Three in 10 (30%) of surveyed small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in New Zealand are planning to make changes to their business insurance cover, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey, conducted by Vero, polled 600 SMEs and attempts to understand the economic impact of the virus on their businesses and their current and planned insurance purchasing behaviour. It found that 20% are looking to increase their cover, while 10% are thinking about decreasing cover in the current environment.
“71% of the SMEs surveyed say they’ve taken a revenue hit post COVID,” said Mark Wilkshire, executive general manager for customer experience at Vero.
“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.”
According to Vero, it 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 in maintaining their insurance cover.
“Our concern is that some business owners may not be connecting with that support,” said Wilkshire. “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.”
Vero also stressed the importance of brokers in ensuring the continued resilience of businesses as New Zealand recovers from the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Our 2019 Vero SME Index findings showed brokers providing tailored risk management advice add substantial value to SMEs,” Wilkshire said. “That advice is independent, impartial and can help businesses face the future with confidence.”
Vero said that it will use the findings to work with brokers and advisers to help them offer a compelling proposition to SMEs, and the insurer advised business owners to consider asking for expert advice and have a chat with their broker.