Should you buy insurance for your small business online?

Online insurance sales are booming!

Today, many small businesses prefer to skip the agent conversation and buy insurance directly online. As Peter Breitstone, former EVP, sales, programs, and facilities at Insureon said, “Much of today’s investment in technology start-ups is targeted at millennials, who would rather access insurance online than meet with an insurance broker.[i]

The industry has undergone a significant disruption and is offering a wealth of convenience to businesses.

You don’t have to interact with agents, mess about with multiple options, or spend time sifting through long lists of deciding factors. All you need to do is go online, compare a few policies, find one that kinda’ suits you, and apply for it.

It’s that simple.

However, take a moment to think. Can you trust a generic online insurance policy to future-proof your business?

Do you believe a “cookie-cutter” policy designed for a superset of a clutch of organizations can cover the unique needs of your business?

If you think it can secure your business and that your needs are exactly like everyone else’s then perhaps an off-the-shelf insurance product might work for you.

However, if you believe that your business is different in that small, but very important, way, then online insurance may not be the right solution for you.

Check out what some small business owners had to say about their experience of buying insurance online when Accenture and Fjord interacted with them[ii].

  • Overwhelming process: Comparing the multiple insurance policies offered by different insurance companies might seem simple. However, it can get quite intimidating, especially when you have little or no guidance to help you choose the right one. With so many “attractive” policies available at your disposal, understanding the fine print of these policies and selecting the best one overwhelms the small business owners. Sometimes they just don’t know where to begin.


  • Time-consuming: When you manage a small business, you have little or no time to do the required research from among the available policies. The small business owners fear getting caught up in the process of finding the right policy and being left with less time to focus on the growth of their company.


  • Biased recommendations: Most small businesses are wary of biased recommendations from insurance companies. They, perhaps rightly, fear that these companies focus more on making sales than on providing them the best policy. This leads to a trust-deficit before purchase that carries over after the purchase too.


  • Lack of customization: Every business has different objectives for buying insurance. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all policy WILL not work for everyone. Most small business owners would prefer to buy a customized policy according to the changing demands of their business, which the online insurance policy is unlikely to provide.


  • Lack of support: One of the business owners told Accenture, “The most confusing part of getting insurance was finding out exactly what I needed.” With little or no interaction with agents, small business owners are left to fend for themselves. They may have specific questions or not know how to address some key steps. At such times, they have to rely on inadequate means like online FAQs, which may not exactly help in cases that need specific solutions. And the unstated concern is that, if this is the impersonal connection before the policy is sold what situation would they face if they had to make a claim?

You take immense pain to build your dream business. Of course, you don’t want it all to go up in smoke because you ended up buying the wrong policy!

Unique businesses require customized attention

Online insurance is convenient and saves time -no arguments there. But when it comes to safeguarding your business, you just cannot trust a cookie-cutter approach.

Do you think an insurance policy that works for a bodega will work for your hardware shop? Your business needs focused attention, and that’s where online insurance policies fail. And that’s where traditional insurance agencies step up.

Why traditional insurance agencies?

  • Human-centric approach: In a traditional insurance agency, an agent takes out the time to understand your business and its unique needs and provides suggestions that are relevant to you. That human connect also makes it easy for you just to pick up the phone, talk to the agent, and get your doubts and problems resolved rather than explaining it to different faceless customer service representatives every time you interact with them.


  • More trustworthy: Typically, traditional insurance agents keep your best interest in mind while recommending an insurance policy. They prefer to educate and guide the customer to choose the right policy rather than push for sales.


  • Right expertise: You don’t have to spend time researching about different policies. Traditional insurance agencies are well aware of the latest in the insurance industry. They have the expertise and the knowledge to determine what can work for your business and will recommend the right solution to you.


  • Focus more on your business: Buying insurance online would mean doing everything on your own – right from researching to buying the policy. Traditional insurance agencies take care of most of the process, enabling you to focus on growing your business.


I hope this blog helps you decide whether to buy your insurance online or rely on a traditional insurance agency. Irrespective of the route you take, take the time to research and choose the right insurance policy for your business. It’s an investment that you will not regret.