ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Customer satisfaction with U.S. health insurers is up, according to a new survey by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).
People who purchased health insurance coverage on the individual market rate their insurers almost as high as those who get coverage through their employer, according to the Nov. 15 report. Individual purchasers gave their insurers a score of 71 on a 100-point scale while a score of 72 was given by Americans covered by group plans.
ACSI’s report covers the Finance and Insurance sector, including retail banks, credit unions, health insurance, property and casualty insurance, life insurance and internet investment services (see infographic below).
The health insurance industry improves 4.3% to 72 as all major providers post gains. Large boosts for Aetna and Anthem lift the two companies into a tie for first place at 75. Kaiser Permanente is up 4% to 74, followed by the group of smaller insurers at 73. Humana (+1% to 72) matches the industry average, while Blue Cross and Blue Shield comes in just below at 71. UnitedHealth advances 6% to 70, and Cigna, despite improving the most, comes in last place at 67.
Policyholder satisfaction with life insurance is up 2.6% to an ACSI score of 79. Allstate and New York Life overtake last year’s leader Thrivent to tie for first place at 82. Mutual of Omaha rises 7% to 81, matching Thrivent (-1%). Farmers surges 13% to 80, followed by Northwestern Mutual, State Farm and the combined score of all other smaller insurers at 79. Prudential (unchanged at 77) comes in higher than Lincoln Financial and MetLife (both 76). Besides Thrivent, Primerica is the only other life insurance provider to drop, losing 7% to 75.
Property and casualty insurance is the only category in the sector to decline, down 1.3% overall to 78. Waning customer satisfaction for the industry is the result of a 5% fall for smaller insurers. Many of the largest insurers, however, improve. AAA takes the lead, up 8% to 81. Nationwide increases by 5% to 79, GEICO inches up 1% to tie the industry average at 78, and the rest of the industry clusters below at 77. The exception is Farm Bureau, moving in the opposite direction and falling 8% to last place at 74.
Internet investment services overall jump 5.3% to an ACSI score of 80. All of the large Internet investment brokerages register customer satisfaction gains this year. Scottrade leads the category with an ACSI score of 83, up 5%. Four companies tie at 81 for second place: Charles Schwab (+4%), Edward Jones (+4%), Fidelity (+5%), and Vanguard (+1%). E*Trade is up 8% to 80, followed by the group of smaller brokers (+4%) and Merrill Edge (+8%) at 79. TD Ameritrade rises 7%, but remains in last place at 78.
“Customer satisfaction with internet investment services often reflects strength or weakness in U.S. financial markets,” says David VanAmburg, ACSI managing director. “This year, the industry rebound is clearly mirroring a resilient stock market.”
The ACSI report, which is based on 9,608 customer surveys collected in the third quarter of 2016, is available for free download at http://www.theacsi.org/news-and-resources/customer-satisfaction-reports/reports-2016/acsi-finance-and-insurance-report-2016.