Elliot Lane told the Insurance Times ‘Making Money from SMEs' conference that brokers should use the power of their special relationships with their SME clients

‘Twelve months ago the concept of making real money from this sector had just begun to permeate the industry.

Brokers and insurers were starting to understand the true potential of this sector and the clear message was the brokers had the advantage if they harnessed the strong relationships that they had with their clients and possessed and embraced the technology that's advancing in this industry.

Today the landscape is extremely different. The brokers' dominance of our market's being eroded by the amount of direct initiatives saturating this sector.

Many SMEs value the relationships and advice given by brokers. The same amount would also use the internet and are happy to choose products by price alone.
Many in the market would say that commoditising this sector is a mistake.

Recent research states that 65% of UK small businesses do not have a formal business
continuity plan, and 43% are not insured should their existence be threatened by
external events, such as fire, crime and terrorism.

These companies need proper risk analysis and the internet really gives them that advice. How this sector is defined is key?

The Bolting Committee's definition that size is relevant to sector and if a market has many competitors a relatively large company could be regarded as an SME, is a good one, particularly in the broker market itself.

Napoleon's quip that Britain is a nation of shopkeepers is relevant today. Many SMEs and high street companies are under threat and are looking for help. IT