Leslie Rippley, VP of Commercial and Agricultural Lines at AAIS, sees a lot of change in the small business insurance segment with regard to technology, appetite, and a continuing flow of capital.

Ms. Rippley says the carriers that introduced BOP (Business Owner Policy) products in the 1980s once dominated the small business category. Now, new entrants, news capital, new distribution models are changing the dynamics of the market.

According to a 2016 McKinsey study that notes there is no market leader Small commercial insurance space. Ms. Rippley says Liberty Mutual has a 6% share, Nationwide 5%.  Ace (now Chubb) is a relatively new entrant to the small business market, but had already gained a 3% market share. She points out that Ace/Chubb did not have the legacy issues that handcuffed other market leaders, which enabled them to be selective in their appetite, target niches and geographies. 

With more pressure, carriers have been venturing beyond traditional independent agent distribution channels. Some have introduced or invested in online, direct-to-consumer channels, like Cover Hound. Other carriers like Hartford are diversifying beyond standards lines with their acquisition of Maxum Specialty, an Excess and Surplus Lines insurer.

For more on the trends affecting the property-casualty insurance market, visit the AAIS website.

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