Economic risk was cited as a primary concern 

UK business confidence is the lowest in the world.

This was the key finding in the latest edition of CNA Hardy’s Risk and Confidence Survey, which also found that 74% of business leaders worldwide are prioritising technology spend.

Dave Brosnan, chief executive at CNA Hardy explained that Brexit is “paralysing decision making”, was a key factor behind why only 39% of UK business leaders said they are confident of the ability of their company to grow and prosper.

Speaking to Insurance Times, Brosnan said: ”Overall market pessimism could have a direct impact on insurers within the UK market. One of the key drivers of insurance premium is the size and complexity of risk. Size is often measured by turnover, so the smaller the turnover could perhaps mean the smaller the premium.

“It could impact premiums overall, because premiums are very much tied to financial metrics and exposures.”

But Brosnan ruled out pulling support from the UK market.

UK business confidence came bottom in direct comparison with North America (64%) and Continental Europe at 53% had strong economic growth and its business leaders were found to be more confident, overall this was 59% worldwide.

Technology and cyber

Brosnan added that although technology is “essential to fuel global expansion” for businesses, it is also the “soft under-belly of the 4th industrial revolution.”

He said: “As technology becomes ever more critical and embedded, so managing it becomes harder and the risk of getting it wrong increases.”

That greater independence gives rise to greater cyber exposure, he added, decribing it as “an inescapable but vicious circle.”

The data suggests that SMEs are not viewing cyber as a “priority” as they appear to feel less vulnerable to the risk. Brosnan added that this is a “false impression,” and insurers need to do more to highlight the risk of cyber to all businesses.

This idea was echoed at Cyber Insight 2018 last week during Richard Hodson’s, the director at Global UK, who said that brokers need to take a joined-up approach to sell cyber successfully.

Brosnan added: “It is no wonder then, that looking ahead six months to May 2019, cyber risk takes centre stage as the top risk globally, with almost half (49%) of executives saying it is set to increase. Interestingly, 50% of large companies, with turnover in excess of $1.3bn, said the risk was likely to increase compared with only 36% of small and 45% of mid-size companies.”

The firm said that companies need “more than traditional financial and legal skills if they are to manage risks”. They need a “broader, more diverse range of skills on the board to help identify and manage the threats.”

The survey results were drawn from an online quantitative survey conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of the firm, it looked at 1,500 business leaders - 450 of these were based in the UK.