New study uncovers top risks for UK's SMEs

Small and medium-sized companies across the UK are most concerned about the impact of employee mental health and well-being, financial uncertainty and health and safety on their businesses over the next 12 months.

This is among the findings of Marsh’s UK Business Risk Report 2022, which shows that of the 1,700 businesses polled, almost half identified employee mental health and well-being as a key risk, up from 30% in 2021 when Covid-19-related risks dominated business risk registers.

Based on responses obtained in May and June 2022 from businesses with revenues of up to £2m, the report explores how circumstances over the last 12 months have impacted the business risk appetite and approach to risk management among the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses.

For over one-third, financial uncertainty remains a concern, hinting at persistent balance sheet volatility. One-third of respondents identified health and safety as a key concern this year, up marginally y-o-y.

The top three emerging risks – identified as being of the greatest concern – all reflect the wider economic climate. Two-fifths of respondents pointed to increased energy costs, a third cited inflation and 27% said staff shortages were a pressing issue. Rising inflation in particular can have an acute impact on firms’ risk and insurance programmes, resulting in underinsurance of property and other valuable assets.

Commenting on the findings, Alistair Fraser, CEO, corporate and commercial UK, Marsh, said: “Small and medium-sized businesses across the UK, in every region and sector, are navigating a hugely diverse array of risks amidst a very challenging operating environment. Since the survey was conducted, UK inflation has reached a 40-year high, which will have a profound impact on how these firms operate in the near and longer-term. As new risks emerge and current risks continue to evolve, we urge businesses to review their current insurance arrangements and approach to risk management, to build even greater resilience into their people and operations.”

    Share Story:


Cyber risk in the transportation industry
The connected nature of the transport and logistics industries makes them an attractive target for hackers, with potentially disruptive and costly consequences. Between June 2020 and June 2021, the transportation industry saw an 186% increase in weekly ransomware attacks. At the same time, regulations and cyber security standards are lacking – creating weak postures across the board. This podcast explores the key risks. Published April 2022.

Political risk: A fresh perspective
CIR’s editor, Deborah Ritchie speaks with head of PCS at Verisk, Tom Johansmeyer about the confluence of political, nat cat and pandemic risks in a world that is becoming an increasingly risky place in which to do business. Published February 2022.