In my previous post in this series, I looked at the reasons that small business owners are generally unhappy with the customer experience in small commercial insurance. This time, I will focus on what these owners want from direct carriers and how insurers can improve their relevance to this market.

These insights, by the way, come from experiential research Accenture and Fjord conducted with small business owners in the US. We figured that the best way to find out what is wrong with direct small commercial insurance and how to fix it was to ask the customers and listen to their stories.

One of the most encouraging findings of our survey was that owners are not only willing to purchase commercial insurance online, but eager to do so. However, it’s not going to be enough for carriers to simply introduce direct channels offering direct, fast and easy online purchases.

They must also craft customer-centric experiences that address all of the small business owners’ insurance challenges and frustrations. Here’s what they told us they would like to see from direct commercial carriers if they are to be persuaded to buy online:

Offerings that save them time and spare them frustration

Business owners are busy and want to spend their time growing their companies and serving their customers—not on compliance and administration issues. So reducing the time and administration burden on small business owners when they research policies and gather quotes should be a priority for commercial insurers.

“I would like to see more narrow information. I wish you could describe what your needs are and [insurers] would navigate you in the right direction.”

Services that cater for their unique needs and circumstances

Given the diverse nature of small businesses today, most owners demand that insurance carriers understand the nuances of their company and industry. Carriers that show a thorough understanding will build credibility and be able to engage business owners with tailored solutions.

“I want to know that the carrier understands my specific needs. I want to know that it not only understands salons, but that it also covers the specific services that my salon offers.”

Transparency and education

Finding and purchasing commercial insurance the first time is often done with reluctance and skepticism, largely because the benefits are not well understood by small business owners. To build trust and confidence, direct carriers must create transparency through clear and engaging educational content about what is and isn’t covered, how to reduce premiums, and how the claims process really works.

“Digital tools that I feel would be useful would be comparison to different companies than those that are sponsored by the insurance company. That sort of objectivity would be useful to me.”

A long-term relationship that evolves with the business

The lifecycle of a small business today doesn’t fit neatly into annual policy reviews. What’s more, the flexible solutions being offered by new companies in automotive or renter’s insurance create new expectations of commercial insurers. By identifying ways to offer solutions that match the ups and downs of small businesses today, carriers can demonstrate an understanding of their needs.

”I think the opportunity lies in the ability to sign on, examine different policies, modify existing policies and terminate policies when you need to. The more you can make it clearer, easier to access, and easier to update, the better.”

The experiential and design thinking methodologies we used in this research are available to all carriers that want to get closer to their customers’ needs. My next post in this series will offer some background on how we conducted this study and why this approach is so powerful for insurance carriers.

Until then, you can read our Small Commercial Insurance research report to learn more.

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