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Brokers low on the list for SMEs seeking advice

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SMEs are turning to financial advisers, accountants and the internet for advice on insurance, ahead of using brokers with expertise in the area, a QBE report finds.

More than 60% of small business owners surveyed for the report believe they are unlikely to have the right cover in place and nearly a quarter say their operations would likely go under if someone made a liability claim.

But in looking for advice, 51.6% of respondents used an accountant or financial adviser, 40.2% did their own research, 23.8% asked family or friends, 17.7% turned to industry peers and 14.6% used an insurance broker.

The report says information online is designed for a broad audience while peers may also have different issues despite being in the same industry.

“QBE principally sells through insurance brokers, so we’re advocates for engaging an insurance professional who can have the right conversation,” QBE Australia SME GM Aaron Gavin said.

The report, SMEs and Insurance: A Pulse Check On Risk Trends For Business, surveyed more than 600 SMEs and drew on five years of QBE claims data analysis, with a focus on liability risks.

The most expensive liability claims for small businesses related to injury to labour hire personnel, injury to third-party workers, electrocution, fire, defamation and slander, the data shows.

The top 10 also includes being trapped by machinery or equipment, physical assault injury, faulty products, slips and falls, and injuries through impact by an object.

The highest claiming sectors are roofing services, plumbing, laundries and drycleaners, automotive repairs and services, and auto fuel retailing.

Mr Gavin says underinsurance and a lack of business continuity cover are also key issues.

“We’ve seen plenty of examples…where we were able to reinstate the property, and legal liability was covered, but because the business couldn’t continue trading and cashflow was impacted, it lost customers and ultimately went out of business,” he said.