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Research focused on the UK SME Insurance: Competitor Dynamics 2016

Press Release   •   Nov 23, 2016 06:21 EST

The SME market is important for commercial insurers as SMEs account for the majority of the UK economy. With insurers increasingly targeting the segment, the market is very competitive. Insurers are developing their propositions to cater for small and medium sized enterprises. E-trade is becoming more of a central focus for the insurers in this space, as is the distribution of high-volume, low-value business via the direct channel. Organizations within the market vary in size and so have different insurance needs and service preferences, which means the SME market should not be categorized as one segment. Direct propositions are primarily being developed by those looking to target sole traders and micro-sized enterprises with packaged products. Meanwhile e-trading is of greater focus for insurers targeting small and medium-sized enterprises that have greater affinity to purchase through a broker.

AXA and Aviva dominate the SME insurance space across the majority of commercial products, according to Verdict Financials 2015 UK SME Insurance Survey. Other insurers present in the market play to their strengths when servicing SMEs. Hiscox and Zurich are popular providers for liability products, whereas Allianz and Direct Line are strong in servicing SMEs to insure commercial motor vehicles. As the number of providers supplying commercial insurance solutions grows, and there is more choice available to potential customers, those offering the best deals in terms of the level of cover, the quality of the overall package, and price are most likely to succeed.

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Key Findings

- AXA and Aviva dominate the SME insurance space, with 21.4% and 15.9% of SMEs respectively holding a commercial insurance policy with these providers.

- Brokers place the most SME business with Allianz, Aviva, and AXA.


Verdict Financials UK SME Insurance: Competitor Dynamics 2016 report looks at which insurers lead the way in the SME segment and how they are developing their propositions, as well as highlighting how competitor positions vary between micro, small, and medium enterprises. It examines which insurers are winning over brokers and which companies SMEs are placing their business with.


- Benchmark yourself against the rest of the market.

- Ensure you remain competitive as new innovations and insurance models begin to enter the market.

- Adapt your distribution strategy to ensure it is efficient and still meets customer purchasing behavior.

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Table of Contents


AXA and Aviva dominate the SME insurance space

Key findings

Critical success factors



Aviva, Allianz, and AXA are the top SME insurers used by brokers

Allianz replaces Aviva as the top insurer for packaged SME products

The gap between Aviva and Allianz for brokered non-packaged business has narrowed

Insurers continue to move into the direct channel for SMEs

Hiscox, AXA, Allianz, and Direct Line are already distributing directly

Aviva has brought back its direct online offering for micro SME business insurance

Travelers Europe enters the direct channel to provide micro-SMEs with cover

Insurers continue to invest in e-trading platforms

Zurich continues to improve its SME e-trading platform ZTrade

Hiscox launches Hiscox Trader, a new e-trading system for commercial brokers

Insurers continue to join Open GI's SME panel

Insurers aim to tackle SME underinsurance

Allianz has removed average clauses and is working with brokers to highlight areas of potential underinsurance

Aviva has been extending policy limits and removing average clauses from SME products

NIG has developed an online cost calculator tool for brokers

Insurers continue to launch commercial products for SMEs

RSA launches SME products exclusively for the Broker Network

Hiscox launches new product to cover SMEs against economic crime


AXA, Aviva, Allianz, Zurich, Direct Line, and Hiscox are the top SME insurers

The dominant SME insurers also feature as the top insurers in commercial lines

AXA dominates the SME market as the top provider for the majority of products

Aviva is competitive within the SME segment but still ranks second to AXA

Aviva hopes its digital directive will help it gain share on AXA for SMEs

Allianz performs well in business interruption and commercial fleet motor insurance

Zurich is popular for property insurance and liability cover

Hiscox is the preferred insurance provider among micro-enterprises

Direct Line is expectedly strong in the motor product lines

Top five insurers by product

Business interruption insurance

Directors' and officers' liability insurance

Employer's liability insurance

Key man insurance

Personal accident and business travel insurance

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