Brokers in the insurance industry are facing increasing levels of stress, according to a new survey from Ecclesiastical.
The insurer’s 2023 Broker Wellbeing Survey has revealed that stress levels have risen for the fifth consecutive year, with 79% of brokers admitting to experiencing stress at work in the past 12 months.
Anxiety levels have also reached a new peak, as nearly half of brokers (48%) reported suffering from anxiety during the same period.
Heavy workloads remained the primary cause of stress, as reported by 75% of respondents. However, the survey showed an increase in the number of brokers attributing their stress to the volume of industry regulations, rising from 45% in 2021 to 67% in 2023.
Furthermore, dealing with insurers has become the third most significant source of stress, cited by 59% of brokers. This marks an increase from 39% in 2021, surpassing customer demands (56%) for the first time in the survey’s history.
Staff shortages and recruitment challenges have also remained a concern, with 41% of brokers noting this as a continuing issue.
Commenting on the findings, Ecclesiastical commercial director Adrian Saunders highlighted how systemic issues are affecting brokers’ stress levels.
“Labour market shortages are making it difficult to recruit the right people, which in turn is creating heavier workloads for brokers, while increased regulation is piling even more pressure on,” he said.
Despite higher stress levels, the survey did highlight some positive developments in broker wellbeing.
For one, most brokers (94%) said that they are able to recognise the signs of poor mental health in themselves. Additionally, 92% said they possess the tools and techniques to cope with everyday stress, while 16% of the brokers who have experienced mental health issues were able to seek support from a health professional.
Brokerage firms have also shown a growing commitment to employee wellbeing, as the number of brokers who said they feel comfortable discussing mental health with their managers increased from 52% in 2019 to 75% in 2023.
Moreover, 82% of brokers now believe their brokerage is supportive of individuals with mental health issues, up from 70% in 2019.
Overall, Ecclesiastical’s survey found that awareness of mental health issues had increased for the fifth consecutive year, with an average score of 6.6 out of 10, up from 6.4 in the previous year and 5.7 when the survey began in 2019.
Understanding of mental health issues has additionally reached its highest level at 5.9, from 5.6 in the previous year. In fact, nearly half (47%) of brokers said there is a high acceptance of mental health issues in the broker industry.
“Positively, more brokerages are investing in their wellbeing programmes, providing much-needed support for employees, and continuing the upward trend of the past few years,” said Saunders. “There is also a greater openness in the workplace with more brokers willing to talk about their issues with managers and colleagues. This is a real positive, as more dialogue around mental wellbeing can help to instigate positive change within the sector.”
Ecclesiastical has also been proactive in this front, collaborating with Mental Health in Business (MHIB) to provide support to brokers.
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