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Twenty-seven years ago Wisconsin Reinsurance Corporation (WRC) founded 1st Auto & Casualty Insurance to offer auto insurance to mutual reinsurance customers. 1st Auto Insurance is based in Madison, WI and provides coverage in the following Midwestern states: Wisconsin, Illinois, South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas.
In the beginning, the carrier only offered personal auto insurance. Over time, they introduced commercial auto, farm truck, and umbrella insurance as well. Their products are sold exclusively through local agents affiliated with mutual companies reinsured by WRC. Therefore, consumers are not able to buy and bind policies online or over-the-phone.
1st Auto & Casualty Insurance does offer a 15% discount for bundling an auto policy with a home or farm insurance policy from one of their qualifying mutual clients. After some more digging, we found the company also offers other traditional discounts for mature drivers, safety features like airbags and safety restraints, as well as good student discounts. We can’t be sure the percentage of each discount provided.
One of the challenges of reviewing a small, regional carrier like 1st Auto & Casualty Insurance is the lack of available information. For example, 1st Auto has no real social media presence. There is an unofficial Facebook page but no Twitter, Instagram, or other online activity. Their corporate website is sparse. There is almost no mention on the web of 1st Auto & Casualty Insurance. Believe us, we looked everywhere!
We were disappointed to find no information specific to the financial strength of 1st Auto & Casualty Insurance. However, we are able to advise 1st Auto’s parent company, Wisconsin Reinsurance Group (WRC), reports $25 Million in assets. This is a good amount of funds available but not nearly as impressive as bigger carriers like Progressive’s $41 Billion in assets. Those extra zeroes can do a lot for a customer’s peace of mind. After all, you want to feel confident that the company insuring you won’t go bankrupt right before you need to file a claim.
Normally in this section we would provide ratings assigned by independent associations such as A.M. Best, Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P. In the case of 1st Auto & Casualty Insurance, there are no ratings to include. This means we can’t be sure of 1st Auto’s financial strength. The best we can do is share with you WRC’s most recent A.M. Best rating of B++ (Good). The parent company has been found by A.M. Best to have a good ability to meet their ongoing insurance obligations. In fact, WRC has actually received an improved rating from the B+ they held onto for 2016, 2015, and 2014.
WRC’s financial rating should translate to an equivalent rating for 1st Auto Insurance.
There is no online quoting feature available via 1st Auto & Casualty Insurance’s website. This is most likely because customers are expected to work directly with an agent. So if you are interested in securing a quote then you will need to contact one of the 1st Auto agents listed on their website.
Since we are not able to confirm their rates, we aren’t able to tell you how competitive this carrier actually is. We have no way of knowing if 1st Auto & Casualty Insurance can meet (or beat) the pricing offered by the big guys like Progressive, State Farm or Allstate.
This is another tough area to evaluate because small regional carriers don’t typically pop-up when doing customer satisfaction research. However, we can tell you Google has 13 customer reviews and a 1.5 star rating.
The negative feedback is mostly regarding slow and inaccurate service that directly impacted billing and claims processing. Several customers were disgruntled because they were still having premiums drafted after the policy was to be cancelled. The majority of customers were upset because claims handling was not done quickly, accurately, or in a friendly manner.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is the only other resource providing any insight into customer satisfaction. BBB gives 1st Auto & Casualty Insurance an A+ rating. There is one customer complaint from 2017 listed on the BBB website. The complaint has been resolved.
However, 1st Auto & Casualty Insurance is not a BBB accredited company.
As we mentioned earlier, 1st Auto directs customer to work with their local agent in filing a claim. If necessary, a customer does have the option of phoning a 24/7 toll-free claims hotline. Customers do not have the option of filing a claim online.
The carrier’s website features an auto glass claim button that will take the customer directly to Safelite Solutions. From the Safelite page, you can enter your policy number and the date your window was damaged. This electronic claim option is very convenient and what most of us expect nowadays!
The 1st Auto & Casualty Insurance website also has a list of repair shops throughout their covered states. By using one of the repair shops included on the company’s site, you will be able to expedite your claim and receive guaranteed work. However, you are not limited to the auto shops listed as part of the carrier’s repair network.
It seems to us that 1st Auto has some of the usual claims amenities but not all those we like to see when recommending a carrier.
1st Auto & Casualty Insurance is a small company offering products in a handful of Midwestern states (Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota, Missouri, and Wisconsin). Their website does list the type of coverage they sell but no specific details such as liability limits.
The types of insurance policies the carrier lists on their website include:
Personal Auto – This auto insurance can be extended beyond your day-to-day vehicle to antique autos, classic autos, recreational & utility trailers, motor homes, and one ton trucks or pick-ups.
You may also be able to get the 15% discount on auto insurance if you bundle a home/farm policy with a qualifying mutual customer.
Other discounts included for good student, mature driver, and airbag/passive restraints/anti-lock brakes. The actual percentage of the discount is not clear.
Farm Truck – This type of coverage is meant for farm trucks and semi trucks used under their Farm Truck program. (Unfortunately there isn’t much information included about the Farm Truck program. You would need to clarify the details with a 1st Auto agent.)
Commercial Auto – Coverage for vehicles used as part of your business by you or other employees. We can’t be sure if this commercial auto is only for passenger vehicles, or includes Class A vehicles such as semi-tractor trucks.
Umbrella – This type of policy helps provide an additional layer of liability coverage when you maximize your auto, home, or farm insurance. It also safeguards you and your family from certain type of incidents that are not covered under your other insurance plans.
The 1st Auto & Casualty Insurance Umbrella policy includes libel, slander, false arrest, and wrongful eviction at no additional cost.
Wisconsin Reinsurance Group’s small regional subsidiary, 1st Auto and Casualty Insurance, offers a modest assortment of policy options, including personal and commercial auto, as well as farm and umbrella insurance.
Beyond the very basics, we couldn’t find very much information to share. There are few customer reviews available and no details about pricing or coverage options.
After our analysis, we awarded 1st Auto a 2.5 star rating.
- A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau
- Limited financial ratings
- Limited discounts offered
- Insurance in WI, IA, IL, SD, AR, and MO only
- No rates, product info, claims filing, or purchasing online tools