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Review of California Casualty Insurance

Financial Health
Pricing
Customer Satisfaction
Discounts
Coverage Options
Average

Verdict

Competitive pricing, good reviews, and financial stability makes California Casualty solid option when searching for property and casualty insurance. This is especially true for the affinity groups they serve such as Firefighters, Teachers, EMS, Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, Educators, Peace Officers. 

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Overview

In 1914 Carl G. Brown Sr. formed California Casualty Insurance as a result of the state’s changing worker’s compensation laws. California Casualty was a customer-owned worker’s compensation insurer for the growing Golden State business market. Three years later Mr. Brown recognized a new opportunity with the rise of mass-produced vehicles and decided to redirect his company’s mission to selling automobile insurance. 

Over one hundred years later, California Casualty Group operates from San Mateo, California and offers a variety of products across 40 U.S. states. The only places where the property/casualty insurer is not currently available are Alaska, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin.

During the last century, the property and casualty insurer has remained under the close guidance of the Brown family. Carl B. (Beau) Brown, is the company’s current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. To this day, California Casualty employees follows a robust ethical code that pledges to fulfill all promises made to their customers. 

It’s also worth noting that California Casualty’s tagline of “We Protect American Heroes” is true as they are very focused on insuring Firefighters, Teachers, EMS, Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, Educators, Peace Officers.

Financial Health 

As of June 2019, AM Best has affirmed California Casualty’s Financial Stability Rating of “BBB++ (Good)”, indicating the company still has a very strong capital position.

However, it’s worth noting that AM Best has downgraded it’s Long Term Issuer Credit rating from BBB++ (Good) to a BBB (Fair). This was primarily due to increased natural disaster claims such as those caused by California’s epic 2018 wildfire season, which meant the home and auto insurer had to pay-out quite a bit of money to settle policyholder claims.

Non-the-less, as California Casualty transparently reported on their website, they were still able to book $379 Million in written premiums and $192 Million in Surplus last year.

Pricing

Consumers will enjoy the convenience of both online quoting and binding of coverage all from the company’s corporate website. Based on our sample quotes, it does appear California Casualty offers very competitive pricing. Plus, California Casualty offers plenty of popular discounts to enhance your savings such as a multi-policy 10% discount when the insured has home and auto coverage. 

The California Department of Insurance assessed California Casualty Group’s premiums to be middle-of-the-road when it comes to cost. Reviews of the company’s pricing shows the carrier frequently ranking in the top half of all personal insurance plans. 

Customer Satisfaction

California Casualty has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for the past eight years. They maintain an A+ BBB Rating based on positive customer service practices and positive client feedback. There are 16 customer reviews published on the BBB website, dating back to 2016. Each of the consumer reviews received a lengthy response from California Casualty and most of the complaints are typical of all insurance companies. 

Within the 2018 Annual Report, the carrier states customer retention increased to 92.7 percent which is the highest score to date. In addition, the company earned exceptional levels of customer satisfaction ratings specific to the “Service and Claims” category. 

Finally, we took a look at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) consumer complaint index report for California Casualty Group. In the NAIC 2018 analysis, the insurer experienced slightly more complaints than their competitors. We found 20 insured complaints were reported which, in fact, equates to less than 2% of their total 165,524 in-force customers. 

Claims Processing

New home and auto claims may be reported via the 24/7 toll-free claims phone number. Policyholders can also use an electronic claim form via the carrier’s website. Claims related to roadside assistance or glass damage must be phoned into separate toll-free claim numbers which are published on the website. 

California Casualty established their own Guaranteed Repair Network of quality auto body shops that provide lifetime warranties. However, claimants always have the option of selecting their own repair shop. The insurance company also has a partnership with Gerber National Glass for glass-only claims. 

Coverage Options

California Casualty customers can pick from an extensive list of coverage types.

  • Auto
  • Motorcycle
  • Classic Car
  • Mexico Auto 
  • Home 
  • Rental 
  • Condo
  • Mobile Home
  • Boat
  • Earthquake
  • Flood
  • Personal Umbrella
  • Pet

California Casualty Group is known for their add-ons and perks such as those detailed below. 

Auto Insurance – Sabbatical return benefits and a foreign exchange program option for educators. They also will cover a first responder’s gear and firearms, as well as including a fallen hero survivor benefit to be paid for any police officer or fire person killed in the line of duty. There is also a deductible waiver option for educators, nurses, and public safety officers. 

Home Insurance – Insureds automatically receive credit card fraud protection, lost luggage, and zero deductible on loss of use claims. Educators are offered up to $3,000 in coverage for teaching equipment and materials, protection against theft of fundraising goods and cash, and a survivor benefit for victims of school violence. 

Conclusion

California Casualty Group offers a large variety of property and casualty products across most of the United States. Consumers will appreciate their competitive rates with discounts and quality customer service. The family-owned insurance company is focused on protecting all their policyholders, particularly those everyday heroes such as teachers, nurses, firefighters, and police officers. All things considered, it is no surprise that the Brown family’s small auto insurer has evolved into a company that can hold its own with all the brand name insurance companies.