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August 13, 2013

Area insurer honored for customer satisfaction

By Bera Dunau Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — New York Central Mutual Fire Insurance Company was honored Monday with an award from J.D. Power and Associates for “Highest Customer Satisfaction among Auto Insurers in New York.”

“It puts us in a class above everybody else really in New York state,” said Jeremy Robinson, senior vice president of marketing at the Edmeston-based company.

J.D. Power and Associates is an American-based global marketing and information services firm. While it is well known for its customer satisfaction research in the automotive industry, it also collects data on a wide range of industries, from healthcare to finance.

It obtains the majority of its income from selling the data derived from its surveys to businesses.

NYCM Insurance was selected for the award based off J.D. Power and Associates 2013 U.S. Auto Insurance StudySM. This national study, based off over 45,000 total responses, measured customer satisfaction across five factors: Interaction, price, policy offerings, billing, and payment and claims. Companies were evaluated across 11 regions, with ten companies being ranked and award-eligible in the New York Region.

In order to be considered for ranking in New York, a company had to have reported at least $190 million collected in insurance premiums annually.

J.D. Power and Associates U.S. Auto Insurance Study was started in 2000. Originally a purely national survey, the company made the decision to switch to a regional design two years ago.

Last year, New York and New England were combined into one region. This year, when the number of regions was expanded from seven to 11, New York was given its own region.

On the 1,000-point scale measuring customer satisfaction, NYCM Insurance scored 814, the highest among award-eligible insurers in the state. The average score for New York insurers was 776.

“Small local companies can make a difference,” said Robinson, when asked his reaction to out ranking large national companies.

Indeed, NYCM Insurance ranked better in New York than such household names as State Farm, GEICO and Allstate.

“It’s really all about serving the customer, whoever that may be,” said Robinson, when asked to define the company’s core philosophy.

Based in Edmeston, with offices in Sherburne, Amsterdam and Buffalo, NYCM Insurance has just under 900 employees and approximately 450,000 in force policies. It exclusively does business in New York state.

“Our primary focus is automobile and homeowner (insurance),” said Robinson, who estimated that this was 95% of the company’s business.

He also said that, while they had a slightly larger amount of policy holders in upstate New York, their business was distributed relatively evenly throughout the state.

“It went spectacular,” said Robinson, when asked how the presentation of the award had gone.

The award was received by NYCM Insurance’s President and CEO V. Daniel Robinson, at the company’s home office in Edmeston on Monday. It was presented by Stephen Crewdson, a representative for J.D. Power and Associates.

Also present at the awards ceremony were Assemblyman William Magee (D-Nelson) and state Sen. James Seward (R-Milford), both of whom spoke.

“Our immediate plans are to continue our focus in bettering ourselves here in New York State,” said Jeremy Robinson, when asked whether there were plans to expand into other states. “We know the state probably better than anybody else.”

“We certainly hope that it helps us grow.”