About a third of New Zealand small businesses are thinking about changing their business insurance, research from insurer Vero shows.

Vero has surveyed more than 600 New Zealand small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) across the Covid-19 pandemic to understand the economic impact of the virus on their businesses and their current and planned insurance purchasing behaviour. 

Research reveals around 30% of the SMEs surveyed were currently considering changes to their business insurance. In the current environment, 20% were looking to increase their cover and 10 per cent were thinking about decreasing cover. 

 “71% of the SMEs surveyed say they’ve taken a revenue hit post-Covid,” said Mark Wilkshire, executive general manager customer experience.

 “We found business owners are twice as likely to be impacted by financial vulnerability compared to householders. 39% of business owners say they are now struggling to make ends meet, compared to 21% pre-Covid.”

Vero has implemented comprehensive support options to help its SME customers, including Suncorp New Zealand’s $2 million hardship fund, established to assist Vero and Asteron Life customers experiencing financial pressure as a result of Covid-19 maintain their insurance cover. 

“Our concern is that some business owners may not be connecting with that support. Our hardship fund is there to help our customers retain their insurance cover, while Vero’s other support options can help our SME customers as they recover from Covid,”  Wilkshire said.

Vero’s support options for its SME customers include payment assistance options for SME customers when their policies renew, flexible payment terms and adjusting excesses on business insurance policies.  Vero’s SME customers can access this assistance by reaching out to their insurance broker.

“Our 2019 Vero SME Index findings showed brokers providing tailored risk management advice add substantial value to SMEs. That advice is independent, impartial and can help businesses face the future with confidence,” he said.

Vero will be using the findings to work with brokers and advisers to help them offer a compelling proposition to SMEs, but there is also a role for business owners to play by asking themselves where expert advice could help.  

“Having insurance is vital in building a financially resilient business. Cancelling a policy might cut some costs in the short term, but it can come back to bite you. If you’re looking to the future, have a chat with your broker. They’ll be able to give you impartial advice.”

September 2020

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