American International Group, or AIG, is the largest property and casualty insurer in the United States. AIG is also one of the largest companies in the United States placing 10th on the Fortune 500 list of companies in 2007.
AIG's website is helpful and easy to navigate. The homepage includes a drop-down menu where the visitor can choose company size and review business insurance products available from AIG for that size company.
The Berkshire Hathaway Group is a holding company for many, many different companies. A number of these are insurers, including GEICO and the United States Liability Insurance Group. The link above takes you to the list of Berkshire companies. Check out the USLIG site. Specific industries are listed on the left and this can be a big help in organizing what types of insurance your business may need. Also, note that USLIG has an Artisan/Trade Contractor insurance package and a child care package.
Allstate is the third largest property and casualty insurer in the United States, but it is hard to get a read on how much of that is devoted to commercial insurance and how much is personal lines. Their site give a list of business insurance coverages that they provide and a phone number for a quote.
The Hartford has been in business for nearly two hundred years, but it is operated as a cutting edge insurer with one of the highest approval ratings among customers. I particularly like this website because it provides information, options, suggestions and links to local agents and brokers. The Hartford also has a home based business program that is endorsed by the AARP.
Travelers is a good option for those companies that can meet Travelers underwriting guidelines. The website is very informative with a very good description of their business owners policy program. Travelers focuses a great deal on risk management. As an example, Travelers has partnered with a company to allow its insured immediate access to up-to-date material safety data sheets online and by facsimile.
Liberty Mutual is another large insurer (like Allstate) that derives a substantial amount of premiums (my research indicates 44%) from auto and personal lines. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but when you review their website you'll notice that "business" is placed last on its link list. Liberty has been trying to expand internationally and, overall, its website is helpful.
What can I say, I'm an Ohio native and any company that brings hockey to Ohio is top in my books! Nationwide premiums often rank among the highest, but its customer satisfaction rates are very high as well. It is primarily a property and casualty company and personal auto and homeowners is a large portion of its business. But, it has a strong commercial auto business and commercial business is reported to represent somewhere between 15 to 20% of property and casualty premiums. Good website, but the site pushes you to its life and financial planning section - which happens to be another big section of its business.
Another Ohio company, Progressive is predominantly an auto insurer. Not a very helpful site for the business insurance purchaser, there is a link to its commercial auto division at the bottom of the site. It is unfortunate that Progressive does not stress their commercial auto business on the main website because it is a good choice for small truck fleets.
Loews Corporation makes it to this list because its subsidiary, CNA Insurance, is one of the nation's largest insurers. I find the website difficult to navigate. Not very helpful, and that is unfortunate because CNA has a number of small business programs and commercial products that are excellent. CNA is an especially good choice for design and construction professionals.
Disclaimer/Bias: Your guide worked with CNA as an associate with an outside counsel of CNA.
Rounding out our list is Chubb Insurance. Chubb started as a marine commercial insurance company and it sticks with those roots by offering some really excellent commercial products. The company consistently receives high customer satisfaction ratings. I like a website that puts business insurance first and provides a lot of information. Chubb Business insurance is sold through independent agents and brokers and so its pricing is competitive. Chubb claims to be an industry leader in specialty insurance and the site lists a number of specialty programs.