SMEs are providing a rare patch of fertile ground amid the hostile post-recessionary terrain. In this special report, we examine the potential of the SME market and explore areas where brokers can grow

Insurance broking and the SME sector are in so many respects umbilically linked that the latter’s performance is crucial for the health of the former.

For many SMEs, the three and a half years since the onset of the credit crunch have been a torrid period. And this has had knock-on consequences for the many brokers that rely on small and medium-sized businesses for their bread and butter.

With the government seeing the sector as key to its strategy for turning around the UK economy, Insurance Times this week brings you a special report on SME broking. This report contains exclusive research by Insurance Times on what brokers think of the SME market, what SMEs want from their insurance providers and tips on how to navigate the tough economic climate.

The heartening news is that the research shows the mood among brokers that deal with SMEs is more bullish than might be expected.

Some business lines, such as health and anything related to the leisure business, have clearly suffered over the past 12 months. But other areas have blossomed to create a picture of growth – business volumes are significantly up in professional indemnity, directors’ and officers’, public liability and business premises insurance.

The other good news for brokers is buried inside new Datamonitor research, released exclusively to Insurance Times.

This snapshot of SMEs’ insurance requirements shows that brokers remain the preferred distribution channel for the vast majority of small and medium-sized businesses.

The growing market share for aggregators and direct insurers among SMEs shows brokers must remain on their guard. But the prospects for those working with SMEs are not as bleak as doom-mongers sometimes suggest.

And there could be welcome evidence of those green shoots in the sector that chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is so keen to see. IT