Chubb has launched its North America Small Commercial Insurance division, a targeted effort to reach a market segment where industry observers see big growth potential.
Today’s Chubb is the product of a nearly $30 billion merger between ACE Ltd. and the old Chubb, and both companies separately targeted the small commercial insurance market in the past. But they had focused on specialty niches, a Chubb spokesman told Carrier Management via email. The new Chubb division goes much further, offering broad coverage to small business clients across both standard and specialty lines, the spokesperson explained.
Chubb said the division will offer management and professional liability as well as standard insurance coverages for small businesses with up to $10 million in annual revenue.
Beyond financial lines offerings already in play through Chubb Small Commercial Insurance, the new division will market insurance products in the U.S. such as an enhanced business owners policy and supporting umbrella. This coverage will be unveiled later in 2016, an offering designed to serve independent agents and brokers and their small business clients.
Recently, McKinsey & Company released a report suggesting that the U.S. small commercial insurance sector is ripe for competition. The reason: it has enjoyed steady growth while many other sectors have stagnated, and the sector does not have a dominant insurance player.
Right now, the U.S. small commercial market represents just over 1/3 of the commercial lines market, with between $99 billion and $103 billion in direct written premiums as of 2013, versus $91 billion in 2011, according to McKinsey.
McKinsey also noted that the sector has many competitors with a small market share, including Nationwide, State Farm, The Hartford, Liberty Mutual, Travelers, AIG, Cincinnati, Farmers, AmTrust and ACE USA.
The Hartford is among companies who have tried to be savvy about properly reaching small commercial clients on every level, through The Hartford School of Insurance. In January 2014, it introduced a small commercial training program designed to educate new agency professionals on technical insurance and sales knowledge unique to a small business owner.
The U.S. small commercial market may also be ripe for marketing innovation. Novarica asserted last fall that carriers in the U.S. small commercial market are poised to start embracing direct online sales, a change that mirrors a shift already in full gear within the personal lines sector.
Two startups that launched earlier in March want to help small businesses find insurance more easily.
One – CoverWallet – which debuted with $2 million in seed funding, plans to offer small business owners a concierge-like service that helps them navigate commercial insurance details. The other is Next Insurance, a venture launched by three tech entrepreneurs designed to help small businesses find and obtain insurance online in a fast and transparent way.
Jim Williamson will be president of the new Chubb division and will report to Paul Krump, president of North American Commercial and Personal Lines. Before ACE acquired Chubb, Williamson was division president of ACE Private Risk Services.