NU Online News Service, April 27, 2:48 p.m. EDT

New Jersey Manufacturers Group was the largest insurer in the state to receive zero valid complaints, according to a report by the state’s insurance department.

NJM is the third largest insurer in the state with 13 percent of the market. GEICO has close to 15 percent of the market, while Allstate comes in with slightly more than 14 percent.

The 2010 Auto Insurance Consumer Information Report ranks companies from worst to best in terms of valid complaint ratio. That ratio is the number of valid complaints to 1,000 insured autos. A valid complaint is defined as when “[t]he insurer’s action violated state insurance rules or laws or the issue in controversy should have been resolved by the insurer without department intervention.”

NJM had zero valid complaints and was joined by eight other companies on the list. The company was the largest insurer in the group to meet such a distinction. Palisades Group was the second largest insurer in this group.

In terms of direct written premium, Palisades Group is ranked fourth behind NJM with 10.5 percent of the market.

Allstate was ranked sixth on the complaint list with 44 valid complaints. In 2009, the company was ranked 14 and in 2008 it was ranked 13.

GEICO was ranked 15 with 19 valid complaints. In 2009 it achieved the same ranking of 15, and in 2008 it was 20.

However, the ranking in one sense can be deceptive. The worst-ranked insurer on the list was Personal Service Insurance Co. However, the company had only three valid complaints out of 13,627 vehicles it insured, but its valid complaint ratio was highest at 0.2202. It is ranked 24 in terms of direct premium written with less than 1 percent of the market.

NJM, in comparison, has 804,801 vehicles insured.

“In a competitive market, shoppers should use consumer studies like this to help evaluate an insurance company,” says NJM President and CEO Bernard Flynn in a statement. “The department’s findings show that NJM has excelled in fulfilling our obligations to policyholders, and we’re very pleased by the results.”