“The broker channel had been steadily declining up to 2016,” commented GlobalData Financial Analyst Ben Carey-Evans, “but the emergence of the digital channel in commercial insurance has reversed this.” Price comparison sites are classified as brokers, he went on to say, because they refer customers on to insurers. These have established a firm foothold in the SME market. Additionally, said Carey-Evans, ‘innovative, modern brokers such as Simply Business’ have taken shares from more traditional brokers.
According to GlobalData’s 2017 UK SME Insurance Survey, in 2017, price comparison websites held 14.6 per cent of the overall SME market.
“A lot of the policies aimed at sole traders and micro SMEs are very similar to personal lines products, such as motor and tool cover for tradesmen,” added Carey-Evans, “meaning that the crossover from personal lines – where price comparison sites have had great success – is natural for the customer and insurer.”