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The Best Business Liability Insurance Providers of 2021

By Chad Brooks, Writer
| Updated
Nov 24, 2020 is the most popular review site for business liability insurance. Compare service features and prices to make your buying decisions easy.
Featured Sponsor
Policies sold by month or job
Monthly policies starting at $17
Get a quote in 60 seconds
Best for Small Business
Multiple liability policies available
Claims can be filed 24/7
Company operates in 54 countries
Best for Workers' Compensation
Multiple payment options
File claims by phone or online
Preferred medical provider network
Best for Multiple Liability Policies
Company has operated for more than 120 years
Serves business of all sizes
Vast array of insurance policies available is the most popular review site for business liability insurance. Compare service features and prices to make your buying decisions easy.
Updated 11/24/20

We've updated the Chubb review to include information about enhancements to the Chubb Cyber Index.

Update: This page has been updated with more answers to some new frequently asked questions.

While there are many ways business can cut corners when trying to save a few bucks, insurance is one area they shouldn't be trying to skimp on. Business liability insurance provides businesses with a safeguard should something unexpected happen. Not having that protection isn't something you want to take a risk on. 


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Business liability insurance, also known as commercial general liability insurance, provides businesses with a layer of protection from a number of situations. This includes any injury or damages that occur on a business's property that anyone associated with the business may have caused. 

Workers' compensation insurance is another vital policy most businesses need. This type of insurance protects businesses from any lawsuits employees who are injured on the job may bring.   

Knowing how important these types of insurance policies are, we researched a number of different providers to determine the ones we think are best for different situations.

How We Decided
Our team spends weeks evaluating dozens of business solutions to identify the best options. To stay current, our research is regularly updated.

Compare Our Best Picks

  The Hartford Chubb CNA
Liability coverage
$2 million for each
incident; $4 million aggregate
Up to $4 million $2 million for each
incident; $4 million aggregate
Method of filing
Phone or online Phone, fax, online or
local agent
Phone, fax, email or
Liability coverage
General, employment
practices, professional
and management
General, management,
professional, privacy,
foreign general, liquor and medical
General, employment
practices, cyber, media,
professional and fiduciary
Yes Yes Yes

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Thimble: Featured Sponsor

Thimble makes liability insurance simple and affordable for over 140 types of small businesses. Answer as few as three questions, and get a quote in 60 seconds. After purchase, get your Certificate of Insurance instantly, and make changes to your policy in real time with our easy-to-use app.

Chubb: Best for Small Business

Chubb offers liability coverage up to $4M. If you need more, you can add an umbrella policy up to $10M.
Besides general liability coverage, Chubb offers management, professional, privacy, foreign general, liquor and medical liability policies.
Chubb is not an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau.

With more than 130 years of experience, Chubb is the largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company in the world. The company offers a wide range of commercial insurance products to businesses of all sizes. Chubb backs its policies with considerable financial strength: The company reported more than $174 billion in assets and $38 billion of gross premiums written in 2018. Chubb's core operating insurance companies maintain financial strength ratings of AA from Standard & Poor's and A++ from A.M. Best.

November 2020: In late October, Chubb announced enhancements to the Chubb Cyber Index that helps businesses of all sizes analyze their cyber exposure. Chubb has overhauled the user interface to make it easier to navigate and added the ability to access total incident costs per industry, obtain peer purchasing insights, and assess risk from ransomware and other potential threats. Chubb also added a new chatbot, Clara the Coder, to the mix, enabling small business customers to get answers from a digital assistant in real time. Finally, the insurance provider added downloadable risk reports, whitepapers, videos and other research materials to the Chubb Cyber Index.

What makes Chubb such a strong player in the insurance industry is its breadth of offerings for businesses. It has policies to cover the needs of any business, whether that's liability policies, property coverage, or specialty offerings like product recall and railroad or marine insurance.

Chubb offers the liability insurance policies businesses of all sizes may need, including general, professional, management and medical liability policies. Because of this, as well as the ease of its claims process and wealth of other commercial offerings, Chubb is our choice as the best business liability insurance company for small businesses.

Types of Insurance

What makes Chubb such an appealing commercial insurer is its wide range of policy types, including a host of liability insurance coverage. Chubb's Customarq general liability insurance can be purchased on its own or combined with property insurance. The general liability coverage covers a number of liability loss exposures that fall into one of two categories. The first is liability for conditions or activities arising from the premises or operations of a company. The second is liability to someone who is harmed by products manufactured, sold or distributed by the insured business. Chubb's Customarq general liability policy can be purchased on an occurrence basis or a claim-made basis.

When purchased in combination with its property insurance as part of its business owner policy (BOP) coverage, Chubb offers up to $4 million in liability coverage. If you need more, Chubb's umbrella policy provides excess liability of up to $10 million. Part of what makes Chubb a good choice for small businesses is that your insurance agent can tailor the BOP to meet your specific needs. 

In addition to its general liability coverage, Chubb offers several other liability policies, including management, professional, privacy, foreign general, liquor and medical liability.

Chubb offers small businesses much more than just liability insurance. Small businesses can use Chubb for their workers' compensation insurance as well. Coverage is available for small businesses with even just one employee and up to $30 million in revenue. Part of this coverage is medical management, including internal nurse case managers who provide medical expertise and support to the adjusters, to help ensure injured employees can make a quick recovery and return to work.

There is also a foreign insurance package for small businesses that conduct business and travel overseas. This international coverage for small businesses is not something we saw with all of the insurance companies we examined. It also has international packages designed specifically for midsize organizations.

Overall, Chubb offers more than 30 different insurance products, including accident and health, equipment breakdown, cyber, environmental, excess and surplus, global casualty, marine, product recall, property, railroad, reinsurance, specialty casualty, and surety insurance coverage. You can read more about the specific policies available from Chubb here.

Chubb determines your rates after reviewing multiple sources of information as permitted by law, including historical loss cost and loss cost trends. It uses filed approved rates in each state. Factors in your rates include individual risk exposure, based on your business classification and building construction, and the insurance amount you request.

What's also nice about Chubb is its tailored options for a wide range of industries, including aerospace, agriculture, broadcasters, clean tech, construction, cultural and educational institutions, energy, entertainment, federal government contractors, financial institutions, food, healthcare, hospitality, law, life science, manufacturing, professional services, real estate, technology, transportation, and wineries.

Claims Process

Claims can be reported 24/7 by telephone or fax, online, or through a local Chubb agent. This variety of claim-filing options is an appealing aspect of Chubb.

Every claim is unique, and Chubb's claims process depends on a number of factors, including the terms and conditions of the issued policy, receipt of any documentation required to adjust a claim, whether or not an inspection is needed to fully assess damages, and whether there are any coverage questions that require additional investigation.

Chubb has business claims consultants who meet with policyholders to help them fully understand the claims process. They first gain a complete understanding of your business, help develop a customer claims service plan that meets your specific needs, establish and notify the adjuster of any special claims-handling instructions, and then monitor the process to ensure it is running smoothly and efficiently.

Adjusters are assigned to each claim based on where the business is located and the type of business filing the claim. This helps ensure that the most appropriate adjuster is assigned to the case. However, if you don't get along with your dedicated claims adjuster, Chubb can assign you a new one. Not all of the insurers we looked into offer this option.

When workers' compensation claims are filed, the assigned claims adjuster conducts an investigation to determine if the injury is covered under the employer's workers' comp policy. The adjuster may contact the employee during this process for additional information. If the injury is determined to be work-related, Chubb helps make sure the employee gets the medical care they need to get back to work as soon as possible, such as physician visits, rehabilitation and prescription medication.

Customer Service

Chubb operates in 54 countries, with executive offices in New York, London and Zurich, among other locations. You can contact the company via online form. You can also visit the Chubb website to quickly find an agent in your area. For most requests, you can deal directly with your local agent.

The Chubb website is also filled with helpful resources, including FAQs about insurance options and the claims process, as well as testimonials about how Chubb handled various claims.

Chubb has been ranked No. 1 in commercial claims handling by risk managers. However, the company is not an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau and has a B- rating. That being said, only been 101 complaints have been filed against the company in the past three years, which is substantially fewer than some of the other insurers we examined have.



The Hartford: Best for Workers' Compensation

Through the Hartford, employees have access to a preferred medical provider network with more than 1 million health professionals.
Injured employees can access prescriptions for no out-of-pocket costs from 6,500 pharmacies nationwide.
The Hartford is not an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau.
While laws vary by state, most businesses that have at least three employees are required to have workers' compensation insurance. This type of insurance protects businesses against potential lawsuits by employees injured on the job. Most insurance providers offer standard workers' compensation coverage, but some offer additional services. The Hartford is one of those insurers. It provides pay-as-you-go billing and multiple resources for employees who are injured at work. For example, it allows them to tap into a network of more than 1 million medical providers who specialize in workplace injuries, to fill prescriptions with no out-of-pocket expenses at 65,000 pharmacies nationwide, and to access nurse case managers who coordinate all of the treatment and care. For these reasons and more, The Hartford is our choice as the best insurer for workers' compensation insurance. Employees are responsible for filing workers' compensation claims. They can do so by filling out an online claim form on The Hartford website or contacting a Hartford representative over the phone. Claims can be filed 24/7. The Hartford provides small businesses with a wide range of other insurance coverage types. This includes general liability, business income, commercial auto, commercial flood, commercial property, umbrella, data breach, employment practices liability, home-based business, management liability and professional liability. November 2019: The Hartford recently revamped its Spectrum Business Owner's Policy (BOP). The service allows Hartford agents to provide small business owner's with tailored coverage recommendations as the quote is being built. When agents are discussing possible coverage options to include in the policy, the system will automatically make recommendations and include descriptions on why that specific type of coverage would be beneficial. The system also includes immediate pricing information for each coverage being include in the BOP.
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CNA: Best for Multiple Liability Policies

In addition to general liability coverage, CNA offers employment practices, management, cyber, media, professional and fiduciary liability policies.
You can file claims 24/7 365 days a year by phone, fax, email or online.
CNA has several one-star reviews with the Better Business Bureau.

With more than 120 years of experience, CNA is one of the largest U.S. commercial property and casualty insurance companies in the country. CNA provides a wide range of standard and specialized property and casualty insurance plans to more than 1 million businesses and professionals in the U.S.

CNA offers a large selection of liability insurance on top of its general liability policies. This includes management, employment practices, cyber, media, professional and fiduciary liability. While your small business might not need all of these policies, it helps to know you have these options – which is one of the reasons CNA is our choice as the best business insurer for multiple liability policies.

In addition to its liability coverage, CNA provides businesses of all sizes with any other types of insurance they may need, including property insurance, commercial auto insurance, umbrella policies and workers' compensation.

CNA also has a smooth claims process. Claims can be filed in numerous ways 24/7.  Once a claim has been filed, you are assigned an adjuster in your region who has experience with your specific type of claim.

Types of Insurance

CNA gives businesses numerous liability insurance options. At the center of this is general liability. Typically, CNA offers general liability insurance as part of its business owner policy. Called CNA Connect, this policy combines general liability insurance with other types of coverage small businesses may need, including property, business income and equipment breakdown insurance.

With its general liability insurance, coverage of up to $2 million for a single incident and $4 million for all incidents is available.

CNA also offers various forms of management liability insurance, including employment practices liability, which covers employers from employee claims alleging discrimination, wrongful termination and harassment. Coverage of up to $500,000 is available for employment practices liability insurance.

These are some other types of liability insurance CNA offers:

  • Cyber liability: This covers financial losses resulting from data breaches and other cyberattacks.
  • Media liability insurance: This is best for companies with a significant online presence. It covers media-related risks such as defamation, libel, slander, emotional distress, copyright infringement, plagiarism and misleading advertising.
  • Professional liability: Also known as errors and omissions (E&O), this type of coverage protects service providers from mistakes they make during the performance of their duties.
  • Fiduciary liability: Designed for businesses that sponsor employee retirement plans, this covers claims of mismanagement of a company's benefit plans.

For miscellaneous professional liability and technology E&O, CNA provides policies that can cover up to $5 million in damages.

Rates for each liability product are based on the unique drivers of exposures of that type of insurance, the type of business being insured and the location of the business, among other factors. For example, when determining rates for your general liability, CNA may consider how many square feet your business occupies, your revenue, type of business, location of business and number of employees.

Other Types of Insurance

What helps make CNA such an appealing insurance provider is that, in addition to its liability offerings, it can provide businesses with a wide range of other coverage. One of the more important types for small business owners is business interruption insurance, which covers lost business income in the event of property loss through a fire, flood or other weather-related incident.

Property insurance is also available. It covers all of the physical property your business owns, including the building itself, the equipment inside, inventory, tenant improvements and betterments, and off-premises property. Commercial auto, crime, international and marine insurance are among the other types CNA can provide to small businesses.

Umbrella policies, with coverage up to $10 million, are also available to small businesses. Higher limits are available to larger companies.

CNA offers workers' compensation insurance too. The rates are usually determined by rating bureaus such as NCCI or independent state rating bureaus and approved by the individual state departments of insurance. However, CNA has some ability to deviate from these regulated rates based on your company's overall loss experience, business type and location.

Claims Process

Policyholders can file claims 24/7/365 by phone, fax, email or online form. CNA has regional offices throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, with claim professionals who provide expertise and specialize not only by type of business, but also by claim type and severity. During the claims process, CNA leverages advanced analytics and technology to ensure it has the right people performing the right tasks throughout the process.

Customers have access to a number of in-house resources, including litigation counsel, special investigations and recovery. The special investigations unit can identify, investigate and pursue fraud, leveraging predictive models and machine learning to help resolve claims.

The company's recovery services team pursues recovery opportunities against parties who were responsible for any losses. They use predictive analytics tools and dedicated resources to identify areas of recovery and reduce costs, which can result in lower premiums.

For workers' compensation claims, CNA's process is designed to help customers manage and save on medical costs, reduce medication usage, and return employees to work as soon as medically possible. CNA has a preferred provider network and a dedicated pharmacy team. The company's First Fill Program covers the cost of an employee's first prescription with no out-of-pocket expense at more than 70,000 pharmacies nationwide.

One unique aspect of CNA's workers' compensation coverage is its Choices to Work Program, which offers employees several options for returning to work. For example, if the employer cannot offer a slower pace or easy transition, the Choices to Work Program identifies a local volunteer organization to send the employee to. This helps keep employees engaged and focused on what they can do rather than what they can't.

Customer Service

CNA lets you get an immediate quote on its website. After indicating the type of coverage you are looking for, you answer several questions about your business, its location and your employees. You receive a rate quote as soon as you answer the questions.

The CNA website also features several ways to connect with a local agent. You can search for one by location, or you can fill out some information about your business to be matched with an agent who can best serve your needs. You can contact CNA directly by phone or email.

CNA is an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating. Over the past three years, only 15 complaints have been filed against the company. That is significantly fewer than many of the insurance companies we looked into.


Buying Guide

How to Choose Business Liability Insurance

There's a wide range of business insurance providers in today's market, which can make choosing the best one for your business a tough process. When looking for an insurance provider, you should take a number of factors into consideration. Here are some of the main points you should look into.

Company Experience

Not all businesses or industries face the same risks, so you'll want to look for a company that has the background and experience to handle insurance for your type of business. Also look for customer testimonials. If you expect your business to continue growing, consider whether the company offers coverage that can grow with you. 


Many companies sell general liability business insurance, but it can be challenging to determine the type of coverage you'll need. Consider the risks you face in your business. Different types of businesses have different types of risk. For instance, a medical practice would need more coverage than an arts and crafts supplier.

If you have a high-risk business, seek out insurers that offer excess insurance or umbrella policies to expand your coverage. These will cover you if a claim against you exceeds the amount of your general liability policy. These are a couple of the questions you should ask yourself and/or the insurance provider:

  • Can the insurer provide enough coverage for all of your assets' liabilities as well as damage?
  • Is the provider's liability insurance adequate for your business's risks?

If you are a contractor or perform projects for other companies, it's important to check with your client about insurance. A contract for which you perform work may require a certain amount of insurance coverage or an umbrella policy, or sometimes a company will add you to its general liability policy to be insured on a specific project. Some businesses are required by state law to carry certain types of liability insurance, so check your state's requirements. 

Claims Processing

You want an insurer with a proven record of settling claims quickly and fairly. Check an insurer's claims process to see if it offers several options, including online tools, to submit and track a claim. The more options for submitting a claim, the better. The insurer's track record for how quickly it processes claims is also important.

You also may want to make sure the insurance provider lets you file claims 24/7. Should something happen on the weekend or late at night, you don't want to have to wait to start the claims process.

Review testimonials from people who have been through that insurance company's claims process. The insurer should have a history of high customer satisfaction. Business liability insurance companies should be responsive and supportive should you ever need to file a claim.

Other Insurance Options

Even though you may be specifically looking for business liability insurance, you likely will need other policies for your business. Those may include other liability options, like professional or cyber liability insurance, or policies like property damage, commercial auto, or workers' compensation insurance.

Finding an insurance company that can offer you all of the business insurance policies you need will save you time and the hassle of working with multiple insurers.

Benefits and Importance of Business Liability Insurance

Business liability insurance is a critical policy for most businesses. It protects you from a wide variety of potential issues. Specifically, these policies cover bodily injury to others who come into your business. This could be a customer in your retail store or a client in your office. In addition to injury, general liability insurance protects against damage to the property of anyone who comes in your store, office, plant or any other type of business location. In both of these instances, the business liability insurance can cover any legal or medical costs you incur from lawsuits filed against you.

Besides protections against claims from clients, customers or other visitors to your business, business liability insurance protects against advertising injury. This refers to claims of false advertising, libel, slander or copyright infringement. For example, if you put out an ad that mentions one of your competitors in a negative light and they sue you with a claim that the ad negatively impacted their business, your insurance can protect you from the costs of defending yourself.

Whether you win or lose, such lawsuits can be extremely costly and time-consuming, taking your focus away from generating revenue. This can be devastating for a small business, so general liability insurance is extremely important. Small business liability insurance allows you to focus on your business even when you're facing a claim of damage, injury or negligence.

Another benefit of business liability insurance is protection against damage to property you rent. If any equipment or other property is damaged by fire, lightning or an explosion, your insurance will cover the costs.

There are several other types of liability policies that some businesses may benefit from, including these policies:

  • Professional liability insurance: This is designed for businesses that provide professional services for clients. Also referred to as E&O (errors and omissions) insurance, this type of policy covers businesses that are being sued for negligence in the services they provide. Basically, professional liability insurance covers businesses that are sued for making a mistake with a client, whether the claim is founded or unfounded.
  • Management liability insurance: This is designed to cover businesses in instances where managers are sued for things like breach of responsibilities or wrongful termination. It includes more specific policies like directors and officers (D&O) liability, fiduciary liability, and employment practices liability.
  • Cyber liability insurance: This protects your business from the expenses associated with things like computer hacks and data breaches.

New research from Chubb shows the importance of cyber liability insurance. According to the new report, the number of ransomware attacks in 2019 has already surpassed all of those for 2018. Overall, malware claims with Chubb, which include ransomware, have risen to 18% of all cyber claims in 2019. That's up from an average of 12% over the past five years. Additionally, Chubb reports that ransomware has accounted for 23% of its cyber claims for smaller businesses in 2019.

When you're deciding which types of liability insurance you may benefit from, the first thing to consider is your type of business. How large is your organization? What is its legal structure? What industry are you in? Where is your business located? Answering all of these questions will help you determine which liability policies you need to properly protect your business.

You don't have to figure this all out on your own. Don't hesitate to talk to various insurance agents to get their take. Give them all of the details on your business and how it operates, and they will be able to make recommendations based on their industry expertise.

Business Liability Insurance FAQs

Q: What is commercial general liability insurance?

A: Commercial general liability insurance is another name for business liability insurance. It is a necessary policy for most businesses. It covers a wide range of potential issues, including injuries to people other than your employees who enter your store or workplace. It also covers damage that may occur to their property when they enter your store or office.

It also protects you against any lawsuits that might come your way should one of your ads cause harm to a competitor. This coverage includes any claims of libel or slander.

In all, this type of coverage is necessary for many businesses, as it provides protection and coverage against many possible issues.

Q: Who needs business liability insurance?

A: Nearly all businesses, regardless of industry, should have some level of business liability insurance. This can cover your business in a number of different scenarios, including if a customer is injured inside your store or office or if your products or service cause bodily harm to someone.

All businesses can benefit from that extra layer of protection to help cover defense fees or potential judgments. Like other types of insurance, general liability insurance is something you hope you never have to use. However, if you don't have it and do need it for some reason, you could put your business in serious jeopardy.  

Q: How much general liability insurance coverage do you need?

A: This depends a lot on the type of business you have. Insurance providers offer a range of coverage amounts. Coverage can range from $100,000 to as much as $2 million for one instance and $4 million for all instances. Many providers offer umbrella policies that can increase that amount to as much as $10 million.

You need to take a number of factors into account to determine how much coverage you need from your insurance policy. Your industry, location, revenue, number of daily visitors and type of workplace (e.g., a retail outlet, office or manufacturing plant) will help you determine the right level of coverage for your business.

Q: Do you need business insurance for an LLC?

A: While your personal assets may be protected if you own an LLC, you still need business insurance, especially general liability coverage. 

Even though a potential lawsuit against your business may spare your personal assets if you have an LLC business structure, you are still putting your business in serious risk if you don't have business insurance. An LLC faces much of the same dangers as businesses with other structures, so there is no reason not to protect it with the proper insurance policies.

Q: How much does general liability insurance cost?

A: Similarly to the amount of coverage you need, the cost of general liability insurance depends greatly on the type of business you have. Your company's risk exposure, size, building construction, requested coverage amount, geographical location and number of employees, among other things, all factor into the rate you'll pay for liability insurance.

Many insurance providers offer online quote options, meaning you can fill out some information about your business on their websites and receive quotes for your insurance instantly. This is an easy way to shop around for your insurance. When filling out these forms on some insurers' websites, we found prices ranging from about $450 to $700 per year for liability coverage of $1 million for a retail store.

Q: Do you really need business insurance?

A: The quick and easy answer to this question is yes. Besides the fact that it protects your business from various claims that may come your way, some types of insurance are required by law.

Specifically, if you are hiring employees, many states require you to have workers' compensation insurance. Besides that, it really comes down to choosing the insurance policies that are right for your business. At a minimum, it is recommended that all business carry some liability insurance as well as property insurance.

Q: Why does a business need liability insurance?

A: Businesses need to be able to protect their assets and financially deal with potential legal issues. Liability insurance helps shield your company from those costs, which is helpful in the event that your business is sued, whether it's a third-party lawsuit, slip-and-fall accident or another incident that has the potential to hurt your business.  

Q: Is owning an LLC considered self-employment?

A: Yes, if you own an LLC, you are a self-employed individual. LLC owners, called members, are required to pay self-employment taxes. 

Q: What happens if someone sues an LLC?

A:  If your LLC is sued, your business generally assumes the liability of the judgment, and you, the business owner, will not be held liable – meaning that your personal assets or bank account will be safe from any impact of the lawsuit. However, there may be exceptions if your LLC wasn't formed or managed correctly, if you mixed your personal and business finances or assets, or if you signed contracts with personal guarantee clauses.

Q. How much does liability insurance cost for a sole proprietor?

As a sole proprietor, it is especially important that you get liability insurance because the legal responsibility for your business rests solely on you. Costs for general liability insurance vary wildly depending on the specifics of your business – it could be anywhere from $500 to $15,000 annually – so you'll need to call a few providers (two to three) to get an idea of what you can expect to pay. The factors that affect price include your type of business, the state you do business in, your annual revenue and whether there have been past insurance claims.

Q. What is not covered by general liability insurance?

General liability insurance only helps you with third-party lawsuits that involve customer injuries (including product liability and/or advertising liability) or property damage. For instance, if you or your workers get into an accident or damage company vehicles, your business liability policy will not cover it. It will not cover damage to your business if the destruction is done by you or your employees. However, if a customer destroys your property, the liability policy will likely cover it.

Employee accidents (like a slip-and-fall) aren't covered – you'll need workers' compensation for that – but if a customer hurts themselves in your establishment, your liability policy may help pay for their medical fees.

Q: What are the different types of liability insurance?

A: Several kinds of liability insurance are available for small business owners.

  • Commercial general liability protects your business against claims of property damage, bodily injury, and reputational or advertising harm.

  • Directors and officers liability protects the personal assets of those in these roles (and their spouses) against claims by employees and customers.

  • Professional indemnity insurance protects business owners who provide guidance or other professional services against lawsuits accusing them of errors.

  • Cyber risk insurance covers your business's liability for damages or losses due to a data security breach and mitigates recovery costs.

  • Commercial crime insurance protects you against any damages caused by insider threats, like employees who have stolen money or forged documents. 

Q: Who gets professional liability insurance?

A: Professional liability insurance is essential for small business owners and independent contractors who provide professional services. Accountants, lawyers, doctors, architects, engineers, insurance agents and other professionals looking for protection against lawsuits that involve claims of negligence should get this type of coverage.

Specific types of professional liability insurance include medical malpractice insurance, which protects doctors, and errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, which is used by professionals who provide advice or services.



To determine the best business liability and workers' compensation insurance companies, we started with a list of two dozen providers. We then visited each company's website and did some initial research.

Next, we focused on some of the bigger insurance companies and eliminated companies that are just insurance brokers, which work with businesses to find them the best coverage and rates for their needs.

We ultimately narrowed down our pool to AIG, Allstate, Chubb, CNA Financial, Farmers, Hiscox, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm, The Hartford and Travelers.

We then contacted each insurance provider, asking them to fill out a questionnaire designed to provide us with more details on each one's business liability and workers' compensation offerings. We asked about coverage types, coverage amounts, the claims process and what other types of insurance they offer.

Overall, we based our best picks on these factors:

  • Liability insurance options
  • Workers' compensation insurance
  • Other insurance options
  • How rates are determined
  • Coverage amounts
  • The claims process
  • Better Business Bureau ratings and complaints

Workers' Compensation Insurance

Another key piece of insurance that all employers need is workers' compensation. Workers' comp is a type of insurance that protects employers from potential lawsuits and provides injured employees with insurance payouts.

Depending on your industry or the number of employees you have, you may be required to have this type of insurance. It can be the difference between an insurance payout for an injured worker and an expensive lawsuit that could force your company into bankruptcy.

Workers' comp has additional built-in protections. It can often prevent a third party from suing you in the event of an employee injury. Let's say, for example, a worker is injured while using a heavy piece of machinery. If that worker sues the machinery company, workers' comp can protect you against the machinery company suing you. This is a basic example, and legal situations are often more complex. The key takeaway is that workers' comp can serve not only as a benefit to your employees should they be injured, but also as a safeguard for your business.

Each state has different legal structures for workers' comp. Some states require you to have it; others let you enroll at your own discretion. The cost structure also varies by state. Depending on your industry and state, you should expect to pay 1% to 4% of your total payroll for workers' comp insurance.

Despite laws in place around workers' comp, Insureon found that only 17% of small businesses surveyed said they were enrolled in it. If you don't have workers' comp or haven't even thought about it, you should consider it, both to benefit your employees and to protect your business.

What to Expect in 2020

While adoption at this point has been slower than in other industries, we expect artificial intelligence to continue making its way into the insurance industry. Incorporating this type of intelligence into their services could have huge dividends for insurance providers. 

McKinsey & Company estimates the insurance industry could see $1.1 trillion in additional value by using AI throughout its services. This includes marketing and sales, operations, risk, service operations, finance and IT, and human resources. 

There are multiple ways the insurance industry could incorporate AI. One way we foresee is providing businesses with different insurance options and quotes more quickly. 

Instead of customers speaking to a live agent, AI could manage those responsibilities. Chatbots could recommend the policies that make the most sense for businesses and give an instant quote for those services. Research from Accenture found that 80% of insurers expect that AI will work alongside humans in their organizations as a co-worker, collaborator and trusted advisor in 2020. 

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the amount of data insurance companies collect will fuel the incorporation of AI into their services. "The abundance [of] unstructured data can be leveraged through AI to increase customer engagement, create more personalized service and more meaningful marketing messages, sell the right product to customers, and target the right customer," wrote the NAIC on its website

Another area that may see more widespread adoption of AI is the processing of claims. AI within this specific area could gain more steam throughout the industry in 2020.

March 2020: As medical marijuana becomes legal in more states, businesses will want to pay attention to the role of insurance companies in covering such treatments under workers' compensation laws in 2020. 

In New Jersey, lawmakers recently advanced a bill that would require workers' compensation to cover the costs of medical marijuana treatments. The law states, however, that the injured patient must have tried at least one other type of treatment before moving on to marijuana. The potential new law follows a New Jersey appeals court ruling in January that determined an employer must pay the monthly medical marijuana bills of a former employer who was injured on the job nearly two decades ago. 

Similarly, the Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission recently ordered that out-of-pocket medical expenses for pain management should be reimbursed up to $200 per month. While the ruling didn't cite medical marijuana specifically, it noted that the reimbursements should cover all forms of treatment that are legally allowed in the state, which include cannabis. 

While these laws and rulings only impact workers in two states, it stands to reason that more states will follow suit as medical marijuana becomes more prevalent nationwide.

Chad Brooks
Chad Brooks, Writer
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Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor who has spent more than 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014.

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Shyam Vaidyanathan
In general there will be two types of coverage companies offer. One if basic coverage in which there will be a fixed standard coverage amount pre decided by the Insurance company based on rough estimate. Second one is extended coverage where you can set a premium value for goods as per market price (good valued at market at showroom rate). This should attract some amount of fee from customer as insurance fee.
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Mr. Roth is correct. In addition, you should look at your local state law to see what law applies to products liability. Products liability law varies from state-to-state, with some state laws being more business-friendly than others. Also, you should check to see that the manufacturers of products you are interested in allow distribution by folks like yourself, or whether they have exclusive distribution agreements. I represented a Wellness Center that received a cease and desist letter...
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Being pet friendly is great if you have a way to set rules on where the dogs are and if you have a special area of them to play. How do you separate from customer meetings as some customers may not enjoy dogs (even the smell which may be another concern) and they could be a distraction during meetings. I work from home so I am with my dog. Some days he really wants to play and with no other dog around, I find myself playing instead of working. This means I work later into the evening and...
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