Broker satisfaction levels at all-time high, despite more SMEs going it alone


Vero’s SME Index, now in its 11th year, surveyed 1,500 SMEs to understand the current business climate, insurance purchasing behaviour and perceptions of brokers and the insurance industry.

Plus, for the first time, insights from 100 large businesses (200+ employees) have been included to uncover how this group differ from SMEs and how brokers can meet their distinctive needs.

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Rise in SMEs using a mix of channels, many buying straight-forward covers direct

In 2022, the Index has uncovered a significant drop in SMEs who purchase most of their insurance (90% of policies or more) through a broker(see figure below), this decline can be attributed in part to SMEs choosing to use a mix of channels to purchase their insurance.

Whilst SMEs are buying more straightforward covers, particularly low risk commercial properties, machinery and equipment breakdown, workers compensation and commercial motor vehicle insurance direct instead of through brokers, Anthony Pagano, Vero Head of Commercial Intermediaries has said “The biggest reason SMEs gave for not using a broker is the belief that they can do it easily themselves, not broker dissatisfaction, which is of some comfort to brokers”.

It is important for brokers to keep in mind, price is also a key factor with one third of mixed users saying they don’t use a broker because it is perceived as more expensive. So, there’s a clear role for brokers to ensure mixed users understand the complexity of insurance they are buying.

“This is where the intangible value of the broker’s expertise comes into play. Brokers can provide a holistic view of clients’ business and risks and ensure the cover reflects the exposures they are now under, saving SME’s time, money and heartache down the track,” said Mr Pagano.

Claims is a moment of truth driving SME action

Expert broker advice is evident when looking at claims satisfaction which remains higher with clients who buy their insurance through a broker than those who purchase insurance direct. 65% of broker clients are satisfied with their claims compared to only 42% of direct buyers which further supports the idea of claims being an influential moment of truth for SMEs (see figure below).

Yet, the majority of SMEs (88%) reported that they made changes to their insurance following a claim. The changes made by SMEs after a claim: included increasing their level of excess (28%), increasing their overall cover (25%), decreasing their level of excess (22%) and engaging a broker (22%) to assist with their future insurance needs, as well as ceasing to use a broker 10%.

“Clients are simply looking for that reassurance and confidence that the advice provided in the design and structure of their insurance program leading up to the loss incident is exactly what they were expecting through the purchase of relevant insurance products. Brokers (and insurers) that adhere to this belief will ensure clients remain satisfied and less likely to seek alternative suppliers that meet their needs”” Mr Pagano said.

Gaps and opportunities for brokers throughout insurance lifecycle

Over the past two years SMEs have had to pivot, change their business, and ways of working to remain viable. The Index, found over half of SMEs renewed insurance without seeking expert advice, potentially leaving themselves open to increased risk.

These findings clearly identified clear gaps and opportunities for how brokers can refine their services to stay relevant with today’s SMEs. The areas which have the largest gaps in performance between what SMEs rate as important, and what SMEs report brokers provide include:

“Having a deep understanding of the insureds business operations, processes and ways of working throughout the year, provides brokers the ability to connect with their clients, through the supply of information and advice to mitigate or eliminate emerging risks and finding cost effective ways to protect their business.” Mr Pagano said.

Half of SMEs renew insurance without expert advice from their broker

Vero’s Index found that of the 52% of SMEs who reported renewing their insurance without the advice of a broker, 14% conducted their own review and 38% renewed their insurance as is. Concerningly, younger SMEs and medium businesses are even less likely to receive advice from their broker when they renew their insurance.

These findings highlight that brokers need to consider how to engage their clients, particularly these two SME groups ahead of renewal time, by doing so it will ensure they understand the potential consequences and benefits of regular insurance and risk advice.

Renewals are an opportune time for brokers to ask SMEs about any changes to their business, undertake risk assessments and be proactive in recommending improvements. Watch the video to hear from Australian businesses:

Insights on large businesses

Vero surveyed 100 insurance decision makers from larger companies (200+ employees). Key insights include:

  • Larger businesses are less likely to have reviewed their insurance at their last renewal (29% consulted a broker, 22% made DIY changes, 49% conducted no review – just automatically renewed) – a concerning insight given the higher levels of risk facing larger businesses.
  • Compared to SMEs, larger businesses are more likely to use a mix of channels to buy insurance (73% buy 1-90% insurance through broker compared to 54% of SMEs) – a surprising finding considering the complexity of their business risk.
  • 37% of larger businesses do not use a broker because they think they’ll recommend policies with higher commission (compared to 22% of SMEs).
  • Larger businesses rely more heavily on their broker during claims (78% want to deal with a broker compared to 68% SMEs).
  • Larger businesses have a higher satisfaction with brokers than SMEs (96% rate their broker at least 8 out of 10, while 84% of SMEs score brokers at the same level).
  • Relationships are critical for larger businesses (when looking for a broker 40% prefer someone they can relate to).

In the coming months, Vero will release an additional Bonus Chapter of the 2022 Vero SME Insurance Index on SME attitudes to risk and under-insurance.

If you’d like to receive these updates please contact your Vero representative or follow Vero on LinkedIn.

Download the report to see the full findings for 2022 and what they mean for brokers.

Register to watch the Vero SME Insurance Index Webinar on demand

Source: The SME Insurance Index report research was conducted by BrandMatters. See www.brandmatters.com.au

Disclaimer: The information displayed is based on commissioned research involving 1,500 SME and 100 large business owners and decision-makers from around Australia. The research was conducted in October 2021. AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Vero Insurance (Vero) has prepared this Vero SME Insurance Index Report (Report) for general information purposes only. Vero and its related bodies corporate do not assume or accept any liability whatsoever (including liability for special, indirect, consequential or incidental damages, or damages for loss of profits, revenue or loss of use) arising out of or relating to this Report or the information it contains. Vero and its related bodies corporate do not invite reliance upon or accept responsibility for the information it provides on or through this Report. Vero and its related bodies corporate do not give any guarantees, undertakings or warranties concerning the accuracy, reliability, completeness or currency of the information provided. This Report is not a recommendation or statement of opinion about whether a reader should acquire insurance from Vero (or its related bodies corporate) or services from any insurance intermediary or otherwise alter their business arrangements. This Report is based on commissioned research by Vero and should not be used as the basis for any decision in relation to the acquisition or disposal of insurance products or the use of broker services. Readers should confirm information and interpretation of information by seeking independent advice.

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