which has minimal bad paid claim press and easy underwriting?
As stated above, key man is life and/or disabilty, easy underwriting usually means higher premiums, strict UW usually means lower premiums. Healthy non smokers should always choose full UW, always the best bang for the buck, IMO.
I've used West Coast, Reliastar, Empire General and, I think Banner for Key Man life policies. For the big stuff (buy/sell and so on) I am inclined to the major permanent carriers like MassMutual, NML and NYL. Never done Key Man DI but would think Unum and Guardian good choices.
Generally speaking I would suggest the big houses, may it be Mass Mutual, John Hancock, Mutual Trust whatever you like. Also it adviseable IMHO to talk about Key Man with Continuation Planning of the business. Usually in smaller companies the Owner will be the Key Man, in that case Continuation Planning is crucial if he wants the business to continue for his family or be passed directly to a partner. Plus if it is a Associate of the company you can use the idea of deferred compensation along with Key Man to make it more appealing, simply meaning if the Key Person being insured stays with the company till a agreed upon time he gets the policy directly passed to him including all value of the policy as compensation that the owner doesn't have to give to everyone like a 401.
Personally I feel this way, its better to know a few products well and selling from that than offering a bunch of products that you nor I can know all that well!
Let us take DI for example, why would anyone use Guardian/Berkshire or Union if you are marketing to small business? Why would it benefit them to pay for that "Own Occupation" clause that just isn't needed or really even useable? While we all can appreciate a Heart Surgeon not wanting to have his income hit hard if he can no longer perform Heart Surgery but has to be lets say become a Instructor or a GP. In this case I would highly recommend a company such as Illonios Mutual that has more affordable policies plus adequate protection for the Business Owner at least in likely 99% of the time.
I would also think if you are selling to small business (Keyman) type of situations you shouldn't be out also try selling to Dr's and the like. So why even bother with DI that isn't gonna be sellable anyway, go with IM or similiar type of carrier for your DI needs in this market.