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UK: Help SME Clients Take Control

  • SME Insurance
The Knowledge
29th September 2023

If the past few years have taught businesses anything, it’s to plan for the unexpected. While a business owner could be forgiven for not anticipating a global pandemic, record-setting inflation or the host of other challenges we are shouldering today, there are plenty of difficulties that businesses can foresee – and mitigate.

Workplace accidents happen. Employees make mistakes. Cyberattacks can expose sensitive client information.

When these events occur, the consequences of inadequate preparation can be especially tough on small- to medium-size businesses (SMEs). In general, SMEs have several disadvantages compared to their larger counterparts. Their owners and staff require more support and information on how to respond when an incident occurs. They are less likely to have staff dedicated to managing risk and insurance and will rely on a great deal of support from their insurance broker. The difficulties of the current economy only exacerbate the impact of these risks.

As a result, it doesn’t take much for an incident to snowball into a time-consuming, costly problem. For example, an SME may neglect to report an accident in a timely manner. This can then lead to unnecessary legal representation to manage the case. According to Travelers claim research, the resulting losses tend to take 50% longer to resolve and cost three to eight times more for the business than they otherwise would.

Beyond impacts to time and money, SMEs may be less able to staff their business when accidents happen. Travelers found that small business employees miss an average of 79 days due to workplace injuries. That loss in productivity can be difficult for any small or midsize business to overcome.

The bright side

Fortunately, problems like these can shrink to more manageable proportions with the right preparation. It just takes a more proactive, less reactive approach – and brokers can help with that.

Beyond encouraging your SME clients to report claims promptly, as well as reinforcing the need for employee education and training that can help SMEs avoid costly mistakes, look for gaps in their knowledge as well as in their insurance protection.

We have sought to address both concerns through our SME product offering at Travelers.

For instance, our Cyber insurance policyholders can consult an eRisk hub of resources that can improve their cyber hygiene, as well as pre-breach assessment services from HCL (formerly Symantec) to minimise their risk of a cyber breach. If a breach does occur – more than half of SMEs experienced such an event last year – the business can immediately consult a cyber coach and access other post-breach services to get back on track with minimal interruption.

Too many SMEs don’t feel urgency about cyber protection until after an event, when every lapsed hour can not only compromise an SME’s ability to operate, but also has the potential to damage their reputation with clients.

Because having access to experts is critical for SMEs trying to manage problems in the moment, we have carried expert support through our wider SME product offering, which includes Property Owners, Marine Cargo, Office, Management Liability and Professional Indemnity Combined insurance.

Travelers Office policyholders who experience an insured event such as a fire, flood or explosion on their premises have free access to First Recovery, a service that gets an SME customer back up and running, often within hours of the event. Many SMEs never reopen after a large loss, so having this protection can mean the difference between life or death for a business – and Travelers is the only insurer in the UK to offer the First Recovery benefit to SMEs for free as part of the cover.

Even the everyday challenges that arise for an SME – a legal concern, a potential HR issue, or an accounting question – can call for in-the-moment support from experts. That’s why our SME clients have access to helpline support when they need advice in these areas.

SMEs may not know what specific problems their business will face, but they can start by taking a fresh look at the gaps in their knowledge and protection, then mitigate their risks from there. By helping your clients tighten their risk management practices, you’re putting them in a position to thrive in good times and stay afloat in far more difficult ones.

Jonathan Forster is SME Distribution Director for Travelers Europe. To find out more about Travelers’ range of SME insurance solutions, visit


The information provided in this document is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice nor a recommendation to any individual or business of any product or service. Insurance coverage is governed by the actual terms and conditions of insurance as set out in the policy documentation and not by any of the information in this document.