SMEs are overlooking the importance of planning for Brexit, study finds

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK are overlooking the importance of planning for Brexit, as they are too busy dealing with complex issues such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance as well as concerns surrounding cyber security, a survey conducted by Zurich reveals.

24 per cent of respondents said their SME clients now ask them about GDPR on a regular basis.

However, only 10 per cent of enquiries made to brokers were about Brexit, with 35 per cent stating their clients never asked about the UK’s exit from the European Union at all.

Zurich suggests these figures may be due to SMEs lacking the resources to address both immediate and long-term planning.

“While Brexit contingency planning seems to be all over the headlines, we are registering very low levels of engagement with the issue among smaller businesses in the UK as less strategically important issues take centre-stage,” said Paul Tombs, Head of SME Proposition at Zurich.

According to figures, only 43 per cent of insurance brokers have seen a significant increase in enquiries about GDPR cover and compliance since the deadline passed compared with before, indicating a limited understanding of GDPR compliance and cover.

Many issues are taking priority over Brexit for SMEs, as 80 per cent of brokers reported that clients are seeking guidance on immediate issues such as financial risk, late payments and legal claims instead.

One of the biggest issues is cyber security cover, with 36 per cent of insurance brokers reportedly providing regular advice to clients.

“The tumult of the last few years has resulted in a number of major risk areas that UK businesses are clearly struggling to find the time and resources to address,” added Mr Tombs.

“Smaller businesses, in particular, have been forced to spin a lot of plates, complicating the decision-making process and stretching many businesses to breaking point.”