“All I know about commercial insurance is that I need it for my business.”

That statement sums up what millennial small business owners know about insurance; in essence, not much. In a focus group we conducted to better understand the needs of this unique cohort, we heard this statement, as well as the amusing consensus of the group that older people must know more about insurance.   

Understanding that the existing agent distribution channel which serves this market may not be the best suited to support this unique group’s requirements and still achieve adequate margins, insurers are now investigating disrupting the commercial lines industry by pursuing a digital approach to selling and servicing small business accounts. 

As we learned in our targeted focus group which concentrated on millennial small business owners, to successfully address this market insurers must consider the following:

1. Online commercial insurance has to be quick. It has to be easy. 

Small business owners demand that an insurance transaction be completed quickly, as performing these transactions takes them away from servicing their own customers. If the experience takes too long, they just won’t complete the transaction. Amazon’s one-click purchase was commonly cited as an excellent example of a sophisticated e-commerce site which provides a quick and easy buying experience. 

2. The online commercial insurance experience must be guided and prescriptive. 

Understanding that millennials will not tolerate a generic approach to online service, our focus group highlighted the importance of the insurer asking a few qualifying questions up front in the quote process in order to slot the user into the right tailored program for their business. This way the insurer can guide the user through a workflow and coverage set that is personalized to their specific journey. 

3. Online commercial insurance must banish insurance speak. 

Looping back to the quote at the top of the page, this group doesn’t understand insurance semantics. Most have not taken an “insurance 101” course like many insurance professionals that serve the industry. If an insurer is going to make the online experience quick and easy, they need to invest funds and time into the front-end experience – most importantly, language being presented in plain English. Focus group participants indicated that if they understood what they were purchasing, they would be more likely to complete their purchase online. 

“All I know about commercial insurance is that I need it for my business.”

By keeping that statement front and center, insurers will be able to design a user experience that will make it easier for this unique but influential cohort to do business with them.

If you want to learn more about how the Guidewire InsurancePlatform can support digital, small business insurance come see Laura Drabik present at Connections in the session title “Showcase Lifecycle Demonstration: Streamlining the Insurance Lifecycle for Main Street America Business”.