New statistics have shown that female small business owners (owners of SMEs) are less likely to seek independent insurance advice compared to their male counterparts – however, with female-led SMEs representing an increasingly higher proportion of New Zealand businesses, brokers could be in a prime position to help address this discrepancy.
According to Vero’s latest SME Insurance Index, only 54% of the women surveyed bought their insurance through a broker compared to 71% of men – however, women also reported on average higher levels of concern around various business challenges.
The survey showed that 39% of female SMEs are concerned about employees taking time off work, compared to 16% of male SMEs; 33% are concerned about adverse publicity, and 32% about economic downturn – the corresponding male figures being 27% and 21% respectively. Women overall scored higher for concern on every metric, but 30% of female respondents did not see the value in using a broker to buy their insurance.
“The interesting thing here is that when female SMEs do connect with a broker, they’re actually getting more value out of it than their male counterparts,” Vero’s executive manager of customer experience Catherine Bateman told Insurance Business. “It’s just that without having had that experience, they’re not necessarily perceiving the benefit.
“The real challenge now is around how we can connect women with brokers so that they can actually experience that value. Why don’t they perceive the benefit? Our report showed that a lot of women just don’t even consider the idea. As women, I think we have the tendency to simply try and do things ourselves, so there’s probably some of that tendency going on here.”
One of the biggest concerns identified by female SMEs was a lack of time for themselves and their families, and Bateman says this is an area where brokers can really emphasise their value. Twenty six per cent (26%) of respondents stated that they had no time for themselves, while 13% hadn’t ever thought of using a broker – statistics that Bateman says clearly demonstrates the need for more outsourcing.
“The research shows quite clearly what female business owners are concerned about, so my suggestion to brokers would be to ask themselves how they can communicate their message to potential clients around how they can alleviate those concerns,” she explained.
“Time is a classic example. Female business owners really called out the fact that they don’t feel they have enough time for their personal lives, and that’s an absolute opportunity for brokers to then demonstrate what they can do. They should really look at the concerns that female business owners have and create their story around that, describe the value that they can offer in a way that responds to those concerns.”