The Small Business Market: Evolution in Distribution


Michael Warner
Conning, Inc.

Conning—Digital Marketing and Distribution a Key Focus in Small Business Insurance

(Hartford, CT) November 14, 2016—The small business insurance market is increasingly focused on digital marketing and distribution capabilities, which may favor larger carriers, according to a new study by Conning.

“Success in the small business insurance market is increasingly being defined by the ability to manage costs, and distribution is at the center of the expense management discussion,” said Alan Dobbins, a Director, Insurance Research at Conning. “Our analysis of the market points to an evolution towards digital distribution and marketing, especially for target firms of five or fewer employees. Just how quickly this disintermediation will occur remains an open question, however. The next critical development phase of digital distribution will be in refining the delivery model and ironing out user experience challenges. This may involve more consolidation among distributors, even as we see a surge in new launches.”

The Conning study, “The Small Business Market: Evolution in Distribution” reviews the small commercial insurance marketplace, including carrier market share, drivers, and projections. The study also analyzes distribution issues and strategic directions for the market, through independent research and executive market surveys.

“As the market pursues its digital future, both in support of agents and in direct distribution, larger insurers have been slowly but steadily taking share from small carriers in the market,” said Steve Webersen, Head of Insurance Research at Conning. “Large insurers now control more than sixty-four percent of the market, but none has more than about six percent of share at this time. Premium growth has been slower than expected, and weaker than the rest of the commercial lines segment. Given the lagging small business premium growth, we expect further share consolidation driven by insurer investment in this market.”

“The Small Business Market: Evolution in Distribution” is available for purchase from Conning by calling (888) 707-1177 or by visiting


Conning ( is a leading global investment management firm with approximately $120 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2016.* With a long history of serving the insurance industry, Conning supports institutional investors, including pension plans, with investment solutions and asset management offerings, award-winning risk modeling software, and industry research. Founded in 1912, Conning has offices in Boston, Cologne, Hartford, Hong Kong, London, New York, and Tokyo.

*As of September 30, 2016, represents the combined global assets under management for the affiliated firms under Conning Holdings Limited, and Cathay Securities Investment Trust Co., Ltd. ("SITE"). SITE reports internally into Conning Asia Pacific Limited but is a separate legal entity under Cathay Financial Holding Co., Ltd.  which is the ultimate controlling parent of all Conning entities.