We have discussed answering the question of who the best car insurance company might be…. In this discussion we made reference to the fact that there need to be certain specified criteria which such a company must comply with. In this Blog post we would like to place the spotlight on such criteria in our quest for the top car insurance company.
Accreditation and Compliance
The most important requirement needs to be the financial sustainability of the insurer and confirmation that the car insurer is operating a legitimate business. Only if that insurance company is regulated under the financial services laws of the country you are in will you be able to call upon the law to remedy any financial loss you might suffer from improper conduct by the car insurance provider.
In South Africa this means simply that the car insurance company must be registered as a financial services provider [FSP] with the Financial Services Board. To qualify as a registered services provider and more specifically – a provider of short term insurance products, the provider would have had to provide sound financial statements, provide compliance reports, have professional liability insurance etc.
Only once these requirements are complied with could you purchase a car insurance policy with peace of mind and have a legitimate expectation of your claim being honoured.
Size of the company
Does size really matter? The biggest car insurer is not necessarily the best – the saying amongst fund managers that it is difficult to turn around a big ship is often true. Size does however reflect on experience and on reputation.
Could tens of thousands of clients all be wrong? Would you feel comfortable being the first car insurance client of a new start-up insurer?
To be on the safe side – don’t embark on a journey in unknown territory. Rather opt for the insurer who has built a solid client base and has either been in existence for more than a year or has a big brother financial company who is of recognized size and reputation.
Affordability / Pricing
Affordability and competitive pricing will always be at the top of the expectations of car insurance clients. The best car insurance company might not be the cheapest – and there might always be cheaper car insurance companies cutting a few corners in an effort to gain clients, but the best company will be competitive and reasonable in providing value at reasonable rates.
The best car insurance companies will be alert to the needs of consumers and will also be at the forefront in their awareness of price comparisons between competitors in the same sphere.
Systems / Recordkeeping/ Filing
Professionalism to be expected from the top car insurers will require that these companies are effective in their business systems. The requirements of accreditation also require that the necessary systems will be in place for recording, filing and data capturing. This will ensure that the car insurance company, their key personnel and representatives comply with strict standards of professionalism.
Documentation and other communication like voice recordings between the client and the insurance company will be easily accessible in the event of a dispute.
The best insurance companies will not have a large client base if they do not have a solid reputation. Word of mouth is the best way to increase a client base and these companies are aware of the importance of a good reputation in attracting new client and keeping their existing clients.
The best car insurance companies will protect their reputation from bad press and publicity and are less likely not to meet the legitimate expectations of clients.
Area of Expertise
It is important to focus on the specific area of expertise. The best car insurance company might not provide products for every single short term financial need – but should be particularly strong in a specific field of expertise. It is important to keep in mind that “sometimes someone might be a jack of all trades and a master of none”. You will need to find the car insurance company with a proven track record in car insurance.
If you need insurance in a specific specialized areas such as trucks, 4×4’s, sports cars or motorcycles it might be important to find a provider with specialized expertise in those areas.
Brand value is closely associated with reputation. Some insurers might spend more on the marketing budget in getting the brand across and might increase the value of the brand with high visibility advertising campaigns. The proof will however be in the consumer experience and whether these companies are able to protect their brand value and reputation through satisfied consumers.
The best car insurance companies will be brand conscious and spend not only money in protecting the brand – but more importantly – will put effort into training of personnel and managing systems of service delivery.
Customer Service / Responsiveness / Efficiency
It might be easy to find an affordable insurance premium, but what if you have to submit a claim? Can you expect the process from contacting the insurer, processing your claim and receiving the correct amount to be seamless and without hidden pitfalls? The best car insurance companies will be able to retain clients who have been part of this process and who are satisfied that this was managed swiftly and with the necessary professionalism.
This does not confirm that every claim will be paid immediately – but if all the requirements have been met and the insured client has complied with what has been asked from him and has a legitimate claim, the process should be smooth and without unnecessary delay! The best car insurance companies will not send clients from A to B to Z and contribute to additional stress and anxiety of clients who have been through the trauma of an accident, hijacking or other vehicle damage or loss!
Innovation / Comprehensiveness of Product Range
The best car insurance companies will be innovative in their products and their service delivery. They will be keeping up with modern innovations in technology and can be expected to be active online. They will enable consumers to interact online and provide more information on the company and their products online and will allow consumers to compare their offerings with those of others.
They will not need to hide information and will be accessible and open in their strategy and product range. The best car insurance companies will have a long term focus and will continually seek to improve both products and competitiveness of these products.
The above are all characteristics of the BEST car insurance companies! Do you find them in your existing car insurance company? Always be alert to changes in the car insurance industry and constantly monitor if your short term insurance needs are protected with professionalism and diligence!