Monday, February 23, 2009

Two Insurers Make Business Week List of “Top 25 Service Champions”

Business Week just featured its annual ranking of the nation’s top 25 “Customer Service Champs.” (Number One: What caught my eye though was that two insurance companies made the list.

Weighing in at #2 -- in hot pursuit of Amazon, was USAA.

Coming in at #15 – Amica Insurance Company.

It is hard to tell how much claim service entered into these rankings. The commentary on USAA was that it handled 150,000 “cat” claims in 2008, twice its average. It enjoys a 96% retention rate, so it must be doing something good in the claims area.

Amica is lauded for investing in new technology to speed claim processing. It also notes Amica’s investment in staff and its employee turnover rate which is a measly 7% per year.

Claim service appears to be one path toward becoming a service champion!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Flo and Progressive’s Concierge Service Raises the Bar for Claims-Handling

“Flo” is the irrepressible salesgirl with the tricked-out name badge in Progressive’s TV commercials. I was struck recently by one that touts Progressive’s “concierge” claim service. Many insurance commercials spout vagaries and platitudes but not too many spotlight claim service as a competitive differentiator. I am happy to see this. It comes down to more than saving 15% in 15 minutes or less.

In Progressive’s commercial, the insured brings in his damaged car, rings a call bell and a team of attendants rush out to get him a new replacement loaner. Concierge service indeed!

Apparently Progressive has even patented the process of “concierge claim service.” That process involves the policyholder reporting a claim and then,
• Dropping the damaged car off at a Progressive concierge claim center
• Driving off in a rental car
• Progressive writes a repair estimate and engages a repair vendor to come get the car, fix it and return it
• The insured is notified to come back and pick up the repaired car, which has by then been quality inspected by Progressive

Disclosure: I am not a Progressive customer or shareholder. In fact, my car coverage is with one its direct-writing competitors. I also doubt that the process always works to inspire rave reviews by policyholders.

Nevertheless, I applaud any carrier’s effort to compete on something other than price, to compete on service – namely claim service! Maybe it can inspire other insurers to raise the bar to develop their own functional equivalents of concierge claim service.

Now, if only Progressive could get Flo to use a bit less eye-makeup!