Small commercial insurers are continuing to offer more digital self-service and policy management options for policyholders but the pace of transformation is slow, according to Keynova.
Keynova Group, a financial services intelligence firm specializing in benchmark insights, released its 2023 Small Commercial Insurance Scorecard, which evaluates the small commercial insurance digital capabilities of the 10 largest U.S. carriers including Allstate, Chubb, Geico, Hiscox, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm, The Hartford and Travelers. The Scorecard is based on an evaluation of 300 objective criteria and includes trends and insights that may influence digital strategies. The report analyzed the digital capabilities for small business customers including ease of use and customer support, as well as account management.
For the fifth year in a row, The Hartford ranked first in the small commercial insurance scorecard. Progressive ranked second. Nationwide ranked third.
The report found that all carriers have improved the process of digital Certificate of Insurance (COI) requests and half of firms support mobile customized COI requests. But there are opportunities to enhance additional digital capabilities that support small businesses.
“This was the 5-year anniversary of our Small Commercial Insurance Scorecard, launched in 2019, and I was interested to highlight substantive changes in carrier’s digital capabilities for supporting small businesses,” said Beth Robertson, managing director of Keynova Group, in an emailed statement. “I was surprised to see that many companies have not significantly advanced the breadth of the digital services they offer for small firms, although some carriers have continued to enhance their capabilities. The Hartford is most notable in its regular and across-the-board improvements to the digital tools it provides to small firms – for both prospects and existing policyholders.”
Half of carriers offer business management education and 60% of carriers now provide insurance information for small businesses in Spanish on their websites. The report found that 70% of carriers provide online quoting for business owner policies and property, or business liability, for example. But, only 40% bind the policies online and only 20% quote and bind commercial auto policies digitally.
“Small businesses have complex coverage requirements that can vary significantly from company to company, so it can be very challenging to build digital solutions that adequately accommodate a variety of needs and related nuances,” Robertson said. “So, digital tools that work well for smaller companies can be more difficult, as well as more resource intensive, to develop. As a result, insurers and businesses have relied on agent networks for sales and servicing support; but that is changing as both parties become more interested in using digital options to facilitate efficient self-servicing. Also, for some (but certainly not all) of the reviewed carriers, the small business market is a lower resourcing priority for digital development than is the consumer market for personal lines policies.”