I ran across an article on eHow.com, on how to file a car accident claim. eHow is a collective intelligence website, sort of like Wikipedia, where any registered member can add an article about how to do, well, just about anything. This particular article, however, was authored by an eHow editor - a paid employee and "expert" in the subject of cars.
eHow articles give steps on how to do something, and rate the difficulty of performing said task, as judged by the author. This article has 4 steps, and is judged to be of moderate difficulty. The steps include taking your own damage photos, calling your insurer from the scene, if possible, and waiting, no joke, "several weeks to several months" for a settlement check. This is how an "expert" sees the claims process. A moderately difficult, do-it-yourself, wait forever process. That's the perception. And, as any marketer will tell you, perception IS reality to the customer, no matter what the reality actually is.
So why is that the perception? When, as I've mentioned before, the average person experiences an accident every 5-7 years, one mediocre experience creates a looooonng held opinion--and one shared with friends, family and neighbors--which helps shape their perception, and so on. What makes the experience mediocre? Lack of involvement? Lack of understanding of the process? Lack of communication? All of the above? Whatever it is, specifically, the experience for the insured is going to have to change for the perception to change.