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ISSUED 10/25/2010 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

2010 AUTO INSURER COMPLAINT RANKING RELEASED

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company ranks best while Long Island Insurance Company ranks worst among insurers writing $1 million or more in premiums based on the number of consumer complaints upheld against auto insurers.

The New York State Insurance Department today released its 2010 Annual Ranking of Automobile Insurance Complaints showing how 167 insurers performed last year. The report is based on the number of consumer complaints the Department upheld against insurers in relation to the volume of the insurers’ businesses.

Nationwide Mutual ranks first on the report as the largest of 51 companies without a single upheld complaint. Long Island Insurance ranks 165th on the overall list and last among insurers with $1 million or more in premiums. There were 265 upheld complaints against the company.

“Consumers can use the information on this report to evaluate the performance of their insurance company. They can also use it to check the performance of other companies if they are looking for a new auto insurer. The auto insurance market in New York is competitive, so it’s always a good idea to compare prices, coverages and services,” said Insurance Superintendent James Wrynn.

The overall ranking shows that 6,808 complaints were closed in 2009 against auto insurance companies. Besides the 966 complaints upheld in favor of consumers, 3,738 complaints were withdrawn or not upheld, and 2,104 were ruled as “question of fact” cases. Question of fact disputes are not counted against insurers because the Department cannot determine the facts of these cases.

The report shows that New Yorkers spent just under $10 billion a year for car insurance.

Other highlights of the report:

  • The two largest insurers are Allstate Insurance Company and GEICO General Insurance Company. Allstate wrote $1.26 billion in premiums and had 180 upheld complaints; GEICO wrote $1.22 billion in premiums and had 15 upheld complaints.
  • ACE American Insurance Company, Granite State Insurance Company, Long Island Insurance, Zurich American Insurance Company and Victoria Fire & Casualty Company were the five insurers with the most upheld complaints in relation to their premiums.

The 2010 ranking is compiled using premium data from 2008 and 2009. Premium data from two years are analyzed to compensate for the fact that some complaints closed in any given year began in the previous year.

Typical consumer complaints involve monetary disputes, such as the value of a total loss, or complaints about insurance companies not renewing policies.

The ranking is posted at the following location on the Department’s website, http://www.ins.state.ny.us/arkidx.htm

The Department’s Consumer Guide to Automobile Insurance, which offers premium comparisons and other useful information, is also available on the website.

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