Nationwide’s Digital Storefront Targets Small Business Market

September 19, 2019

Nationwide said it has formally launched a commercial insurance digital storefront targeted to small businesses.

Small business owners will be able to use the site online directly to generate a quote and bind a policy, or do the same thing through a Nationwide agent. (A digital portal gets rolled out to independent agents in 2020.) The system is in operation currently in 13 states, with more to be added later this year and in 2020.

The property/casualty insurer’s new digital system stems from a partnership announced in July with Bold Penguin, a digital portal for commercial lines/property casualty agents. Nationwide pitched the project as a way to speed up the underwriting process and also give agents a digital storefront that boosts efficiency. Over time, the storefront could also incorporate other carriers, Nationwide said.

“Our digital storefront will serve the needs of micro-business owners who prefer to quote and bind online, providing a fast, easy experience,” Mark Berven, president and chief operating officer for Nationwide Property & Casualty, said in prepared remarks.

He noted that the digital platform rollout sets the table for the debut of a similar system for independent agents in 2020, “which will speed up the process to help them deliver a better experience for their clients.”

Currently, the commercial digital storefront supports Nationwide’s businessowners’ and workers’ compensation products. The insurer plans to launch business auto and general liability in the months ahead and add more products in 2020. Berven said other carriers and more business classifications will be part of the equation.

Small business customers will be able to access the portal visiting Nationwide.com, where they will have the option to answer a number of questions relating to their business needs and a detailed quote is generated within minutes. After that, they get directed to three options designed toward binding a policy. They can bind policies online; be channeled to a Nationwide agent for assistance; or get a quote on additional policies through Bold Penguin’s Commercial Insurance Center. The Bold Penguin option has five products with carriers including Hiscox and Markel, and Nationwide said that more carrier products will be added.

A spokesperson explained in July that the Bold Penguin partnership will work in tandem with its Commercial Digital Direct online commercial platform. In April, Nationwide announced it would invest in establishing expanded 24-hour access to Commercial Digital Direct for more types of small businesses. Commercial Digital Direct also allows an agent to be brought in to complete a transaction, and Nationwide uses it to sell and service its commercial insurance products and services digitally. Also, businesses can use it to get a quote online or over the phone in less than 10 minutes.

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