21st March, 2014

Australian SMEs ‘becoming more risk aware’

Now may be the time to review your business insurance in Perth, after a new survey showed Australian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are becoming increasingly risk aware. 

Zurich figures show smaller firms are trying to tackle strong competition and sluggish consumer demand by adapting their offerings and exploring new markets and opportunities. However, many believe they are facing a number of challenges in today's modern business environment, leading 7 per cent to invest in risk analysis over the last year.

Executive General Manager of SMEs at Zurich Bobby Lehane said that while there is scope to improve, the figures show risk management is on the small business radar.

"The two most significant risks perceived by local Australian business for commercial operations include high competition and low demand/overstocking, which correlates with concerns around buyer behaviour," he said.

SMEs highlighted a number of other risks to their business success, including theft, the failure of partners and suppliers to deliver, natural disasters, damage to company vehicles and legal and financial problems.

Customer and employee wellbeing was also considered important. Businesses with zero to nine employees were especially worried about property damage, whether through catastrophes, accidents or criminal activity.

"These particular risks are consistent with the conundrum the insurance industry has long faced – why is take-up of business interruption insurance relatively low when it covers a risk perceived to be so important?" Mr Lehane stated.

According to Zurich, cybercrime is an understated risk, with only 6 per cent of respondents seeing online fraud and other malicious internet activity as a problem. This is despite 18 per cent of businesses claiming new technologies such as mobile and tablet-based computing pose interesting opportunities. A further 16 per cent saw web trading as a possible sales channel.

Author: Murray Bruce