’It’s crucial the SME sector remains adequately supported and protected,’ says director of operations and customer services

Hughes Insurance will invest £2m into its commercial insurance offering over the next five years, a statement released today (22 September 2023) said.

The Northern Ireland broker said it was making the move to allow it to offer enhanced insurance solutions to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) as it looks to provide further support to them.

This includes offering products within the construction, wholesale and retail and agriculture sectors.

“We employ more than 250 people across the province, so continued innovation and strategic direction is vital when it comes to the continued success and growth of our business,” Bernie McHugh Sonner, director of operations and customer services, said.

“Our people will always be our first priority and their wellbeing remains central to our strategic decision-making.

“We carefully assessed the market and identified potential areas for strategic growth before committing to SMEs as an area of focus.”


Hughes made the decision to invest in its commercial offering after finding the UK’s commercial insurance market had grown by 7% annually since 2017.

McHugh Sonner said that safeguarding the performance of the SME community was “crucial to Northern Ireland’s continued economic growth”.

“It’s crucial the SME sector remains adequately supported and protected, particularly as the business landscape becomes increasingly unpredictable and presents greater risk with the emergence of cyber-attacks and business interruption due to global events,” McHugh Sonner added.

Howden recently reported a rise of sophisticated cyber claims, such as ransomware and phishing.

According to the broker’s Coming of Age report, which was published earlier this year (10 July 2023), ransomware attacks surged by nearly 50% in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2022.

“Constant monitoring of changes in our customer needs is vital, so as a result we have assessed our offering, implemented relevant modifications to processes and made substantial investments to provide solutions that will support SMEs to thrive in today’s climate,” McHugh Sonner said.

“We have also invested in expanding our commercial team and in continuous development and product training to ensure that customers are getting the expert, tailored advice that they require.”