’Positively, however, more brokerages are investing in their wellbeing programmes,’ says commercial director 

Regulation and dealing with insurers are among factors to have caused almost four out of five brokers to be stressed at work in the last year, new figures released by Ecclesiastical have revealed.

The data, which was published in the insurer’s annual broker wellbeing survey, revealed stress levels rose for the fifth year running, with 79% saying they have felt stressed at work in the past 12 months.

Heavy workloads remain the biggest contributor to this, with 75% of brokers feeling this way.

However, the number of brokers blaming the volume of regulation for stress rose from 45% in 2021 to 67% in 2023.

Dealing with insurers, meanwhile, was the third biggest contributory factor to stress levels, which shot up from 39% in 2021 to 59% in 2023.

This overtook customer demands (56%) for the first time since the survey was launched, Ecclesiastical said.

Wellbeing programmes

Despite the increase in stress levels, the insurer also found that broker firms were stepping up investment in their wellbeing programmes. 

For example, the number of brokers who believe their brokerage was supportive of people with mental health issues rose for the fifth year running, up from 70% in 2019 to 82% this year.

And firms offering mental health awareness training for staff rose 13% to 44%, while more firms were also offering confidential helplines (43%), counselling support (39%) and employee assistance programmes (39%).

Some 74% of brokers also believe their firm was committed to improving wellbeing.

Mental health

Ecclesiastical’s figures, which came from a survey of 250 brokers, was published to coincide with World Mental Health Day.

The firm said awareness of mental health issues had risen for the fifth year, with an average score of 6.6 out of 10, up from 6.4 last year and 5.7 when the survey began in 2019.

Understanding of mental health issues also rose to its highest level – 5.9 out of 10 compared to 5.6 last year. 

Ecclesiastical is currently working with specialist consultancy Mental Health in Business (MHIB) to support brokers with managing stress and building resilience.

Adrian Saunders, commercial director at Ecclesiastical, said: “Our fifth annual Broker Wellbeing Survey has found that awareness and understanding of mental health issues among brokers is higher than ever – but so unfortunately are stress and anxiety levels.

”Some of the reasons for this are systemic – labour market shortages are making it difficult to recruit the right people, which in turn is creating heavier workloads for brokers, while increased regulation is piling even more pressure on.

“Positively more brokerages are investing in their wellbeing programmes, providing much-needed support for employees and continuing the upward trend of the past few years.

”There is also a greater openness in the workplace with more brokers willing to talk about their issues with managers and colleagues. This is a real positive, as more dialogue around mental wellbeing can help to instigate positive change within the sector.”