Oregon Mutual and Mutual of Enumclaw Graded Best Overall by Oregon Body Shops

Two Northwest Insurers and USAA Get Top Grades from Oregon Body Shops

State Farm may still be the largest auto insurer in Oregon, but it’s no longer the best, according to the latest survey of Oregon collision repair shops.

The survey by the Northwest Automotive Trades Association (NATA) asked shops to grade the Top 20 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 was the eighth time the association has conducted such a survey since 2004, and State Farm had topped the list each time, finishing last year with a B+ grade. But in a year in which State Farm required its “Select Service” shops in Oregon to use PartsTrader, shops dropped the insurer’s mark by a full grade to C+, putting it in fourth place in the survey, virtually tied with Progressive, California Casualty and other insurers. Multiple shops commented on PartsTrader as the reason for giving the insurer a low (or lower than in past years) grade.

Two smaller Northwest-based auto insurers continue to be among the best at taking care of their customers after an accident, according to shops. Oregon Mutual’s grade slipped a bit from a B+ last year to a B this year, but that was still good enough to share the top spot with Mutual of Enumclaw. Both companies have consistently been among the top four insurers in the survey every year. Shops in this year’s survey commented that the two are “excellent to work with” and “take care of their customers.” In terms of market share in Oregon, Mutual of Enumclaw and Oregon Mutual are ranked 12th and 13th, respectively.

USAA nudged up from a C+ to a B- this year, jumping from sixth place to third, its best showing ever in the survey. “They really care about their customers,” one shop noted.

Farmers Insurance was the only insurer to receive a D+ this year, keeping it at the bottom of the rankings for the third year in a row.

“Just as medical providers see how health insurers take care of patients, collision repair shops interact with auto insurers on a daily basis, so we feel it’s worthwhile to ask how those insurers treat Oregon drivers after an accident,” said Barbara Crest, NATA executive director. “We believe their views will be helpful to insurance companies and consumers.”

About 500 collision repair shops throughout the state received the survey. Crest pointed to a number of items of interest in the findings of the latest survey:

  • In addition to USAA, two other insurers saw their grades improve from the 2013 survey. GEICO (which had a D+ in 2012) and Safeco each nudged up to a C this year, up from a C- last year.
  • Though State Farm’s drop was the most severe, seven other insurers saw their grades decline this year. Travelers was ranked fourth last year with a B-, but fell to a C this year. American Family, Allstate and Esurance (which is owned by Allstate) each dropped from a C to a C-. Shops cited inconsistency in the claims staff and policies at these companies.
  • Progressive has continued to work its way up the list, having had a D+ or worse (and the lowest or second-lowest ranking) in every survey between 2004 and 2009. It was 16th on the list in 2012, eighth last year and fifth this year.
  • Farmers received an “F” from about one-in-four shops, the most failing grades received by any insurer. (By comparison, Allstate and Esurance, the other lowest-graded insurers, each received about half as many Fs as Farmers).
  • About one-in-three shops gave Oregon Mutual and Mutual of Enumclaw a grade of “A.” Last year, State Farm received an “A” from well over half of shops, but this year less than one-in-four shops gave it an “A” grade.
  • In most cases, the grades given to a particular insurer from shops involved in that insurer’s DRP were higher than those given by shops that are not part of that insurer’s program. This was particularly true with California Casualty and USAA; their DRP shops gave them grades of A- or better while non-DRP shops gave each of these insurers a C and C+, respectively. But even Farmers Insurance direct repair shops gave that insurer only a C.

“Collision repairers say the insurers receiving the highest grades – which include both larger and smaller insurance companies – do the best job of taking care of Oregon drivers after an accident,” Crest said. “We hope consumers will take these ratings into account when choosing an auto insurer, and that insurers that received lower grades will work to improve their performance.”

More than 50 shops throughout Oregon responded to the survey.

2014 Insurer Report Card

What grade do Oregon collision repair shops give auto insurers in terms of how their “policies, attitude and payment practices ensure quality repairs and customer service for Oregon motorists?”

Insurer Overall Grade* (followed by   grade in 2013) Non-DRP Shops** DRP Shops**
Oregon Mutual B     (B+) B A-
Mutual of Enumclaw B      (B) B- A-
USAA B-    (C+) C+ A-
State Farm C+    (B+) C B-
Progressive C+    (C+) C+ N/A
California Casualty C+    (C+) C A
Kemper / Unitrin C+    (C+) C B+
The Hartford C+    (C+) C B-
Ameriprise C      (C+) C B-
American Commerce C      (C+) C B-
Country Companies C      (C+) C+ N/A
Liberty Mutual C      (C) C N/A
Nationwide C      (C) C N/A
Safeco / North Pacific C      (C-) C N/A
Travelers C      (B-) C B-
GEICO C         (C-) C- N/A
American Family C-      (C) C- C+
Allstate C-      (C) C- B-
Esurance C-      (C) C- B-
Farmers Insurance D+    (D+) D+ C

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

2nd Qtr Newsletter from the Benefits Department

Premier NW Insurance Newsletter
2nd Quarter 2010

COBRA/State Continuation Subsidy Extension

On April 15, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Continuing Extension Act of 2010 (HR 4851). Among other provisions, this law once again extends the COBRA subsidy eligibility period under ARRA, this time through May 31, 2010.

As with ARRA, the changes affect continuation coverage offered under COBRA and any comparable state law. Like its COBRA predecessors, this law takes immediate effect and is retroactive to April 1, 2010.

The law makes the following changes:

    New Sunset Date: The COBRA subsidy eligibility period (for Qualifying Events on or after September 1, 2008) now ends on May 31, 2010. This period had expired on March 31, 2010. As a refresher, the subsidy is a 65 percent discount off the regular COBRA premium for up to 15 months. Only Assistance Eligible Individuals (AEIs) qualify for the subsidy.

    Eligible Qualifying Events: As before, two types of Qualifying Events are subsidy eligible. The first one is an involuntary termination of employment. The second one is a reduction in hours followed by an involuntary termination of employment if that involuntary termination occurs on or after March 2, 2010, and on or before May 31, 2010.

The new law does not change the length of the COBRA maximum coverage period. It is still based on the original reduction in hours Qualifying Event date. Also, the subsidy period (up to 15 months) is unchanged.

UPDATE on Health Care Reform

As you know, Health Care Reform has passed and continues to be discussed and analyzed and debated! To help you understand how this reform will affect you and your employees, we have attached a simplified timeline for the major components of the law.

In the immediate future (for groups renewing in October 2010 and each month thereafter) the major changes that will affect your health insurance policy in 2010 are:

    1. Dependent Children will be covered to age 26
    2. Bans lifetime and annual maximums
    3. Children cannot be excluded from group or individual coverage for pre-existing conditions.
    4. Requires insurance carriers to fully cover preventive care services (with no cost sharing by subscriber)
    5. Provides a Tax Credit available for Small Employers (under 25 employees for calendar year 2010) who purchase health coverage for their employees.

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A few other items to be aware of that will become effective in 2011:

    1. Employees who have access to a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) will no longer be able to be reimbursed through the FSA for over the counter drugs.

    2. Employees who have access to an HSA account will now be taxed 20% (was 10%) for non-qualified medical expense distributions.

We will continue to keep you updated on any changes in the law or updates as we are notified. We also would encourage you to sign up on the State of Oregon DHS website, for daily updates to Health Care Reform. That website is:

The CLASS Act (part of Health Care Reform)

There is a small “hidden” provision that was deep in the heart of the Health Reform Law that was passed, which may escape people’s radar, but is important for employers to know about. It is THE CLASS Act (Community Living Assistance Services and Support). This is a government sponsored, long-term care plan that offers a basic level of guaranteed issue coverage to working Americans. Employers will be strongly encouraged to offer this plan, but it will not be mandatory. As of now, it appears that all working Americans will be automatically enrolled in this program unless they choose to opt-out. Premiums have not been set, but they will be automatically deducted from employees’ checks. The government is hoping to raise revenue with this product to help pay for the cost of the Health Care Reform.

Employee Benefits Department Contacts:

Suzie Moll, Employee Benefits Manager

  • 503-655-6344 ext 33
  • Stephanie Bartrug, Employee Benefits Specialist

  • 503-655-6344 ext 27
  • Robert Rivenburgh, Employee Benefits Specialist

  • 503-655-6344 ext 32
  • Jared Harding, Employee Benefits Specialist

  • 503-655-6344 ext 29
  • Lisa Ewers, Office Support, Individual/Medicare

  • 503-655-6344 ext 31
  • 1st Qtr Newsletter from the Benefits Department

    Premier NW Insurance Newsletter
    1st Quarter 2010

    COBRA/State Continuation Subsidy Update

    A new federal act, HR 4691 now extends the eligibility period for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act premium subsidy for an additional 31 days (through March 31, 2010) and clarifies eligibility for the subsidy resulting from an involuntary termination of employment that follows a period of reduction in hours of work that caused an individual to lose health benefits under a group health benefit plan. These temporary rules make the same changes to the state continuation program allowing Oregonians enrolled in the state continuation plans to receive the maximum subsidy provided by the federal law.

    More information can be located at:

    Premium Assistance Helps Families Afford Coverage
    If employees are eligible for your group health coverage, but are unable to afford their portion of the premiums or dependent coverage, a state premium assistance program may be able to help. Several states use funds from their Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) programs to help people who are eligible for employer-sponsored health coverage, but need help in paying their health premiums.
    As part of Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA), employer groups with plan years beginning after February 4, 2010, are required to notify employees of possible premium assistance under state Medicaid and CHIP programs annually.
    • Medicaid Web site:
    • Medicaid phone: (800) 359-9517
    • CHIP Web site: app_benefits/ohp4u.shtml
    • CHIP phone: (800) 359-9517
    • Medicaid phone: (800) 562-3022
    • CHIP Web Site:
    • CHIP Phone: (866) 543-7669
    • SHIBA FAQ Sheet:
    Here is a link to the Model Notice:
    For more information on special enrollment rights, please visit the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration Web site at

    Health Care Reform

    On Sunday, March 21, 2010 the House narrowly approved the Senate-passed healthcare reform bill by a vote of 219 to 212. The bill will be sent immediately to President Obama to be signed into law in a ceremony expected on Tuesday.

    Also Sunday night, the House approved the reconciliation bill containing “fixes” to the Senate-passed bill by a vote of 220 to 211. The reconciliation package will now go to the Senate, where it is expected to face numerous procedural challenges and amendments. If the Senate adopts any changes to the proposal, the House will have to take another vote on the reconciliation bill.

    We will continue to keep ourselves apprised of these matters as they develop and we will make certain to advise you of any changes that occur that could impact your coverage.

    Supplemental Benefits

    As insurance costs rise employers are making the choice to modify their benefits to keep their plans as affordable as possible. We recognize that this is a difficult decision and we want to offer assistance in finding creative ways to cover the gap that higher deductible plans can leave. As such we have partnerships with both Aflac and Colonial Life. Both carriers offer a variety of accident and sickness plans that employees can purchase to help cover their out-of-pocket expenses. If you would like to learn more about these options please contact your agent.

    Individual Plan Updates

    Keep in mind Premier NW Insurance is a full-service agency. If you or your employees need assistance with an Individual medical, dental or Medicare plan, please contact Lisa Ewers at 503-655-6344 or email

    ¬¬¬¬¬¬Employee Benefits Department Contacts:

    Suzie Moll, Employee Benefits Manager 503-655-6344 ext 33
    Stephanie Bartrug, Employee Benefits Specialist 503-655-6344 ext 27 Robert Rivenburgh, Employee Benefits Specialist 503-655-6344 ext 32
    Lisa Ewers, Office Support, Individual/Medicare 503-655-6344 ext 31

    4th Qtr Newsletter from the Benefits Department

    Medicare Update

    Plan sponsors must notify participants of a plan’s creditable prescription drug coverage status at least once a year by November 15. The notice must be provided to all Part D-eligible individuals who are covered under, or who apply for, the plan sponsor’s prescription drug coverage. 

    These individuals include Medicare beneficiaries who are active employees, disabled, on COBRA/State Continuation, as well as Medicare beneficiaries who are covered as spouses or dependents (including those spouses or dependents who may be disabled or on COBRA/State Continuation) under active employee coverage.  

    Typically it may be hard for a group administrator to discern who meets this criteria especially when it comes to spouses and/or dependents, so it is our recommendation that you send the notices to all employees and their families. This is especially important if a plan is not creditable, because participants in a non-creditable plan will pay a penalty if they later enroll in Medicare Part D.  

    In addition, plan sponsors must provide notice of creditable coverage annually, when a beneficiary first becomes eligible for Part D, when plan changes are made, or when a beneficiary requests it. Failure to properly inform plan participants of creditable coverage status could cost participants significantly if they later elect to enroll in Medicare Part D instead of the plan sponsor offering.  

    Finally, you also are required to disclose the creditable coverage status of your plan to CMS via the Disclosure to CMS form on the CMS website. The disclosure must be made to CMS on an annual basis, and upon any change that affects whether the coverage is creditable.  The link to the CMS website is below.  

    You should be receiving a letter from your health plan that will notify you if your current drug plan meets the criteria of a Creditable or Non-Creditable plan. If you need assistance in making that determination you may also contact our office. 

    UPDATE on 1% Premium Tax—Rate Calculation change 

    On September 18th, 2009 the Oregon insurance division issued another bulletin that replaced the original bill that was signed in August to assess the 1% premium tax.  The new bulletin changes the way that the premium tax is calculated and implemented.  We are hearing that all the insurance  companies (except for Regence),  have calculated this incorrectly and they will be correcting it on your November 1st billing.  Please call our office if you have any questions regarding this change. 

    Health Care Reform 

    It seems that we can’t open a newspaper, watch the news or have a conversation with friends without discussing the current Health Care Reform efforts.  There is a lot of press and talk about what the government is proposing and it can all be very confusing.  There is talk of mandated coverage, fines, coverage for everyone, a public option, affordability, increasing taxes to pay for the reform….and the list goes on and on.  We encourage you to read as much as you can and stay informed, as the proposals and issues change daily.  We will be sure to update you with any changes that will affect your coverage as they occur.     

    Group Profile Forms 

    Every year, your carrier sends you a Oregon Standardized Group Profile Form that they are required by the State of Oregon to mail out to mainly verify your employer size and they also ask for some additional items.  The carriers will NOT release the renewal without this information and will in some instances, either terminate your plan or inflate the rate increase unnecessarily.  Please contact your agent here in the office, if you need assistance in filling this form out.  It is very important that it is completed timely and correctly and we are more than happy to assist you!  

    Flu Shot Season 

    We are right in the middle of flu season….so we would like to remind you and your employees to go get a flu shot.  This is an important preventive action that we all can take to prevent the spread of this virus.  Please access your carrier website, or call customer service to find out your coverage for flu shots.  Most of the carriers will cover the flu shot for your doctor visit copay, and some are free.    The H1N1 vaccine is also coming in and being available and most carriers are covering the vaccine for the at risk (young children, pregnant women, elderly) for the same benefit as the regular flu shot.  You can also call our office and we can help you determine your coverage.   

    Helpful Information from the Department of Consumer & Business Services 

    In July 2009 the DCBS issued a NEWS RELEASE  that lists resources from each of the major carriers here in Oregon to help health care consumers find out in advance what the cost of their care will be. 

    If you would like a copy, please contact a member of our team.  



    Employee Benefits Department Contacts: 

    Suzie Moll, Employee Benefits Manager                     503-655-6344    ext 33

    Stephanie Bartrug, Employee Benefits Specialist     503-655-6344    ext 29

    Robert Rivenburgh, Employee Benefits Specialist   503-655-6344    ext 32

    Lisa Ewers, Office Support, Individual/Medicare   503-655-6344    ext 31

    Smoke Alarm Tips

    A smoke alarm should be installed and maintained according to the manufacture’s instructions.   When installing a smoke alarm many factors influence where you place it, including how many are being installed.  Consider placing alarms along your escape path to assist in egress when visibility is limited.  In general you should place alarms in the center of a ceiling or, if placed on a wall, they should be 6 to 12 inches below the ceiling.


    Install a working smoke alarm on every level of the home, outside the sleeping areas and inside bedrooms.


    Replace smoke alarm batteries at least annually, such as when resetting clocks in the fall or spring.


    Test all smoke alarms in your house once a month.


    Do not place a smoke alarm too close to a kitchen appliance or fireplace, as this may result in nuisance alarms.


    Avoid locating alarms near bathrooms, heating appliances, windows or ceiling fans.


    Replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old.  Smoke alarms don’t last forever.


    Develop and practice a fire escape plan, because working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan increases your protection in case of a fire.