The Hartford Targets “Big Small Businesses”

The Hartford announced that it’s broadening its definition of small businesses and plans to offer more tailored coverages from more “dedicated underwriters” and faster responses to the needs of the “high end” of the small commercial market.

“As today’s small businesses rapidly expand their operations, moving into workspaces with higher property values, recording higher annual sales and hiring more employees, The Hartford Financial Services Group, has introduced significant enhancements to its small commercial insurance offerings to embrace the needs of the upper end of the small business market — businesses with annual revenues or total property values of $5-15 million,” said the announcement.

“The 600,000 small businesses within this segment represent an estimated $20 billion in annual premium, and for insurance they now have a great place to call home at The Hartford,” stated Judy Blades, senior executive vice president of The Hartford’s property-casualty operations. “We have retooled and enlarged our small business capacity and invested tremendous resources to provide the right product, service and technology to satisfy this important segment.”

The Hartford has established a new business unit, “Select Customer Xpand(SM), specifically to provide agents with an easy and profitable means to write businesses that fall between the traditional small commercial and middle market segments.”

The company said “the cornerstone product of the new business unit is Spectrum Xpand(SM), an easy-to-write business owner’s policy (BOP) with enhanced coverages and customized limits for larger small business accounts.”

Specific features of Spectrum Xpand include:
— Broad underwriting appetite with more than 500 eligible classes across a variety of industries.
— Electronic vandalism and business income protection available for all business classes.
— Specialized Stretch(R) endorsements — which bundle increases in individual base coverages and/or additional optional coverages in a single endorsement tailored to a specific industry group — available
for broadcasters, building owners, business services, communications and media, special trade contractors, international, janitorial services, law offices, manufacturers, metal manufacturers, publishers,
printers, retailers, technology and wholesalers.
— Higher optional coverage limits of up to $2 million for accounts receivable, valuable papers and electronic data processing.
— Option of adding blanket building and contents coverage across multiple locations.
— Split rating approach for all classes, so accounts aren’t overly penalized for higher exposures in a particular area.

To service new customers in this segment, The Hartford noted that it has “established a team of dedicated underwriting specialists with expertise working with businesses of this size to thoroughly assess each risk, provide the right product, and price it properly.” They will have the flexibility to customize terms and conditions of coverage based on the individual risk underwriting profile for each client.

“Through our Select Customer Xpand underwriting teams and local sales support, we want to be second to none in providing fast turnaround to agents submitting accounts in this size range,” Blades noted. “Our goal is to underwrite new business ‘upfront’ by providing our agents with the tools and local contacts they need to receive quick turnaround on risk acceptability.”

Among the tools The Hartford will deploy to quicken turnaround is its new small business online sales guide, which provides clear, upfront appetite indications for different types of businesses. The guide also identifies class-specific details such as definition, local appetite, available optional coverages and mandatory forms. Agents can access the manual via The Hartford’s Electronic Business Center (EBC) at A new integrated Web-based submission tool will be available by mid 2004.

Spectrum Xpand is currently available in 45 states with a countrywide rollout expected by April 2004 (excluding Louisiana, Hawaii, and Alaska).”