At Auto Insurance Report we have a single goal: to help everyone in the auto insurance business figure out where the market is going. Toward that end, we strive to analyze current developments in light of market history and attempt to project what might come next. It isn’t easy, but it certainly is fun and interesting.
The newsletter has a few fixed features as well as analytical essays. A fixture of our coverage for nearly two decades are stories focused on a single state auto insurance market. We publish tables of the largest personal and commercial auto insurers, with premium, market share, and loss ratio over three years, and publish exclusive tables on after-tax industry profitability. Our reporting examines the competitive, regulatory, legislative, judicial and cultural landscape for insurers and consumers alike. A “snapshot” feature summarizes the key statistical data about the state as it relates to auto insurance. We look at each state roughly once every two years.
Auto Insurance Report is also the publication of record as it relates to national premium and loss ratio data. Each year we publish a list of virtually every active personal and commercial auto insurance company. We examine claims trends by state, including a closer look into the differing activity in liability and physical damage coverages.
The newsletter analyzes the latest data on average insurance costs for consumers, including an exclusive “PAIN Index,” which calculates the cost of insurance relative to personal income. That way we can better gauge the states where auto insurance is likely to be a more challenging political issue.
No publication takes a closer look at the various auto insurance customer satisfaction surveys. We also take a regular look at spending on insurance advertising, the role of involuntary insurance markets, and the connection between auto insurance and homeowners insurance.
In the past decade, information analysis has become a critical part of the auto insurance business. Toward that end, we have devoted ourselves to constant examination of new data and analytical tools. A major part of the auto insurance industry today are the many companies that do not take on risk as insurers, but rather provide insurers with the information, tools, skills, and insights to do a better job assessing risk, setting prices, attracting and managing customers, and settling claims. We consider these providers to be just as central to our coverage as the insurers themselves, and work just as hard to serve them as readers.
Several times a year the newsletter is given over to longer essays examining important trends in the market. Often these essays are connected to our work at the Auto Insurance Report National Conference. Here are a few topics that have received detailed examination in recent issues:
• The failure of insurers to effectively recruit top talent
• The challenge that the long-term reduction in auto accidents presents to insurers
• The importance of social networking to insurance marketing
• The emergence of smart-phone claims tools
Our writing style is conversational, some would say casual, and is given to bad puns, goofy headlines, stray references from pop culture, sports, literature and history, as well as an affinity for awkward alliteration.
The newsletter is published weekly, 48 times a year, is usually eight pages, and is distributed in the most remarkable fashion: through the United States Mail. While the rest of the world struggles to move their information through the desperately crowded and jumbled electronic pipeline of email and the Internet, we have found this wonderful and underutilized premium delivery service that will take a document we have already printed for you and hand carry it right to your desk.
We launched this newsletter in 1993 when it became clear that no publication was paying attention to auto insurance, which is only the single biggest business in property and casualty insurance and one of the largest industries in the United States. At $186 billion in premium between personal and commercial lines, auto insurance represents more than 40% of the entire property and casualty business. The industry is dominated by many companies that are not publically traded, and therefore of only marginal interest to Wall Street and investors. Without investor interest, informed reporting and analysis on any business is dampened. Compound this with the “insurance is boring” factor, and you wind up with a gigantic industry that garners little attention.
Each week we start our work with a seemingly strange and definitely unique point of view: auto insurance is endlessly fascinating. Since our reporting staff has covered virtually every segment of the U.S. economy, we can say with some authority that in fact auto insurance is among the most interesting industries in the world.
That opinion won’t win you many friends at a cocktail party, so when asked we start by telling new acquaintances that we are writers. That always gets a smile. What do you write about? “Business” is a hopeful first response. When pressed further we say “finance.” When pressed to the wall, we confess “auto insurance.” The smile disappears, and the conversation turns to the weather. We’re used to it, as are most of our readers.
In truth, this failure of the public to understand auto insurance is a tremendous opportunity for all involved in the industry. Agents benefit because customers want help in navigating the waters of insurance, which the public would prefer not to explore on their own. People will spend 100 hours trying to decide which $300 digital camera is best for them, but not 15 minutes exploring insurance policies costing them thousands of dollars a year. That enables insurers to keep customers who might otherwise shop with competitors. Indeed, it takes hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising for companies trying to grow, such as Geico, to convince customers to give them a try. And for newsletter publishers, it allows us to have a great time serving a fascinating industry without anyone giving us a hard time.
If you’re read this far, you are just as crazy as we are, and we strongly encourage you to subscribe.