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Given that distribution has been a major focus for InsurTech, it’s worth remembering that Progressive Insurance (Mayfield Village, Ohio) first put comparison shopping in the hands of auto insurance customers over 20 years ago. Since then the company has been on the forefront of direct-to-consumer sales, first in auto and more recently other lines of business. In 2017, the company introduced HomeQuote Explorer (HQX) to make shopping for home insurance easier and quicker, and earlier this month Progressive launched BusinessQuote Explorer (BQX) to do the same for small business owners.
“Small business owners can have a hard time finding policies, so we want to use our knowledge of the marketplace to offer fast and accurate quotes,” comments Bill Kampf, General Manager Progressive Insurance. “When it comes down to it, Progressive is trying to become small business customers’ number one choice and destination for commercial auto and other business insurance products—we believe that starts with being a good agent for small business owners.”
BusinessQuote Explorer lets small business owners quote workers comp, general liability, professional liability and business owner policies in 11 minutes or less on average, according to Kampf. “In addition to coverages offered on BQX, customers can still shop direct or with an agent to get our industry-leading commercial auto product and a variety of other commercial insurance products,” he notes.
BQX was developed as part of Progressive’s Destination Small Business strategy, the objective of which is to offer workers’ compensation, business owner’s policy, general liability, and professional liability coverage to small business owners that are shopping the company’s brand directly.
“A few years back, we recognized that many small business owners were shopping us for more than just commercial auto,” Kampf elaborates. “So to meet their needs we started the Progressive Advantage Business program to offer the business products typical business owners need most.”
Progressive also realized that a growing number of small business owners wanted an online shopping experience, so BQX was developed to meet that need and make shopping for business insurance easier and faster, according to Kampf.
“Progressive’s goal is to become small business customers’ number one choice and destination for commercial auto and other business insurance products,” Kampf says. “We believe that starts with helping make the process of selecting an insurer and getting an accurate quote fast and easy so small business owners can get back to what matters most—running their business.
While insurance distribution innovation is nothing new for Progressive, the company’s recent initiatives show that evolving technology and consumer expectations continue to create opportunities. And so does InsurTech. In fact, for the BQX initiative Progressive engaged InsurTech startup Bold Penguin, a Columbus, Ohio-based creator of an exchange that connects parties to commercial insurance transactions.
“We worked with Bold Penguin to leverage their existing infrastructure, as well as develop some custom elements for us,” Kampf relates. “We integrated those with Progressive-developed components to create BQX.”
“Our exchange is a natural fit for companies like Progressive which to us look like large brokerages, where they have a storefront that needs to be deep and wide in coverage for all potential outcomes,” comments Ilya Bodner, CEO, Bold Penguin. “The fact that we are not a competitor, on either the agent or carrier side—meaning that we do not try to be the agent of record—made us a natural fit for providing the commercial insurance infrastructure.”
Work on BQX began in 2017. After a soft launch with a small percentage on the market in late 2018, BQX became available to interested small business owners as of May 8, 2019. Currently Progressive BQX’s online quoting engine quotes multiple carriers who were all carefully chosen based on their ability to provide small business owners a breadth of the right coverages, at the right price, while providing excellent customer service, according to Kampf. The carriers available through BQX are Liberty Insurance, Hiscox, Homesite, Markel.
When asked about BQX’s performance so far, Kampf replies, “We want to make the shopping experience fast and easy for small business owners. We will continue to focus on that goal and are using analytics and user experience testing to improve future iterations of BQX.”