Small Business Insurance & The Internet
The Voice of the Commercial Lines Customer
Research from The PIA Partnership
Small Business Owner
It is challenging to attempt to survey small business owners about the prospect of purchasing their business insurance Online. Availability is perhaps the biggest obstacle, as only a small fraction of business owners have the ability to purchase a policy that meets their needs Online.
As a result, our key findings deal primarily with their preferences for or against using the Internet in some way when it comes to their insurance. Their use may take any number of forms, such as finding a provider, verifying their credentials or qualifications, understanding coverage types, clarifying coverages and exclusions, submitting basic information for a quote indication, reducing or eliminating paper, or even using email as a preferred method of communication.
As you review our key findings, you will see that although there is a desire to use the Internet for insurance (34% reported having gone Online to research business insurance), there is an even stronger desire to enjoy the advantages of working with professional independent agents. Since use of the Internet will continue to grow and develop, agents should take note of the fact customers need to be reminded of all an agent has to offer since it is inevitable Online insurance providers will do everything they can to convince customers of the benefits they provide.
About the Survey
• Random national small business owners
• Must make or share in their company’s business insurance decisions
• Must be over 18 years old
• Must have 50 or less full time employees currently involved with or working for their company
• 1-2 employees = 10%
• 3-5 employees = 40%
• 6-50 employees = 50%
• 1,000 business owners surveyed
* Panel provided by Survey Sampling International, Inc.
* Survey assistance provided by Progressive Insurance
When small business owners were asked how they knew what types of insurance they needed, 34% said they had researched business insurance Online.
When you shopped for your business insurance how did you know what types of insurance you needed? (Select all that apply). [RANDOMIZE]
45% I was given advice from an insurance agent
34% I researched business insurance Online
30% Other business professionals advised me on types of insurance I needed (accountants, lawyers, etc.)
24% I was given advice directly from an insurance company
23% I needed to meet specific insurance requirements for the job(s) I secured
16% A friend told me about the business insurance I needed
3% Other (Please specify:) [OPEN TEXT]
Those surveyed who said they would be unlikely to purchase a business insurance policy Online cited the desire to deal with a person as their most important reason.
Why would you be unlikely to purchase a business insurance policy Online? (Select all that apply). [RANDOMIZE]
80% I want to deal with a person directly for my insurance needs
27% My insurance needs are too complex for Online purchasing
23% I am not comfortable making purchasing or making changes to my policy on my own
17% I am concerned about Online security
3% I tried using the website in the past, but had a bad experience
1% Other (Please specify:) [OPEN TEXT]
Those surveyed who said they had not initiated service related contact with their company or agent via the Internet most often indicated they were not comfortable making changes to their policy on their own.
You said that you did not go to the insurance company’s website when you initiated contact with your insurance company or agent regarding “Questions, issues or changes related to your insurance coverage”. Why did you choose not to use the insurance company’s website for this? (Select <u>all</u> that apply). [RANDOMIZE]
44% I am not comfortable making changes to my policy on my own
26% Other (Please specify:) [OPEN TEXT]
24% I am concerned about Online security
14% I tried using the website in the past, but had a bad experience
When asked to rate the importance of 15 different insurance service factors, small business owners rated, they will “go to bat for me” when necessary, trust in the person or company and that they are taking care of me and my insurance needs as the most important.
With regard to the individual or company you work with to provide your business insurance coverage, please rate these service factors in order of importance:
Here is how those surveyed rated the following service factors in order of importance:
As a result of this research, PIA National and The PIA Partnership
have developed RESOURCES FOR AGENTS