The car insurance industry has been hit with an unprecedented amount of consumer complaints and fraud over the past year.
The numbers are staggering: More than a million people had their vehicles inspected in 2015, up from fewer than 200,000 in 2014.
And in some states, there’s been a resurgence in auto insurance fraud.
But that doesn’t mean the industry is getting better.
“The industry is still in its infancy and has been for many years,” says Mark Reuss, senior vice president of consumer programs for Aon Hewitt.
“But the industry’s performance has been going up.”
Reuss, who’s also the director of business development for the Insurance Information Institute, says that consumers have been complaining about auto insurance for years.
He says that’s because they want a cheaper insurance option and are frustrated that auto insurance companies are more focused on protecting themselves than their customers.
The industry has a history of being an insular, insular place where it doesn’t really get the public’s attention.
It’s not like it’s a big, vibrant industry, like it has in the past.
There’s no media attention, no people on TV or radio talking about auto coverage or even auto insurance in general.
“People are not necessarily thinking about it,” he says.
“They’re not going to say, ‘I don’t have car insurance,’ because they don’t want to get caught.”
But with the recent surge in insurance fraud, Reuss says the industry needs to step up.
“It’s a business.
If you don’t do anything about it, you’re going to have problems,” he said.
For example, the average car insurance premium in the U.S. has doubled since 2010.
This is not surprising, given that the average U.K. household has a $6,000 premium, and an average U!
household pays $7,000.
Reuss says it’s time to start taking more steps to ensure that consumers are aware of their options.
He recommends that consumers read their policy, check with their insurance agent, and use their online broker to find out if their car insurance company is a good match.
And if they’re not satisfied with their agent, Reus says they should try another auto insurance company.
“I think that if we start talking about it with people, they’ll take notice and maybe they’ll do something about it.”
Reuses says that some consumers are actually taking advantage of these efforts.
“A lot of people will call their agent to find a new auto insurance, and they’ll say, I have no idea what auto insurance is.
But I know I can get an agent and find out.
That’s something we’ve never seen before,” he adds.
Reus also recommends that insurance companies change their policies so that consumers don’t pay extra for insurance coverage, or they pay for a deductible instead of insurance coverage.
“The best thing that can happen is if people realize they’re paying more, they’re going take the insurance out and maybe the company will refund them the difference,” he advises.
ReUSS says there’s also been a surge in the number of auto accident victims and claims in the last few years.
These incidents are usually a result of an uninsured driver who broke a tire, and when someone is injured in an accident, the insurance company doesn’t cover them, says Reuss.
“If someone’s in an auto accident and they have insurance, the insurer doesn’t pay for the accident.”
This trend has prompted some insurers to lower rates.
Reuss points to a study he conducted with AAA, which found that auto insurers have increased premiums by nearly 60% in states where the number and rate of auto accidents has been on the rise.
He thinks this is part of the industry trying to catch up with consumer demand for insurance.
And, if consumers are more aware of auto insurance options, he says they’ll be more willing to pay for them.
“As consumers, we’re trying to learn how to better understand our options, so we’re more likely to make the right choice,” he added.
“But in the meantime, consumers have to be aware of the risks of car insurance,” Reuss adds.
“You can’t just take a policy off the market and go buy a car.”
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