2021: A Bright Year For SMEs?

2021: A Bright Year For SMEs?

As they celebrate their 20th anniversary, Coversure Kidderminster’s founder Frazer Lewis looks to the future and sees a world of change and opportunities for insurance brokers and SMEs.

2020 has been an extraordinarily difficult year for all business owners. How has your business fared?

2020 has been a year like no other. We’ve adapted very well to the changes in working methods, with all staff having to spend time working from home. It has meant that we have been able to offer business as usual to our insurance customers and that income has been largely unaffected.

Coversure Kidderminster celebrated its anniversary this month – congratulations again – do you think that having an office where people can come in and see you has played a role in your continuing success?

The way that business is conducted has changed a lot during the 20 years we’ve been in operation. However, whilst we have been mindful of new ways to connect with people, having an office gives the business a focal point for face to face communication for both customers and staff, and this has helped us enormously.

Many insurance brokers have closed offices in favour of on-line only, do you think that’s the way to go?

We are aware that many insurance brokers have closed their offices to go online, however as we said already, the focal point of our office is important for both staff to help with the exchange of ideas and customers who sometimes prefer to meet face to face. There are customers who prefer to communicate online, but there are also customers who prefer to see us in person.

Covid has radically altered the way we all live and work. Do you think that the trends that have emerged this year – such as people working from home – is one that will continue into 2021?

I do think that Covid will alter the way that businesses operate in future. I believe it has accelerated the move to a balance of home working and office working. There is certainly a place for staff to have some home working, however, that has to be balanced off by what is lost when communication and the easy exchange of ideas is made more difficult for staff working at home. For me, the future will be a balance of the two, in which staff can work around certain home-life issues such as child care to give them a greater degree of flexibility, but retain a need to be in the office with colleagues for the many benefits this brings to a business.

If businesses are going to have staff working from home on a full-time basis is there anything they need to do from an insurance perspective?

One thing businesses need to consider when staff are working from home is cover for the equipment they require. Staff members may need to their home insurance policy and notify their insurance broker that they are working from home. For most Insurers working in a clerical nature does not present any problems but they would ask to be notified.

And speaking of homes, you’re well-known for your property insurance service. House prices have risen by nearly 7% this year according to Zoopla, have you seen a rise in demand for home and landlord insurance over the past year

I think that the freeze in stamp duty has accelerated house purchases both for landlords and private home owners, and we have noticed an increase in enquiries.

Staying locally, how do you view the prospects for the Worcestershire economy in 2021? The county’s enjoyed excellent growth (pre-Covid) and the council remains committed to economic growth having pledged to spend £16m more in 2020/21. Do you think 2021 will be a brighter year for local businesses?

Worcestershire has developed and grown in the last few years as it seeks to encourage both larger businesses to relocate here and to help get smaller businesses off the ground. The Council has offered incentives and grants in this regard to support business, and I think that the renewed hope that 2021 brings will show itself in a brighter future for us all.

One thing we can say about 2021 is that there will be a further rise in the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on our roads – nearly 500,000 pure and hybrids were sold in the UK this year. As a fleet insurance and truck insurance specialist are you expecting a rise in the number of quotes for electric vehicles in 2021?

Electric vehicle sales are really starting to accelerate now, and this is something we are seeing. As the Government incentivise people with tax breaks for electric vehicles we only see this as the start of an upward curve for that type of vehicle, and believe these will feature more and more in the make up of business fleets moving forward.

We mentioned at the outset that you have just celebrated your 20th anniversary. What are your plans for 2021? Will it be a year of steady as she goes, or do you have plans for diversification or even expansion?

20 years is a long time, and of course we have seen plenty of change in this time. However, while on one hand things have changed a lot on the other, I think that some things remain the same. The customer has always been the most important person in our business and that remains unchanged. We’re looking at 2021 as one for steady growth and we are confident the building blocks we have in place will stand us in good stead. More of the same is likely to be the case but I think we will notice more demand for some of the financial lines products such as professional indemnity insurance and directors’ and officers’ insurance.

If the opportunity for the right acquisition came along then this is also something that we would consider. We have also spent time changing the offices to provide a suitable environment for staff post Covid and hope this will give the team confidence in us that we have always got their best interests at heart.

As an SME, if you had to make one prediction for 2021 what would it be?

My prediction for 2021 for SMEs is that digital transformation will accelerate. 2020 forced many businesses to work much more electronically than they have in the past. This I believe will continue, and any business that wants to succeed will need to have an effective digital presence that can be complemented by an opportunity to do business in person. I believe that the look and feel of a High Street will change and businesses that fall behind digitally will lose their presence for good. Office space will be re-aligned as businesses make the move to have less people on in their office on a daily basis but still retain the presence so that they can work with employees on a mix and match approach to office / home working.

Thank you, Frazer, here’s to a successful 2021 for you and your team.

Like Some Insurance Help?

If you would like to know more about getting the EV cover that’s right for you, then please contact us. You can call the Coversure Kidderminster team on (01562) 822664, email Coversure Kidderminster here or request a no-obligation quote here.

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