ratio of 0.13. At the bottom was Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., with 1.52 complaints per thousand.
The state figures reflect only the number of written complaints filed, and not the division's determination of whether the complaint was justified. They also include no-fault hearing requests.
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USAA Insurance Co. yielded the lowest ratio of complaints regarding auto insurance claims in Hawaii last year while Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. had the highest ratio, according to new data from the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
The statistics, which are based on written complaints received by the department's insurance division from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2006, were posted on the Web yesterday.
USAA Insurance, a Texas-based company for military personnel and their families, inched its way to the top position with a complaint ratio of only 0.11 per 1,000 autos, but State Farm Insurance Co. was not far behind, with its complaint ratio of 0.13 per 1,000. Liberty Mutual, meanwhile, sunk to the bottom with a complaint ratio of 1.5 per 1,000, dropping past DTRIC Insurance Co.
DTRIC improved its complaint ratio dramatically, to 1.3 last year compared to 3.4 in 2005. Likewise, Liberty Mutual's complaint ratio also improved to 1.5 in 2006 from 2.9 in 2005. But Boston-based Liberty Mutual last year took the bottom rung out of the 11 insurers in the state.
The numbers recorded by the state, however, only reflect the complaints filed, and not the division's determination of whether the complaint was justified. They also include no-fault hearing requests.
State Farm, which held the top position in 2005, is used to receiving a pretty low complaint ratio. A total of 17 complaints were received out of the 130,778 autos it insured in Hawaii.
"We're pleased and think that reflects the emphasis that we place on customer service," said State Farm spokeswoman Carolyn Fujioka. "We continually try to improve service."
Liberty Mutual received 50 complaints and insured 32,800 autos in the state last year.
Meanwhile, GEICO Insurance Co. continued to insure the largest number of autos in the state -- 176,497 in 2006, which was a 5.2 percent jump from 2005.
GEICO general manager Tim Dayton estimates its number of auto insurance policies in Hawaii has tripled over the last decade due mostly to referrals. GEICO's complaint ratio remained fairly steady at 0.61 in both 2006 and 2005.
Dayton said complaints are a good way for GEICO to continually improve its customer service and start fresh.