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(Reuters) - Customer satisfaction with property insurers increased after last year's record-breaking storms, following years of relatively stable results, market research company J.D. Power and Associates said on Monday.

The survey of 4,200 homeowners insurance customers who had filed a claim over the prior 20 months found more than 80 percent of the most satisfied policyholders would renew their policies, while only 12 percent of those least satisfied would.

The results were a surprise, given that 2011 was one of the worst disaster years ever in the United States, between Hurricane Irene, tropical storms and unprecedented tornadoes.

"A period of tremendous volatility in the industry, caused by a large number of devastating storms, led us to anticipate that satisfaction would decline, but that clearly was not the case," said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power, in a statement.

Overall satisfaction was 833 on a 1,000 point scale, J.D. Power said. Some 14 insurers scored better than that, the company said, led by Amica Mutual. Amica has topped a separate and broader J.D. Power survey of insurance customer satisfaction for 10 years running.

In both surveys, insurer USAA actually scored higher than Amica, but is excluded because it is only open to military families.

Only three publicly traded insurers landed in the top tier of the most recent survey: Chubb, The Hartford and Travelers.

(Reporting By Ben Berkowitz; Editing by Derek Caney) April 4, 2012

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