Ratings Methodology for Small-Business Insurance

Business insurance

NerdWallet's ratings for business insurance companies consider the following factors:
  • Financial strength.
  • Consumer complaints.
  • Shopping experience.
  • Customer service.
The best small-business insurance makes it easy for business owners to get coverage and support and get back to running their businesses. These insurers’ financial strength and customer satisfaction indicate reliability in times of trouble. They also provide straightforward quote, purchase and claims processes, as well as multiple communication channels that let business owners access help when they need it.

Data collection and review process

We collect data points for each insurer from its public-facing website and from company representatives, public filings and state regulator data. These data points are then compared against one another and against NerdWallet's standards for good insurance companies to determine a star rating.

Information is gathered on a regular basis and reviewed by our editorial team for consistency and accuracy. Final star ratings are presented on a scale of one to five stars, where a one-star score represents "poor" and a five-star score represents "excellent."

The reviews team

The writers and editors behind our business insurance reviews are small-business specialists who have had their work featured by The Associated Press, The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, MarketWatch and many other publications. Each writer and editor follows NerdWallet’s strict guidelines for editorial integrity.

Our small-business editorial team also covers business loans, business credit cards, business bank accounts and business software.

Rating specifics

Our star ratings are weighted based on our editorial and professional opinions. We use the following weightings when rating business insurance companies:
  • Financial strength (35%).
  • Consumer complaints (35%).
  • Shopping experience (15%).
  • Customer service (15%).

Financial strength: These ratings, which indicate an insurer’s ability to pay future claims, are based on assessments from independent agencies such as AM Best, Moody’s and Fitch. When an insurer sells policies that are underwritten by multiple companies, we consider the financial strength of all the underwriters.

Consumer complaints: These ratings are based on complaints to state regulators relative to a company’s market share. NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2018-2020.

To assess how insurers compare to one another, the NAIC calculates a complaint index each year for each subsidiary, measuring its share of total complaints relative to its size, or share of total premiums in the industry. To evaluate a company’s complaint history, NerdWallet calculated a similar index for each insurer, weighted by market shares of each subsidiary, over the three-year period.

Our star ratings consider NAIC complaint ratios for general liability insurance and commercial property insurance. When an insurer sells policies that are underwritten by multiple companies, we consider the NAIC complaint ratios of all the underwriters.

Shopping experience: Ideally, small-business owners should be able to buy all the insurance coverage they need from the same provider in a straightforward online transaction. Our methodology gives higher scores to insurers who offer all basic business insurance coverages — including business owner’s policies, workers’ compensation insurance and commercial auto insurance — in a large number of states. It also gives higher scores to insurers who allow customers to get quotes and purchase policies online.

Customer service: We rate insurers according to their customer service availability during the purchase process, during the claims process and on an ongoing basis. Our methodology also awards higher scores to insurers who offer consumer-friendly features, like digital access to a certificate of insurance.