Only 38% of SMEs rank scope of cover as top deciding factor when taking out insurance

RSA Group


  • Cost of insurance premiums ranked as deciding factor by 61% of firms when picking a policy.
  • 58% ranked either customer service or understanding of their business as top influencers.
  • Top three most sought after insurance policies are: public liability insurance (82%), commercial combined insurance (58%) and business property insurance (36%).

Leading commercial insurer RSA has today released data analysing what influences business owners’ decisions when buying insurance cover.

The cost of premiums was most commonly ranked by businesses as a top three influencer when taking out insurance (61%). This was closely followed by two areas in which brokers clearly have a big role to play: for 58% of businesses, either customer service or understanding the client’s business were listed as top three influencers1. This highlights the crucial role brokers play in the process as well as the need for insurers and brokers to strike a balance between price and service.

Only 38% of SME owners ranked the scope of cover as one of their top three influencers, despite its importance if a claim was to be made through the chosen insurance policy.

When questioning brokers on which policies are most sought after by SMEs, the most popular three (excluding employers’ liability insurance) were:

  1. Public liability insurance (82%)
  2. Commercial combined insurance (58%)
  3. Business property insurance (36%)

Cyber insurance is one of the least sought after policies, with only 6% of brokers identifying it as one of the top three insurance products their SME clients want.

Russell White, Schemes and Deals Director, Regions and SME, Commercial Risk Solutions at RSA, said:

“It is worrying to see that such a small proportion of SMEs rank the scope of cover as a top three factor. This is undoubtedly contributing to the underinsurance problem we see among SMEs, and it is crucial that brokers highlight its importance to their clients to ensure they are sufficiently protected.

 “Brokers’ understanding of their clients’ businesses and the quality of their service are the only factors that come anywhere close to the influence the cost of premiums has when it comes to taking out insurance. This highlights the great importance of brokers and their role in developing a sound understanding of their clients’ businesses and insurance needs.”

Top factors which influence SME owners’ decisions when buying insurance:

  1. Premium costs (61%)
  2. Customer service or understanding of their business (58%)1
  3. Scope of cover (38%)
  4. Product features (25%)
  5. Transparency of products/details (23%)
  6. Tailored products (20%)
  7. Claims support (18%)
  8. Brand awareness (12%)
  9. Recommendations from family/friends (12%)
  10. E-access/online (10%)

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  • Mairi MacDonald, RSA media team - head and shoulders colour photograph

    Mairi MacDonald

    Media relations manager, commercial risk solutions and global risk solutions

Notes to editors

Future Impacts: the changing nature of risk facing small businesses in the UK (PDF) is based on fieldwork conducted in September 2016 by Opinium of 1,000 senior decision makers at UK SMEs. Insurance broker fieldwork was collected and analysed by Cicero Research, with 84 broker respondents. The report was written and produced by Cicero Group. 

1Customer service and understanding of the business were initially two separate responses, ranked as top three influencers by 25% and 33% of SMEs respectively. They were later combined due to the similarity of the two options, their closely related meanings and their relevance to brokers.