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Since we deal with insurance companies on a daily basis, we are often asked this question. The answer varies depending on what you are looking for — lowest price, level of service, ease of claim handling — and even then the answer is very subjective.

One objective measure of quality is the level of complaints registered against different companies with the Ohio Department of Insurance. ODI's website tracks the number and type of consumer complaints made each year against all insurers doing business in Ohio.

State Farm is by far the largest insurer in Ohio in the homeowner and auto markets. State Farm collects five times more HO premiums than its next closest competitor, and nearly three times more auto premiums. So, logically, it has the highest number of complaints.

But the ODI also has a category for Complaint to Market Share Ratio that puts all insurers on a level playing field. For HO insurers, the average number of complaints for all companies is .86.

Here are the 2015 complaint ratios for some HO insurers — and remember that like in golf a lower score is better:

More complaints than average IDS Property & Casualty 2.31
Standard Fire Insurance 2.12
Ohio Fair Plan 2.10
Ohio Mutual 1.62
Allstate Vehicle & Property 1.61
Auto Owners 1.56
Allstate Insurance Company 1.49
Allstate Property & Casualty 1.42
Average complaints Farmers Insurance Exchange .99
Grange Property & Casualty .89
Safeco Insurance .86
State Auto .82
Erie Insurance Exch. .82
Fewer complaints than average State Farm Fire & Casualty .66
Nationwide Property & Cas .61
Westfield National Ins. .52
Erie Ins. Co. .50
Motorists Mutual .43
Cincinnati Insurance .31
Metropolitan Prop & Cas .00
Western Reserve Mut Cas .00
Central Mutual Ins Co .00

In the auto insurer ranking, the average complaint ratio is .90:

More complaints than average First Acceptance 10.71
Alfa Vision Ins Co 6.88
Safe Auto 3.67
The General 3.64
Twin City Fire 1.75
Allstate Northbrook 1.71
About average GEICO 1.27
State Farm Fire & Casualty 1.18
Grange Mutual Casualty 1.12
American Family 1.07
Nationwide Mutual Fire 1.05
Ohio Mutual .94
Progressive .90
Farmers Ins Co .85
Allstate Fire & Cas .79
Fewer than average USAA .77
Motorists Mutual .74
Safeco .60
Westfield National .60
Allstate Ins Co .56
State Farm Mut Auto .54
Cincinnati Ins Co .54
State Auto .51
Central Mutual .33
Home Owners Ins Co .14

For life insurance companies, the average was .61:

More complaints than average Transamerica Premier 5.64
Western & Southern 3.66
Jackson National Life 2.90
American General 2.59
Prudential 2.08
About average Reliastar 1.05
Midland National .87
Hartford Life & Annuity Co .58
American Income Life .54
New York Life .43
Fewer complaints than average John Hancock .35
Mass Mutual Life .35
State Farm Life .28
Lincoln National .26
Guardian Life .10
Northwestern .03
Pacific Life .00

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