J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Study Finds Wide Satisfaction Diversity among Home Insurance Customers in Canada

Coast Capital Insurance, Johnson Insurance and Promutuel Each Rank Highest among Home Insurance Providers In Canada in Their Respective Region

TORONTO: 4 October 2011 – Home insurance customers in various regions in Canada are widely diverse in their satisfaction with and perceptions of their insurer, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Canadian Home Insurance StudySM released today. In particular, customers in Quebec are considerably more satisfied than are customers in the Western and Ontario/Atlantic regions.

The study, now in its fourth year, measures home insurance customers� experiences with their primary insurer. Customer satisfaction with home insurance providers is examined in five factors: interaction; price; policy offering; billing and payment; and claims.

In 2011, overall satisfaction with home insurance providers in Quebec averages 808 on a 1,000-point scale. Satisfaction in the Western Region averages 66 points lower, at 742. Satisfaction is lowest in the Ontario/Atlantic Region, averaging 739.

The regional differences in satisfaction are largely attributable to wide variances in the consistency with which insurers in each region perform key services that have a notable positive impact on satisfaction. These include displaying helpful information on bills, offering multiple discounts and providing agent/broker follow-up when the customer expects it.

Insurers in Quebec are the most consistent in implementing critical service behaviors identified in the study, with 30 percent of home insurance customers indicating their insurer delivered at least nine of the 10 most important services. By comparison, 19 percent of customers in the Western Region and only 10 percent of customers in the Ontario/Atlantic Region say the same.

In addition, insurers in both the Western and Ontario/Atlantic regions have particularly high rates of delivering only five or fewer of the 10 most important services. In the Western Region, 20 percent of home insurance customers indicate their insurer failed to perform five or more of these services. This figure is considerably higher-29 percent-in the Ontario/Atlantic Region. In contrast, only 5 percent of home insurance customers in Quebec say their insurer failed to deliver five or more key services.

The study finds that while the 10 most important services center on two key aspects-effective communication and convenient and value added offerings-individual services do not necessarily carry the same impact in all three regions. For example, customers in the Ontario/Atlantic Region place particular importance on receiving online access to information. In Quebec, customers place high importance on being able to easily understand customer service representatives when contacting a call centre. Customers in the Western Region place importance in not having to repeat information when contacting their insurer.

“Not only should insurers strive to consistently deliver these critical services throughout all customer interactions, but it is also necessary for them to tailor their services to meet the unique needs of customers within each region,” said Lubo Li, senior director and practice leader of Canadian financial services and insurance at J.D. Power and Associates. “Insurers must understand the importance of consistent delivery of these services on overall satisfaction. Given that lower levels of satisfaction lead to higher policy lapse rates and lower customer referral rates, insurers should be highly motivated to optimize their service to match the expectations of their customers.”

According to Li, four of the 10 most important services center on billing statements, which are typically the primary touch point that customers have with their home insurer. Ensuring that bills are easy to understand and provide relevant information is critically important to overall satisfaction. There is considerable room for improvement in this area, as only 40 percent of customers overall indicate receiving helpful information on their billing statement.

The study finds that use of email and mobile application channels is gaining momentum for typical customer interactions. While use of these channels is still rather low, the percentage of customers who contact their insurer by email has nearly doubled from last year (11% in 2011 vs. 6 % in 2010). As more insurers build their online and mobile offerings, it is expected that use of these channels will continue to grow.

In the Western Region, Coast Capital Insurance ranks highest in satisfaction among home insurers with a score of 783, performing well in all five factors. Following in the regional rankings are Johnson Insurance (781) and Canadian Direct and TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, in a tie (764 each).

In the Ontario/Atlantic Region, Johnson Insurance ranks highest with a score of 766 and performs particularly well in four of the five factors: price; policy offering; billing and payment; and interaction. Following in the regional rankings are State Farm (764) and Allstate (744).

In Quebec, Promutuel ranks highest with a score of 824 and performs particularly well in three of the five factors: price; billing and payment; and interaction. Following in the regional rankings are Personal (821) and Industrial Alliance (818).

The 2011 Canadian Home Insurance Study is based on responses from more than 8,000 home insurance customers. The study was fielded between July and September 2011.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company providing forecasting, performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company�s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global financial information and education company that helps professionals and students succeed in the Knowledge Economy. With leading brands including Standard & Poor�s, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates, the Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees with more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2010 were $6.2 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.