Ohio-based national insurer Progressive has joined the ranks of carriers offering small businesses a platform to buy insurance quickly and simply.

The insurer’s new online BusinessQuote Explorer (BQX) delivers multiple quotes from other carriers. Currently, BQX offers quotes for business owner, professional liability, workers compensation and general liability policies. The target audience is firms with up to 19 employees.

Progressive actually does not currently write the small business coverages available through the platform, Bill Kampf, general manager of Small Business Insurance at Progressive Insurance, told Insurance Journal. Instead, BQX quotes multiple “carefully chosen” carriers: Liberty Mutual, Hiscox, Homesite and Markel.

“BQX was developed as part of our ‘Destination Small Business’ strategy to offer workers comp, business owner’s policy, general liability and professional liability coverage to small business owners that are shopping our brand directly,” Kampf said.

The insurer’s promotion says it will take a business an average of 11 minutes or less to obtain quotes.

More than 20 years ago, Progressive pioneered in comparison-shopping by offering auto insurance shoppers multiple quotes. In 2017, Progressive introduced a similar platform, HomeQuote Explorer (HQX), for home insurance.

Progressive is far from alone in rolling out small business platforms that operate like the various InsurTech startups that are also vying for small businesses. Some carriers are going for direct sales; others are providing access for their agents:

  • In 2016, giant Allstate debuted its business insurance quoting platform that it claims makes it possible for small business owners to buy a policy in about five minutes.
  • Nationwide recently expanded the types of small business products offered through its Commercial Digital Direct online commercial insurance platform. Now, 30 different business types can access the platform. Nationwide says business owners can get a quote in less than 10 minutes.
  • The Hanover Insurance Group recently debuted a digital platform to help its independent agents acquire new small business customers including freelancers, contractors and other self-employed professionals. Called Insurago, the platform runs on technology from the digital agency CoverWallet. The process, from start to finish, can be finished less than 15 minutes.
  • The Chubb Marketplace first went live in 2017, offering agents access to coverages including business owners policy and workers compensation, auto, umbrella, cyber, property, general liability, management liability and others.
  • Commercial lines insurer CNA has added a “Get a Quote” feature that allows small business owners to receive a quick premium indication for a CNA Connect business owners policy and a workers compensation policy online.
  • Since 2016, Starr Companies has been selling insurance directly to small business owners online through Starr Insure.
  • Berkshire Hathaway, which owns GEICO, has Berkshire Hathaway Direct Insurance Co. to sell insurance directly to businesses over the Internet.
  • A number of carriers also belong to the TrustedChoice.com online commercial insurance platform backed by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (Big “I”) to sell small business insurance.