The UK Business Risk Report provides insight into the minds of 1,700+ small and medium-sized businesses as they navigate undeniably challenging times. The latest report revealed employee mental health and wellbeing, financial uncertainty and health and safety as top risks.
Risk is, of course, part of doing business – every decision is a balancing act between risk and reward– so the ability to understand, manage, and mitigate risk is crucial to long-term success. That’s why CEO Alistair Fraser recently brought together a team of experts to discuss the findings of our UK Business Risk Report. Sharing some top tips to help you tackle your business’s biggest risks.
Read the discussion points and key takeaways below. Or scroll down to watch full discussion.
The UK inflation rate has now exceeded 10%1 but what’s not discussed as widely is the component parts of inflation. Peter Heffer, Regional Director London and Kent, discussed how the supply chain, RICS/BCIS general building cost index, material pricing increases, as well as labour and material shortages are impacting inflation. Most importantly however, Peter discussed how inflation impacts insurance cover. Explaining the practical application of average clauses (something that most, if not all insurance policies will have and essentially penalises policyholders in the event of underinsurance) and the implications of getting this wrong.
All property owners – residential and commercial, and all property types (modern buildings are not immune) are affected by rebuild cost implication association with inflation.
- Consider insured values today – do not wait until renewal.
- Engage professionals to undertake rebuild cost assessments.
- Think about lead in times for machinery and raw material supplies.
- Day one protection is a must have.
- Will insurer(s) agree to waive average clause?
- Consider the adequacy of your indemnity period.
- Refresh your business continuity planning.
Supporting employees through turbulent times
At the beating heart of every business is its people. Almost half of UK businesses (49%) see employee mental health and wellbeing as a key people risk, up from 30% in 2021 2. Nikki Tigwell, Senior Associate from our sister company – Mercer Marsh Benefits – discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and cost of living crisis on employees. Providing practical advice on how you can better support your employees mentally, physically, socially and financially.
Evaluate and audit your employee benefits package to consider how well it covers the four pillars of a successful wellbeing strategy: (1) Mental, (2), Physical, (3) Social, (4) Financial. How well you understand it. And how well your employees concerns are addressed by it.
Address what actions need to be taken - this may include a review of your spend to see if you could free up some money in one place to spend it better elsewhere.
To maximise your investment in your benefits you need to ensure you have really strong signposting for your employees so they can get all the right information and understand everything you do/offer to support their wellbeing.
36% of respondents stated financial uncertainty is a concern.3 Alex Guerin, Head of Office, London, from our parent company - Marsh – discussed the increased risk of unpaid invoices, reduced investment, client insolvencies and margin pressures in the current economic climate. And some of the potential insurance solutions to help you during these challenging times.
- Credit assessments help focus your efforts on financially healthy customers.
- Collections management provides a comprehensive debt collection service, preserving the quality of relationships with your customers.
- Trade credit insurance offers cover should new or existing clients be unable to pay you due to financial difficulties.
- Premium finance spreads the cost of insurance (e.g. monthly instalments) – protecting margins and improving cash flow.
Health and safety
35% of businesses see health and safety as a priority for the next 12 months.3 As an employer, or a self-employed person, you are responsible for health and safety in your business. Health and safety laws apply to all businesses. And are there to protect you, your employees and the public from workplace dangers. Julianna Forsyth, Risk Management Leader, discussed how health and safety doesn’t have to be complicated, costly, or time consuming. Both in the workplace, and in a hybrid working environment.
- Businesses with less than five employees still need to have health and safety practices in their business – the only difference is that they don’t have to have them written down.
- You must have someone competent dedicated to health and safety – whether that’s internal or external.
- Hybrid working brings increased risk – particularly around cyber security.
- A fresh pair of eyes can be reassuring to health and safety practices. External health and safety consultants can be an extension to your team.
A cyberattack can have devastating financial and reputational effects on any business – big or small. Eric Alter, Risk & Cyber Engagement, Marsh, discussed some of the principle cyber risks including ‘spearfishing’, ransomware, and business email compromise (BEC). Emerging risks associated with hybrid working models. 12 key controls to mitigate risk, improve insurability and resilience. As well as the state of cyber insurance market.
- It’s not all about cybercrime. There is also the issue of bricked computers (it’s no longer functional due to corrupted firmware, a hardware problem, or other damage), network failure and system failure. The impacts of this can be severe.
- The cyber insurance market is starting to stabilise as new insurers enter the market. However, carriers can at times put sub-limits in place such as a limit on the amount of ransomware they’ll pay on business interruption. They can also put co-insurance clauses in place for things like a lack of multi-factor authentication.
- Limits are coming down. Previously getting a £10m limit was relatively easy, now you’ll be struggling to get £5m from a primary insurer. £3m is more the norm. Deductibles on retained risks are also going up.
- The frequency of cyber claims, and the severity of them, continue to increase. Consider the cost of a cyber insurance policy vs the cost of an interruption to your business – typically 19 days - from a cyberattack.
Never miss and event again
Skip to 52:57 in the recording to watch our panel take on the audience’s questions. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to learn about upcoming events, and to receive expert insights, advice and support for you and your business. Visit our Risk Hub for more guidance related to our UK Business Risk Report.
*The information contained herein is based on sources we believe reliable and should be understood to be general insurance and risk management information only. The information is not intended to be taken as advice and cannot be relied upon as such. Statements concerning legal, tax or accounting matters should be understood to be general observations based solely on our experience as insurance brokers and risk consultants and should not be relied upon as legal, tax or accounting advice, which we are not authorised to provide.
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