New York State
Insurance Department


ISSUED: 12/4/2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DEPARTMENT RELEASES AUTO INSURERS RANKING OF CONSUMER COMPLAINTS AND ANNOUNCES AVAILABILITY OF CONSUMER GUIDE TO AUTO INSURANCE

           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 and announced that the Consumer Guide to Auto Insurance is now available.

            "It is important to know the facts when evaluating and choosing auto insurance coverage. The 2000 Guide provides sample premiums, practical tips, and information to help consumers understand the laws, regulations, and policies related to auto insurance in New York State. Consumers should also refer to the 1999 rankings as a way of measuring policyholder satisfaction," said Levin. "In New York, drivers have nearly 200 automobile insurance companies to choose from and these tools can help consumers select the company that is best for them. Both publications are free and are also available online. I encourage consumers to let the State Insurance Department help you get the most from your auto insurance dollar."

            Electric Insurance Company and Guideone Specialty Mutual Insurance Company, with no upheld complaints against them, -took the top two spots in the ranking. Amica Mutual Insurance Company, Interboro Mutual Indemnity Insurance Company, and USAA, rounded out the top five insurers with the fewest upheld complaints per million dollars of premium.

            Among New York’s ten largest insurers, five placed in the top 25 in lowest complaint ratios, Metropolitan (#16), New York Central Mutual Fire (#20), Citigroup (#22), State Farm (#23), and Progressive (#24). Two of New York’s ten largest insurers placed in top ten highest complaint ratios: Allstate (at 0.37 complaints per million dollars in premium) and Liberty Mutual (0.30). The five auto insurers with the highest complaint ratios are Legion (5.22), Leucadia (1.71), American Agents Insurance Group (0.57), Reliance (0.44), and Allstate (0.37). Allstate and State Farm are New York State’s largest private passenger automobile insurers.

            Companies ranked at the top of the list performed best in 1999 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 1999 by the insurer’s 1998-1999 average private passenger auto premium volume in New York State. Only complaints in which the insurer has been determined to be at fault are used to derive the complaint ratio.

            Also featured is the Department’s second annual honor roll of auto insurers, which identifies those auto insurers that have finished among the top 25 in each of the last three rankings. The 11 auto insurers comprising this year’s honor roll are: Electric Insurance Company, Amica Mutual, USAA Group, Atlantic Companies, Tri-State Consumer Insurance Company, Chubb & Son, Allmerica Financial Group, Eagle Insurance Company, Metropolitan, Group, Farm Family Group, and New York Central Mutual Fire Insurance Company.

            Also available is the 2000 Consumer Guide to Automobile Insurance. This comprehensive guide explains all mandatory and optional coverage in New York State and offers practical cost-saving tips and key information about applying for coverage. In addition, the Guide includes information about buying auto insurance on the Internet. The Guide contains lists of insurers, telephone numbers, and sample rates for various territories throughout New York State.

            Copies of the Auto Rankings and Consumer Guide can be obtained from the Department’s web site at www.ins.state.ny.us or by calling 1-800-342-3736. 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 or visit the Department’s web site to download a complaint form.


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