Vero has released its second SME Insurance Index for insurance brokers, this time focusing on understanding the evolving digital landscape, the role of the internet in business tasks and willingness to deal with insurance online.
In its survey of over 900 business owners, Vero found that SMEs are becoming increasingly confident in using the internet for simple business tasks such as banking, communication and admin, but are less comfortable using it for more complex tasks, such as identifying the most appropriate insurance for their needs.
The research showed that 62% of respondents found convenience and ease of access to be the biggest perceived benefit of conducting business online, with speed, simple money transfer and lack of paperwork following close behind. However, the key drawbacks included the risk of errors, the impersonal nature of online transactions and the risk of leaking business information.
Most notably, 46% of broker clients identified the impersonal nature as an issue, along with 39% citing the lack of advice as a key drawback.
According to Chris Brophy, manager SME & rural at Vero, the survey findings should help brokers identify their best bets for potential digital investments.
“We all know that insurance is changing, and that online offerings in particular are becoming more attractive,” Brophy told Insurance Business. “This research shows that no matter their age or industry, more than three in four SMEs are comfortable doing business online. We think that these insights will be helpful to brokers who want to know where to put their spend when it comes to digital and online platforms.”
“Over all the SME Index issues we’ve released, the importance of sound advice has come through - but the research also shows that SMEs are becoming more likely to turn to friends or networks for advice,” he explained. “This means word of mouth recommendations for brokers are becoming more important. The Index also shows that trust, potential for errors and lack of advice are all drawbacks, and those are parts of their value proportion that brokers could promote.”
Vero’s first SME Index was launched in 2017, and, according to Brophy, it has become a valuable tool for brokers to gain a better understanding of their customers’ behaviours and needs. Vero is also currently working on a number of tools to help brokers further future-proof their business.
“After we launched the first New Zealand SME Index last year, Vero surveyed 250 brokers and 21% said it had helped them to attract new clients,” Brophy stated. “The purpose of the research is to help brokers target SME customers and tailor their offerings to provide solutions for them, and we are thrilled to find that so many brokers were making use of the insights.”