New research by Suncorp insurer Vero reveals nearly two-thirds of Australian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have altered their business models as a result of COVID-19. In a startling revelation however, only one-third of these companies have adjusted their Business Insurance coverage to account for the changes in business activities.
In 2021, Vero surveyed 1500 Australian SME businesses to gain insights into how the pandemic has affected business operations, product or service offerings, and moving towards online and remote operations.
Anthony Pagano, Vero’s Head of Commercial Intermediaries, told Insurance News, “Some businesses have adapted, some have diversified, some have pulled back. How many have set up a new website, or initiated click and collect, or hybrid working for employees?”
As the economic paradigm shifts due to the pandemic, a quality insurance broker is key to helping businesses navigate the uncertainties of the changing risk landscape, providing advice on how to protect themselves against new exposures.
While Vero’s research suggests many business owners have been proactive in adapting to the new climate, the majority (87%) of those who are planning to retain all the changes have talked to their insurance broker, but only 43% who are planning to keep some of the changes have been in contact, while direct customers are more likely to have cancelled their policies.
Vero’s report showcases the importance of consulting an insurance broker to help safely navigate your business through these unprecedented times.
“There is a risk that many SMEs are under or inappropriately insured as a result of the alterations they’ve made in their business and have not considered the material implications to their insurance program or business,” says Pagano.
When SMEs were asked what their main business concerns are, COVID-19 tops the list, with the long-term impacts the pandemic might have on the economy ranked as the highest concern at 39%.
Additional concerns also include employee mental health due to COVID-19, maintaining COVID safe protocols within office spaces, and employee vaccination status.
Overall, 53% of SMEs agreed that recent events have made them value their insurance now more than ever, with many SMEs now introducing or emphasising the importance of having insurance covers that are relevant to the pandemic. This includes suspended operations, ongoing maintenance of equipment and covering employees who work from home.
Pagano suggests that COVID will continue to impact SMEs decisions over the course of the next year.
“Brokers could expand their conversations beyond just physical risks such as exposure to fire and look into insurance ramifications for issues such as remote working,” says Pagano.
Many SMEs are now placing importance on insurance covers that are relevant to pandemic conditions such as restarting after suspended operations, ongoing maintenance of equipment, and covering employees who work from home. With the risk landscape changing significantly over the last two years the advice of a professional insurance broker is more important than ever.
For professional insurance advice, and to ensure your business insurance coverage is suitable for your current risk exposures, connect with an CBN Authorised Broker.
For professional insurance advice, connect with a CBN Authorised Insurance Broker.
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