QBE survey reveals SME concerns amidst rising risks in Hong Kong

Challenges highlight lack of adequate coverage

QBE survey reveals SME concerns amidst rising risks in Hong Kong


By Roxanne Libatique

QBE's latest survey of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Hong Kong offers insights into the outlook for the upcoming year amidst prevailing business risks.

Conducted between December 2023 and January 2024, the survey engaged 616 SME business decision-makers.

Main concerns of SMEs in Hong Kong

While the overall sentiment is upbeat, SMEs remain mindful of the challenges ahead. Key concerns identified by respondents include:

  • escalating costs
  • staff acquisition and retention
  • cashflow
  • access to financing
  • shortage of orders
  • customer acquisition and retention

Lack of adequate insurance coverage

Despite these challenges, a significant portion of SMEs in Hong Kong lack adequate insurance coverage, leaving them vulnerable to risks such as business interruption and cyber liability. Concerns over issues like data breaches, business interruption, and infringement of intellectual property rights have seen a notable uptick compared to previous years.

Andex Fung, head of SME segment for Asia at QBE, emphasised the importance of addressing these risks through appropriate insurance coverage.

“Our survey shows that many SMEs are not covered for the risks they are most concerned about – for example, business interruption, cyber liability and more. This is straightforward to rectify, and I would encourage SME owners and business leaders to start by speaking to their trusted insurer or intermediary to better understand what protection exists – and what the best combination of cover for their business is. Doing so in advance of any negative event will pay dividends,” he said.

Rising demand for tailored insurance packages

The survey also underscored a growing preference among customers for tailored insurance packages that cover multiple business risks. An omnichannel sales approach, which seamlessly integrates online convenience with personalised advice from intermediaries, is gaining traction among customers.

Lei Yu, CEO for North Asia at QBE, highlighted the role of digital initiatives like Qnect1 in providing intermediary support and delivering seamless customer experiences across online and offline channels. She was recognized as one of the Most Inspiring Female Leaders in Insurance in Asia. Read the full list of winners in the special report here.

“Hong Kong-based SMEs are clearly concerned about today's operating environment, especially with regards to managing rising costs and falling profitability. The recently announced Hong Kong Budget 2024-252 echoes these findings with the announcement of measures that will help SMEs tackle their capital-flow problems, tap into new markets, and accelerate upgrading and transformation,” she said. “This year's surge in optimism among Hong Kong SMEs bodes well for the Hong Kong economy, and QBE is poised to help our SME customers navigate the risk landscape with bespoke solutions that can best address their concerns across business interruptions, supply chain management, employee talent retention, and liabilities.”

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