Around 10% of brokers reported feeling uncomfortable about discussing their mental health with employers

Stress continues to be a major issue for brokers despite attitudes towards mental health improving, according to Ecclesiastical’s latest annual Broker Wellbeing Survey, published today (10 October 2022). 

Around 238 brokers took part in the research, which was carried out between August and September 2022.

The survey revealed that approximately 70% of respondents had experienced stress at work over the past 12 months – compared to 61% last year.

The top three workplace stressors for brokers were heavy workloads (72%), dealing with regulation (58%) and customer demands (54%), according to the survey. 

More brokers reported that they were experiencing anxiety, with levels increasing to 44% this year – up from 41% in 2021.

Respondents who felt overwhelmed in the past 12 months also rose to a record high of 41% – up from 36% last year.

Brokers said that dealing with insurers was a major cause of stress for them, with reporters mentioning this rising from 39% last year to 52% in 2022.

Ecclesiastical further highlighted that staff shortages (42%) appeared in the top five concerns for the first time, while stress surrounding Covid-19 reduced from 29% in 2021 to just 14% this year.

Ecclesiastical commercial director Adrian Saunders said: “Heavy workloads, regulation and insurer service levels are really piling the pressure on brokers, who are increasingly stretched due to staffing issues.

“Regulation is [also] a significant challenge – driven by the current amount of regulatory change creating additional work, particularly for smaller firms that often don’t have the access to resources.

“There are a lot of positives to take from these results though – brokerages are continuing to prioritise the mental wellbeing of their staff, which has been on an upward trend for the past four years and brokers feel better supported than ever before.

“It’s also encouraging to see that awareness and understanding of mental wellbeing has risen across the industry.”

‘Personalised support’

Awareness of mental health issues is at its highest level according to the survey, with respondents achieving an average score of 6.4 out of 10 – up from 5.8 in 2021.

In terms of managing stress, the survey revealed that 90% of brokers felt confident at recognising the signs of poor mental health in themselves, with 96% stating that they had the tools to deal with stress.

However, those who felt able to report their mental health issues reduced from 74% in 2019 to 60% in 2022.

Nearly half of brokers (49%) said they didn’t feel thier stress was serious enough to report, while 17% said they preferred to manage it themselves.

A further 10% said they didn’t feel comfortable discussing their mental health.

Saunders added: “There is one note of caution for firms. Some brokers told us they were frustrated at the volume of generic guidance being issued. Firms need to be mindful of offering more personalised support, so it’s not seen as just a tick-box exercise.”

To support brokers, Ecclesiastical is working with specialist consultancy Mental Health in Business (MHIB) to provide firms with mental health first aid training. So far this year, it has trained 32 broker businesses.