NU Online News Service, Feb. 11, 2004, 3:54 p.m. EST – How well do insurers safeguard the privacy of online customers?[@@]
The Customer Respect Group, Bellevue, Wash., has examined Web sites put up by 70 large carriers and concluded that more than one-third do a poor job of protecting customers’ privacy.
The consulting firm looked at property-casualty and life company sites and used a 10-point scale to rate them on characteristics such as simplicity, transparency and responsiveness.
The firm gave its top rating, 9.6, to Cincinnati Financial Corp., Fairfield, Ohio, and its lowest rating, 3, to Unitrin Inc., Chicago. The average score was 6.8.
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This year’s results are comparable to the results published in 2003, but the top 2003 score was only 9.1, Customer Respect says.
The firm says 35% of insurers share data without getting permission from users. Only 63% of the firms respond to more than half of the online inquiries that they receive.
Unitrin President Don Southwell says the site that Customer Respect rated, http://www.unitrin.com, “is our Web site that we use for investor relations. It’s not intended to be a customer Web site. We have several others for customer use. This one isn’t.” The site links to sites for Unitrin’s auto, specialty and multiline companies and to a site for Kemper Auto and Home.