New York State
Insurance Department


ISSUED: 12/16/99

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

DEPARTMENT RELEASES AUTO INSURER RANKING
OF CONSUMER COMPLAINTS
New Ranking Includes First Honor Roll

 

            Superintendent of Insurance Neil D. Levin today released the Department’s annual ranking of consumer complaints against New York State’s private passenger automobile insurance companies. For the first time, the ranking includes an "honor roll" that recognizes auto insurers that have consistently performed well in the rankings.

            "Consumers should use this ranking as a way of measuring policyholder satisfaction," said Levin. "In New York, drivers have nearly 200 automobile insurance companies to choose from and this guide can help them select the company that is best for them."

            Aegon USA and Erie Insurance Exchange - with no complaints upheld against them - took the top two spots in the ranking. GRE Insurance ranked 3rd, followed by Amica Mutual Insurance and Allianz Insurance. Eagle Insurance, an insurer specializing in high-risk drivers, boasted its best performance in years -- jumping to 7th from 42nd only two years ago.

            Among New York’s largest insurers, Allstate and State Farm finished 30th and 29th respectively with complaint ratios that matched the overall average. GEICO, the third largest private passenger auto insurer in New York State, ranked 11th .

            The three auto insurers with the highest complaint ratio are: Leucadia, 51st; Eveready, 50th; and Zurich-American, 49th. Only three companies, Leucadia, General Electric and Merchants Mutual have appeared in the bottom 10 in each of the past three years.

            Companies ranked at the top of the list performed best in 1998 in terms of consumer complaints. The complaint ratio is calculated by dividing the number of private passenger auto complaints upheld against an insurer and closed by the Department in 1998 by the insurer’s 1997-1998 average private passenger auto premium volume in New York State.

            This year for the first time, the ranking includes an honor roll, which identifies auto insurers that have finished among the top 25 in each of the last three rankings. The 13 auto insurers on the honor roll are: GRE, Amica Mutual, Allianz, Atlantic, Tri-State Consumer, USAA, Chubb & Son, Berkshire-Hathaway (GEICO), NY Central Mutual Fire, Metropolitan, Allmerica Financial, Liberty Mutual and US Fidelity & Guaranty.

            The 10 best performers in 1998 are:

1998
Rank


Company or Group

Complaint
Ratio

1997
Rank

  1
  2
  3
  4
  5
  6
  7
  8
  9
10

Aegon USA
Erie Insurance
GRE Insurance
Amica Mutual
Allianz Insurance
Atlantic
Eagle Insurance
Tri-State Consumer
USAA
Chubb & Son

0.00
0.00
0.03
0.04
0.04
0.05
0.06
0.06
0.06
0.08

26
**
  4
  2
19
10
14
  8
  3
13

** Did not appear in 1997 ranking.

            The 10 insurers with the highest complaint ratios are:

1998
Rank


Company or Group

Complaint
Ratio

1997
Rank

51
50
49
48
47
46
45
44
43
42

Leucadia
Eveready
Zurich-American
General Electric
Reliance
American Financial
SAFECO
Lumbermans Mutual
Nationwide
Merchants Mutual

0.57
0.38
0.34
0.34
0.30
0.28
0.27
0.25
0.24
0.23

  50*
44
38
  50*
**
23
**
22
31
47

*In 1997, Leucadia and General Electric comprised one group.
** Did not appear in 1997 ranking.

            The five largest auto writers in New York State are ranked as follows:

Company or Group

1998
Complaint
Ratio


1998
Ranking

1997-1998
Average
Premiums
(in millions)

Allstate
State Farm
Berkshire Hathaway (GEICO)
Travelers
Progressive

0.17
0.16
0.08
0.12
0.15

30
29
11
16
25

$1,589.3
  1,033.9
     791.9
    491.0
    466.6

          

             The Department encourages any New Yorker unable to resolve a complaint against an insurance company, broker, agent or adjuster to call the Department’s toll free number at 1-800-342-3736 or visit the Department’s website at www.ins.state.ny.us to download a complaint form. Copies of the new Auto Ranking are available on the website or by calling 1-800-342-3736.
      


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