The good news for health insurers is that they’re improving their reputation, but they still aren’t receiving high service marks from customers.

Satmetrix released its 2011 Net Promoter Industry Benchmarks for 17 industries, including auto, health, homeowners and life insurance. More than 22,000 U.S. consumers nationwide rated up to two companies from whom they have purchased products or services within the previous 12 months.

A company’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) is based on customers’ likelihood to recommend the company. NPS is calculated as the percentage of customers who are Promoters, rating the company nine or 10 on a zero-to-ten point scale, minus the percentage who are Detractors, rating six or lower.

Consumers also rated each company on various aspects of customer experience, including product or service features, customer service and overall value.

The average score in the health insurance category climbed seven points from last year to -5%, but remained the lowest of all sectors profiled.

A new addition to the benchmark this year, Kaiser Permanente, led the category with a positive NPS of 28% compared to the sector average of -5%. CIGNA once again ranked last among major health insurers with an NPS of -24%.

The average NPS (0%) for life insurers dropped seven points compared to last year, with State Farm still leading at 19%. Auto insurance averaged 35%, and homeowners insurance averaged 27%. USAA dominated both sectors—73% for auto and 78% for homeowners.

"Having a great customer experience is critical to a company’s financial performance because it impacts both customer retention and new customer acquisition through word of mouth," says John Abraham, general manager of Net Promoter programs at Satmetrix.

"These benchmarks allow companies to compare their performance to industry peers based on an industry-standard measure of customer loyalty. But the big challenge for most companies is to figure out how to use customer feedback to drive improvements in their customer experience. Measuring is just the first step,"

Burns writes for Insurance Networking News, a SourceMedia publication.Follow EBN on: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Podcasts

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