89% have faced at least one risk that has threatened to destabilise their organisation in the past 12 months - QBE France

The fourth edition of the QBE Risk Barometer for French mid-sized and SME companies recorded an increase in the level of risk perceived by nearly one in two business owners.

The economic crisis linked to the COVID-19 pandemic has had a strong impact on SMEs and mid-cap companies this year, with 89% saying they faced at least one risk that threatened to destabilise their organisation.

This has brought 46% of respondents to consider that the level of risk is now higher than it was the year before (compared to 20% in 2019). 

The health crisis has had an immediate impact on companies’ financial prospects as well as on people risks.

Against this backdrop, risk management is considered the second pillar of competitiveness of companies, even if the majority of respondents (63%) admit they still only partially control their risks.

Many small and mid-sized firms consider risk management to be too complex, due to a lack of time (31%) and the difficulty in keeping up with constantly changing standards (28%). Because they are less structured than larger groups, SMEs rarely have a person dedicated to risk, so they need greater support from from their external partners.

Faced with these difficulties, insurers and brokers are now well identified and now assert themselves as the first business partners to support them on these subjects (according to 66% of respondents).

Respondents said they wanted risk transfer products tailored to the risk profile of their company, but also that they expect insurer partners to help them better analyse their exposures (according to 67%).

“Today more than ever, SMEs and midcaps need to improve their risk management,” said  Renaud de Pressigny, managing director of QBE France. “The current crisis may have weakened them and they must be able to rely on solid foundations to persevere and continue their activities. Insurers thus have a real role to play, particularly in an uncertain context and where new risks appear. In partnership with brokers, they must support their clients in the identification, quantification and prevention of risks.”