Nationwide said it has expanded 24-hour access to more types of small businesses for its Commercial Digital Direct online commercial insurance platform.

Now, 30 different business types can access the platform, which enables Nationwide to sell and service its commercial insurance products and services in an entirely digital way that the insurer bills as “fast, easy and efficient.”

Businessowners can typically get a quote in less than 10 minutes, Nationwide said.

“The kind of innovation Commercial Digital Direct brings saves business owners time and money and empowers them to control their experience even off-hours for greater confidence in their decision-making process,” Tony Fenton, vice president of Nationwide’s Underwriting, Product & New Product Development, said in prepared remarks.

The types of office, service and retail businesses that can now use the platform include business consultants, legal practices, beauty/barber salons, photographers, coffee shops and clothing stores. Right now, Commercial Digital Direct is available to business owners in Illinois, Arkansas, Connecticut and Indiana, and Nationwide expects to add additional states through the 2019.

Nationwide said that many of its business owner-clients expect low-cost customization when purchasing commercial insurance direct versus tailored coverage and services while working with a trusted agent.

Mark Berven, president and chief operating officer of Nationwide Property & Casualty, explained in a recent Carrier Management article that Nationwide tries to anticipate small business needs through both avenues, giving them options for direct access via digital platform or the ability to work with independent agents.

“We are investing in technology that allows a customer to research their insurance needs and purchase direct if they so choose,” Berven said. “But we also have trusted advisers and agency partners across the country who can provide guidance and advice if the customer wants that.”

Berven also noted that Nationwide now serves over 1 million small businesses, which it defines as those with fewer than 50 employees, less than $20 million in total insured value and less than $20 million in sales. These clients also tend to have less than $2 million in payroll and under 20 vehicles, he said.

In terms of expanding the Commercial Digital Direct option, Nationwide touts the platform as having a number of speedy and self-service features, which Nationwide said it found in a recent study were important to both small and micro business owners. Those options include completion of an online commercial policy purchase within minutes using prefill data and automated underwriting; easy bill-payment options that integrate into business software; policy information and document lookup and certificate of insurance request.

Source: Nationwide