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Oregon Shops Rate State Farm High in New Study; Progressive, Allstate and Others Rated D+ or Lower

State Farm and small, local insurers in the Oregon area were rated highest recently in a survey of Oregon collision repair shops. The study, conducted by the Northwest Automotive Trades Association (NATA), also rated some of the largest and most well known insurers as the worst in taking care of their customers after an accident; among these were Progressive, Allstate, Safeco and Farmers Insurance.

"Collision repair shops on a daily basis see how various insurance companies take care of Oregon drivers after an accident, so we felt it was worthwhile to ask how they rate the various insurers," says Barbara Crest, executive director for the Northwest Automotive Trades Association (NATA), which conducted the survey of Oregon shops. "We believe their views will be helpful to insurance companies and consumers."

About 650 collision repair shops throughout the state received the survey, which asked them to grade the Top 22 auto insurers in the state in terms of how well each company's "policies, attitude and payment practices ensure quality repairs and customer service for Oregon motorists."

This is the third time the association has conducted such a survey since 2004.

As in past years, State Farm held on to the top spot in the survey, receiving an overall grade of B+, a slight drop from the A- it received in the two earlier surveys.

In addition to State Farm, three Northwest insurers-North Pacific/Liberty Northwest, Oregon Mutual and Mutual of Enumclaw-were again the only three to receive grades of B or B-, ranking them in the top four each time the survey has been conducted.

Four companies received below-average overall grades of D+ or lower. These companies were Farmers, Allstate, Progressive and Safeco.

The other 14 auto insurers on the survey-including Hartford, Liberty Mutual, USAA, American Family, California Casualty and Nationwide-received overall grades of between C+ and C-.

In most cases, the grades given a particular insurer from shops involved in that insurer's direct repair program (DRP) were higher than those given by shops that are not part of that insurer's program. This was particularly true with Progressive, GEICO, USAA, AIG, whose DRP shops gave them grades of B- or better while non-DRP shops gave these same insurers grades of C- or lower (a D- in the case of Progressive). But even Farmers and Nationwide's DRP shops gave those insurers only average grades of C.

California Casualty, American Family, AIG and GEICO received slightly higher grades in the 2008 survey compared to the 2006 survey. Country Companies is the only insurer to improve in each of the last two surveys, moving from a C- in 2004 to a C in 2006 and to a C+ this year.

Allstate showed the largest decline in grade and ranking compared to 2006, when it was about in the middle of the pack with a grade of "C." This year, shops gave Allstate a grade of D+, dropping it to the second-to-last spot in the rankings.

Safeco, which received a grade of C in 2004, has since remained near the bottom of the rankings in the two most recent surveys with a grade of D+. Progressive improved slightly from a D- in the last survey to a D this year, but remained at the bottom of the rankings. Only Progressive and Farmers have ranked in the bottom four among insurers in all three NATA surveys.

More than 100 shops from 48 Oregon communities responded to the survey, according to NATA. These shops had an average of 11 employees and have combined total sales of an estimated $144 million.

Insurer Report Card

Insurer Overall Grade* (followed by grade in 2006, if any) Non-DRP Shops** DRP Shops**
State Farm B+ (A-) B- A-
Oregon Mutual B (B) B- A-
North Pacific B- (B) B- B+
Mutual of Enumclaw B- (B-) B- B+
USAA C+ (C+) C+ A-
Country Companies C+ (C) C+ N/A
The Hartford C+ (C+) C+ B
Ameriprise C+ C+ B
Liberty Mutual C+ (C+) C+ B
California Casualty C+ (C) C+ B
Unitrin C (C) C B-
American Family C (C-) C B
Travelers C C B-
American Commerce Insur. C (C) C N/A
AIG C (C-) C- B+
GEICO C- (D+) C- B+
Nationwide C- (C-) C- C
Esurance C- C- B-
Farmers Insurance D+ (D+) D+ C
Safeco D+ (D+) D+ C+
Allstate D+ (C) D+ C+
Progressive D (D-) D- B-

N/A = Insufficient responses from shops in the DRP to assign a grade.

* Based on responses from all shops.

**Based only on responses from shops participating in (or not participating in) that insurer's DRP.

Source: NATA

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