Big Expansion for Elephant Auto Insurance

Can British-owned firm solve service problems?

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There’s good news for Henrico County because Elephant Insurance Services, a British auto insurance firm that targets young drivers, is adding 1,173 jobs in the area -- ironically, in the same area where now-defunct Circuit City used to employ 1,243 people.

The expansion was announced last week during a trip to Europe by Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Kevin Chidwick, Elephant’s chief executive officer, praised the expansion in the Richmond area. “The labor force here is excellent -- well educated, friendly, hard-working, honest, analytical and creative,” he said in a statement.

New jobs will include customer service, claims handling, IT, accounting, marketing, sales, compliance and insurance operations as well as call center operations, Chidwick says.

Now, the not-so-good news. Founded in 2009, Elephant seems to have a large number of service complaints. The Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia reported 61 consumer complaints during the past three years, mostly in billing and service issues.

Reading the complaints online shows that some customers felt they were treated abruptly when they tried to settle claims after an accident or got into disputes over billing.

A cursory comparison of Elephant’s BBB complaints with other car insurers such as USAA, Progressive and State Farm shows that the latter three had much fewer to no complaints in the same period.

It could be that Elephant is so new that it has some service issues to work out.

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