Canadian Underwriter

Automated online office insurance “could make brokers redundant”: B.C. brokerage

October 23, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter

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A Canadian small business insurance provider, Front Row Insurance Brokers, has launched a fully automated system that allows small business owners to buy and download business liability insurance and office contents insurance policies online, without ever having to talk to a broker.

“Every industry faces disruption through innovation, and this promises to be a game-changer in the insurance industry,” said international business advisor Mark Wardell, president of Wardell International, citing other “disruptors,” including Tesla, Amazon and Uber. “Insurance salesmen, like milkmen, could rapidly see a reduction in their numbers.”

Front Row Insurance noted that automation is expected to shake up the Canadian office industry in the coming months, which could result in “significant insurance broker job losses.”

The product covers office equipment for theft, damage, fire and loss of use, as well as liability insurance for small business. Earthquake and flood insurance are also offered up to full equipment values (except for in British Columbia and Quebec). Its website noted that the Workplace Insurance Program also offers a low $500 deductible on equipment; an ability to choose exact office contents limits up to $500,000; automatic $10,000 of exterior glass coverage; $10,000 of fine arts included at no cost; certificates provided free to the landlord; commercial general liability available on a standalone basis; and $10,000 to cover a hacking event or virus attack included at no cost.

The brokerage’s online model delivers business insurance quotes in five minutes and a downloadable insurance policy within 10 minutes, at lower premiums, as brokers and underwriters are removed from the transaction, the company said in a statement on Monday.

“The old model required applications to be completed by the business owner, and then scanned or faxed to the broker who, in turn, sent it to an underwriter for a quote, which then started the process in reverse,” explained David Hamilton, president & CEO of Front Row Insurance. “The cost under the old model is higher than it should be, the wait for the quote is unnecessary, and the indirect cost for the consumer’s time is expensive,” he added. “Automating the process removes friction and stress from the insurance buying experience, and saves the consumer valuable time and money, which they can invest in their business.”

The brokerage added that is recognizes that most consumers prefer direct, self-guided systems. “Especially younger consumers,” Hamilton said. “They prefer not to have to get on the phone and talk to a broker. Today’s consumers prefer a quick, efficient and convenient solution so they can get on with their day.”

Hamilton suggested that the product is disruptive for entrepreneurs looking for a “reduction in small business insurance costs and an ability to purchase a policy in minutes without having to speak to a broker. The expected savings should average 20%, and the time saving is significant for a business owner, resulting in an additional indirect cost savings.”

Founded in 2010, Vancouver-based Front Row Insurance provides cost-effective online insurance solutions to select industries, including small business, film producers, musicians, theatre producers and commercial photographers. Front Row Insurance Brokers Inc. is an independent insurance broker with offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York and Paris.

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2 Comments » for Automated online office insurance “could make brokers redundant”: B.C. brokerage
  1. Frank Cain says:

    Not a word, say, about a lease agreement between a landlord and a tenant and conditions relating to coverages contractually required. Who gets the blame if a coverage is omitted and the tenant winds up paying the loss?

    Here’s an opportunity for the current system to create a broad, all encompassing residual policy that will come to the rescue of the policyholder. Written through a broker, of course.

  2. ABDUL JALIL says:

    Every service could be evaluated better when there are claims. I have heard client to say it takes more time on phone to get any service from direct companies. Without service brokers, client has to communicate with company that may go against them, Government must be approached to protect brokers services and protect public in general. Cheap things are not good at the end. Let be realized by both consumers and government.

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