Engaging brokers early in decision making

By  Vero Insurance

The 2023 Vero SME Insurance Index research identified that a significant number of businesses are planning some form of change over the next 12 months and insurance is the last thing considered. 

While business changes are commonplace, insurance and associated risk management practices appear to be an afterthought for 41%, which could leave businesses exposed to increased levels of risk, new risks and even add to the likelihood of being unable to get the insurance cover they need.

The research identified the sorts of changes businesses are planning, in Figure 1.1 below. These are often linked to changes that can’t be easily undone – such as renovating, buying new premises, purchasing new equipment or moving locations.


So, what can brokers do to help clients during times they are considering these types of changes – rather than only helping once changes have been made?

Calling at the right time averted a crisis

When taking part in a broker panel discussion during the Vero SME Insurance Index Webinar, Adrian Johns (Marsh Australia’s Head of Authorised Representatives) shared a story of how he was able to help a client at a time when changes were being considered.

A client came close to making a seemingly innocuous decision about materials used for the roofing of his farm’s chicken sheds. However, the product the business was opting for had significant insurance implications due to it being EPS (expanded polystyrene sandwich) panelling.

This highly combustible panelling presented a serious fire risk which may have proved challenging at renewal time. Luckily, Adrian happened to call in at the right time and was able to help influence the roofing material choice and eliminate the risk.

Hear from business owners in their own words

In these interviews it is apparent not all clients are aware of the benefit of engaging their broker early when considering changes or during the decision-making process – but once explained they do see value in this.

Brokers have an opportunity to work closely with clients to identify upcoming changes as early as possible. To then be able to add value and help implement risk mitigation strategies and recommend changes to decisions, and insurance cover.

Building effective risk management into the decision-making process is key, rather than being a potentially more expensive and more complicated afterthought.

4 key times to engage with a broker early

The product or service offering changes or expands

This can influence headcount, values at risk, property, infrastructure, costs, and ways of working – which can bring new or different elements of risk and have an impact on insurance cover. Decisions being made about things such as property acquisitions and renovation materials once made are hard to reverse and expensive if deemed as necessary. A broker can help identify what should be considered to reduce risk and benefit insurance cover before all is set in stone.

The size of the workforce increases

As a business grows, the number of staff often grows proportionally – whether these are full time employees, part timers or contractors. A broker can help ensure business owners and decision-makers know what additional risks can come with new hires. Research for the Index found that issues related to employees is a key area of concern for 58% of all businesses – increasing to 88% for businesses that employ between 200 and 500 people. I can pay to note that contractors present a higher risk to business, and therefore warrant a more stringent risk management program. Refer to our RM Insight issue 99, Contractor management – understand the risk and the fundamentals of risk control and RM Insight issue 100, Contractor management policy – fundamentals in a checklist for more information.

Economic factors change revenue or costs

You only have to look at the sharp rise in inflation over recent years to understand just how economic factors impact businesses of all sizes. Cost can be a key driver of insurance decision-making, so brokers have an opportunity to educate clients about the value of risk mitigation despite additional costs that may be required – as well as any potential long-term financial benefits. With economic concerns being the number one concern for 61% of businesses, this is a key area for brokers to engage early and speak to the value of decisions that reduce risk.

Renovating or moving to another business location

Changes in the location or design of a premise – including any equipment, transport, or infrastructure the business needs to operate – can impact potential risks and the insurance cover required. Elements a broker could help businesses assess and plan for include the use of certain structural materials when renovating, or the risk of extreme weather events and natural disasters in a potential new location. Early broker engagement can aid decision making. This could be in relation to the potential use of highly combustible or non-standard building materials, choosing a new location within a flood plain or bush fire-prone area, or if a new product includes flammable liquids. When making these types of business changes, there are alternatives available that could reduce risk.    

Taking the next step 

When it comes to helping clients of all shapes and sizes, brokers can be best placed to engage with issues regarding risk and cover as early as possible – helping to mitigate risk. There’s a diverse range of opportunities where brokers can be relied on as trusted experts. 

To see the full findings of the 2023 Vero SME Insurance Index and what they mean for brokers, download the SME Insurance Index 2023 report or watch the CPD-accredited Vero SME Insurance Index Webinar on demand. 

AAI  Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Vero Insurance (Vero) has prepared the Vero SME Insurance Index Report (Report) & Webinar. The information in the Report & Webinar is general information only and is not intended to be relied upon – please make your own enquiries.  Subject to any rights you may have under any law, Vero and its related bodies corporate do not assume or accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, relating to the Webinar & Report. Vero and its related bodies corporate do not guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness or currency of the information provided. The Webinar & Report are not a recommendation or statement of opinion about whether a reader or viewer should acquire insurance from Vero (or its related bodies corporate) or services from any insurance intermediary or otherwise alter their business arrangements. The Webinar & Report are 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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