Changes in SME distribution are primarily being driven by shifting preferences in purchasing method as opposed to channel. The preference towards online purchasing initially provided the direct channel with an opportunity to grow. However, as brokers have begun to move into the online space for SMEs, their market position has strengthened at the expense of direct insurers. The direct channel has therefore slightly lost share in the distribution of insurance for SMEs in 2016.
Micro-enterprises have the greatest affinity for purchasing direct from an insurer. They have the smallest risks, which makes them more suited to purchasing a commoditized product online. SMEs that purchase direct from an insurer view both the level of cover and the price of premium to be of equally high importance, highlighting that they are looking for a product that offers value for money. Customers are loyal to the direct channel, with over three quarters of SMEs that purchased their last policy directly not considering switching their route to market. Although channel loyalty is high among SMEs overall, of those that are considering changing their route to market, most intend to switch to a direct insurer. AXA is the dominant insurance provider for SMEs purchasing direct. Direct Line, Hiscox, Zurich, and NFU Mutual are also popular choices.
20.2% of SMEs purchased direct from an insurer in 2016.
AXA is the leading direct SME insurance provider, with 23.5% of the SMEs that purchased direct choosing the provider in 2016.
Customers are loyal to the direct channel, with 77.8% of SMEs that purchased direct not considering switching to a different type of provider.
After falling to a four-year low of £6.64m in 2014, expenditure on business advertising increased by 9.9% to £7.30m in 2015.
Verdict Financial’s “UK SME Insurance: The Direct Channel 2016” report discusses the significance of the direct channel within the SME market. It examines the values of customers purchasing direct from their insurer, analyzes customer loyalty and switching, and highlights the most popular direct insurers among customers using our 2016 UK SME Insurance Survey.
Reasons To Buy
Adapt your distribution strategy to ensure it is efficient and still meets customer purchasing behavior.
Understand what customers want from a direct insurer in order to enter or remain competitive with the channel.
Benchmark yourself against others operating within the direct channel.