Founded in 1872, Great American Insurance Company is one of the oldest insurance companies in the country. Great American, and its affiliated property and casualty insurers of the Great American Insurance Group, focus on serving niche markets with specialty commercial products. With many insurance offerings, Great American has no shortage of options for businesses of any size and industry. Great American also has the backing of a Fortune 500 parent company, American Financial Group, providing it with solid financial stability and peace of mind for clients. However, Great American’s cumbersome and bland digital experience is an unfortunate drawback.
Great American Pros and Cons
AdvisorSmith Rating for Great American
- Overall rating: 3 / 5 stars
- Coverage options: 4.5 / 5 stars (35% of overall rating)
- Cost: 3 / 5 stars (10% of overall rating)
- Ratings and complaints: 4 / 5 stars (15% of overall rating)
- Digital experience: 2 / 5 stars (20% of overall rating)
- Customer service: 2 / 5 stars (20% of overall rating)
Great American Commercial Insurance Coverage Options
It’s hard to know where to start when it comes to commercial insurance options from Great American. From equipment breakdown and commercial auto coverage to equine mortality and inland marine, there isn’t much (if anything) that Great American doesn’t cover.
Great American’s primary focus is providing insurance for niche businesses that need specific coverage. Great American Insurance Group has more than 30 specialty property and insurance businesses that provide tailored coverage for a host of industries, including:
- Cultural institutions
- Educational institutions
- Financial institutions
- Food and beverage
- Health care
- Human and social services
- Real estate
Essentially, if you’ve had trouble finding coverage that suits your niche market business, Great American will likely be able to offer a solution.
While niche markets are their specialty, Great American also has standard commercial insurance products. The go-to policy for most businesses, general liability coverage, is available through Great American on either a mono-line or package basis. Once you have employees, certain insurance is imperative to protect your business. For example, workers’ compensation provides coverage in the event an employee is injured at the workplace. And for small businesses, a business owner’s policy (BOP) offers a convenient package of key commercial insurance policies. What’s more, Great American has various cyber insurance products designed specifically for small and medium-sized businesses.
To provide protection against claims alleging an act, error or omission by a firm, its staff or contractors working on its behalf, Great American has professional liability products for lawyers, design professionals, accountants, and real estate professionals. In addition, a miscellaneous professional liability product provides customizable coverage for other service industries.
It’s important to note that since the company’s commercial insurance products are provided through “member companies” of the Great American Insurance Group, product availability can vary by jurisdiction.
Great American Insurance Cost
Great American doesn’t provide any indication regarding the average cost of commercial insurance policies, though this is likely due to the specialized nature of its products.
However, what’s even more unfortunate, is that Great American doesn’t make it easy to get an online quote and compare offerings to other insurers. Online quotes are available only to appointed brokers or for limited coverage options through its brand PolicySweet.
Given the niche focus of Great American, there’s a good chance that shopping for the lowest price isn’t the key focus of its targeted consumers because of few direct competitors. All this is to say, expect premiums to be on the higher end of the scale.
Great American Ratings and Complaints
Interestingly, there isn’t much in the way of online reviews for Great American, and we’re not entirely sure if that’s a good or bad thing. Among reviews that we did find, the main complaint from policyholders is about the lengthy claims process. Some also criticized the customer service they received, noting challenges in trying to speak with a person about a claim or that customer representatives were unprofessional.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) keeps track of complaints from policyholders about insurance companies. The median complaint score on the complaint index is always 1.0. Anything over 1.0 on the complaint index indicates a higher number of complaints than what’s expected in the market. However, Great American’s complaint index score was 0.24 for 2021, up slightly from 0.13 in 2020, which is substantially better than the industry average.
Great American also fares well with official rating providers. From AM Best, the company’s most recent rating is “A+” (Superior), and it has received a rating of “A” (Excellent) or higher from AM Best for more than 110 years. It also has a Standard & Poor’s rating of A+. Plus, the Better Business Bureau gives Great American an A+ rating, though the company is not BBB accredited.
Great American Digital Experience
Great American’s website is a bit of a mixed bag. At first glance, there appears to be plenty of information available, but after taking a detailed look, it’s apparent that the pages provide merely cursory information. In fact, the workers’ compensation page under Alternative Markets consists of just 83 words. The website is clearly geared towards agents and brokers rather than the general public.
What’s more, if customers are interested in learning more about Great American’s options, the onus is on them to reach out to a representative.
Great American appears to have some apps available, but only for those with crop, equine mortality, or trucking coverage. The good news for these policyholders is that the reviews for these apps are largely favorable.
Though the company claims to support innovation, that doesn’t appear to be its focus regarding its digital experience, which feels clunky and dated.
Great American Customer Service
As mentioned above, the onus is on customers to reach out for more information about coverage options. While Great American’s website does provide customer service contact information, unfortunately, you won’t find a chat function or the opportunity to schedule a consultation anywhere on the site.
Some online reviews speak to challenges with Great American’s customer service, including unfortunate interactions with customer service representatives. But, given the limited number of online reviews for the company, it’s difficult to interpret this as any type of trend.
Other Services and Features that Great American Offers
For companies that have trouble finding insurance products that fit their business model, Great American has a solution with its custom coverage option that creates one-of-a-kind policies. Policyholders with Great American Custom range from small businesses to Fortune 1000 accounts.
Great American used to offer annuities through their life insurance company but sold that business to MassMutual in May 2021.
What Is Great American’s Claim Process?
Because of Great American’s variety of coverage, there are different ways to submit claims for certain divisions. For example, policyholders with trucking and equine mortality coverage can submit claims through the respective apps. And for specialty human services, there is the option to report a claim online. But, unfortunately, other policyholders aren’t able to submit a claim online.
While the website provides a claims contact for each division, the company encourages policyholders to contact their insurance agent for assistance with the claims process. For those who have cyber insurance with Great American, there is a 24/7 dedicated claims center.
How to Get Quotes From Great American
Getting insurance quotes should be easy, but that’s not the case with Great American. There is no option to get an online quote for Great American’s policies. After some searching, we did find one link for quotes on the website, but after submitting an email address to start the quote process, there was a notification that “you must be an appointed broker and have your email on file with us” to proceed.
That means customers must contact an agent or broker or the company’s customer service to get information on acquiring a quote.
However, there is some good news. Small businesses can get an online quote for BOP and workers’ compensation coverage via PolicySweet.
Bottom Line: Is Great American a Good Company?
Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. There’s no question that Great American is a good option for companies that require specialized coverage. For businesses that don’t fit any particular mold or have struggled to find appropriate insurance solutions, Great American will certainly be able to help. Plus, the company is well-established, so customers need not worry about its longevity or financial strength. However, businesses interested in basic commercial insurance products would likely benefit from going with an insurer that doesn’t have a niche market focus.
Alternatives to Great American
One of the biggest drawbacks to Great American is the lackluster digital experience. So if you want the convenience of getting quotes and submitting claims online and don’t require highly-specialized coverage, you may want to look elsewhere for your commercial insurance needs.
One option that may be worth checking out is Hiscox, which has a user-friendly website focused on insurance for small businesses. The company has more than 500,000 small business customers and is rated an impressive 4.6 stars out of 5 on Trustpilot with more than 880 reviews.
Another potential contender is Chubb, the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company. Now, that may sound intimidating if you’re a small business owner. But Chubb happens to have a division strictly focused on small business insurance. Chubb’s small business insurance site makes it easy to get a quote online and even has an interactive guide to help select the right policy. What’s more, Chubb ranked highest in customer satisfaction with the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Small Commercial Insurance Study.
Of course, Great American isn’t the only insurance company with some gaps and drawbacks. Just like with any business, no two insurance companies are alike. So take time to shop around and compare options before signing on with any company.