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Life And Health Customer Approval Surveyed

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Life and health insurers saw a slight improvement in their customer satisfaction scores last year, although they still lag behind the property and casualty insurance industry in that category, according to a national survey.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index, Ann Arbor, Mich., says its quarterly survey found life insurers scored 79 on its satisfaction scale in 2009, up 1 point over its 2008 score but lagging p&c companies, which averaged a score of 80 in 2009.

On the life side, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance improved 3 points to 81; New York Life Insurance jumped 3 points to 80; MetLife dropped one point to 77, and Prudential Financial dropped two points to 77. All other life insurers rose an average 1 point to 80.

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ACSI credited the increases for both p&c and life companies to improvements in their customer relationships.

Health insurers rose 2 points, the to a score of 75. ACSI noted that some health insurers, notably UnitedHealth and Aetna, tried to rein in costs and provide better service, which made an impact on customer satisfaction.

Smaller insurers led the increase with an overall score of 77, up 1 point, followed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which was unchanged at 73. UnitedHealth leaped 9 points to 72, while Aetna rose 5 points to 70. WellPoint dropped 1 point to 67.