Canadian Underwriter

How branding affected these insurers’ consumer scores

February 19, 2019   by Greg Meckbach

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An insurer’s popularity among consumers can differ by brand alone, a recent J.D. Power survey indicates.

“There are differences when it comes to products, when it comes to distribution, when it comes to your marketing messaging,” Tom Super, director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power, said in a recent interview.

J.D. Power released last week its 2019 Canada Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study. The results showed differences between brands owned by the same insurer. In Ontario, for example, The Personal got an overall score of 798 while Desjardins General Insurance Group got 748.

In Quebec, The Personal ranked first with a score of 836 while Desjardins was eighth with a score of 812.

In Ontario, RBC Insurance and Aviva got 794 and 751 respectively. Aviva Canada Inc. acquired RBC General Insurance Company in 2016.

“That is not uncommon,” Super said. “There are differences among the brands even if they have subsidiary and parent relationships.”

J.D. Power asks customers to rate their insurers on a scale of 1,000 on several different criteria. The margin of error is 1.65%, or 16.5 points out of 1,000.

Insurers using multiple brands include Economical Insurance, which launched direct writer Sonnet in 2016. Sonnet’s target market includes consumers who are comfortable doing their financial transactions online without calling a customer service centre or visit a brokerage office, Karen Gavan, then CEO of Economical, said in 2016.

“Sonnet attracts a different consumer than Economical – the same as The Personal and Desjardins,” Super said Friday. “So, if you are interacting with Sonnet, you have a higher expectation of being able to have a great online experience, but if you have higher expectations when it comes to things like agents, Sonnet is not positioned to perform well in that regard.”

J.D. Power broke out its 2019 customer satisfaction study by region. In Ontario, the average score was 771, with six carriers (The Co-operators, The Personal, RBC, Economical, belairdirect and Travelers) scoring better than average.

In Alberta, the Alberta Motor Association and The Co-operators were tied at first place with 781 points.

RSA Canada’s Johnson Insurance was better than most, at 776. The average in Alberta was 754.

In the Atlantic region, the average score was 782. The top three were The Co-operators  (820), Intact (799) and TD Insurance at (790).

“The Co-operators did well on each of our factors,” Super said. “Where they really excelled were in the areas of product offering and distribution. I think that consumer expectations are continuing to rise in both of those areas and The Co-operators did very well in terms of building capabilities to deliver against those expectations.”

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