Insurers generally aren't the most well-liked industry among consumers. People depend on these companies for serious life issues, and many have reputations for making the experience more difficult than necessary.
Two separate studies about customer satisfaction and loyalty for property & casualty (P&C), life and health insurers found that certain sectors and companies performed better than others.
For instance, the 2012 Temkin Experience Ratings surveyed 10,000 U.S. consumers using three basic tenets for scoring - Functional experience, which refers to the degree that people were able to accomplish what they wanted, accessible experience, which ranks the ease of interactions with the company, and emotional experience, which scored how those polled felt about the interactions.
In total 206 companies across 18 industries were measured.
P&C and life insurance companies were generally viewed more favorably than health insurers. For example, United Services Automobile Association (USAA), a military home, life and auto insurer, had a 73 percent satisfaction rating, 7.7 percent above the industry average. It also saw a 5.3 percent increase from its rating last year. State Farm wasn't far behind, scoring a 72 percent.
Kaiser Permanante and TriCare were the only health insurers to outperform the industry average, but still fell behind other insurers with scores of 68 percent and 59 percent, respectively. The overall average score for health insurers was 53 percent.
Satmetrix's 2011 Net Provider Industry Benchmarks displayed similar results. More than 22,000 U.S. consumers ranked insurers within 17 different industries, including health, life and auto, creating a Net Promoter Score (NPS) based upon respondents' likelihood to recommend the company.
The average health insurance industry score was -5 percent. While this may seem low, it actually represents a 7-percentage-point increase from 2011. Kaiser was once again the cream of the crop, with an NPS of 28 percent. On the other end of the spectrum, CIGNA scored the worst, with a -24 percent.
"Having a great customer experience is critical to a company’s financial performance because it impacts both customer retention and new customer acquisition through word of mouth," said John Abraham, General Manager of Net Promoter programs at Satmetrix. "These benchmarks allow companies to compare their performance to industry peers based on an industry-standard measure of customer loyalty. But the big challenge for most companies is to figure out how to use customer feedback to drive improvements in their customer experience. Measuring is just the first step."