British SMEs enjoyed a successful 2014; with most at least matching the revenue of the previous year, according to research by insurer LV= Broker.
The survey of more than 750 SMEs suggests 75% either improved or retained their 2013 turnover. Breaking it down further 41% saw their revenue increase while 34% said it has remained at the same level as the previous year.
It also revealed that one-quarter of those polled took on more staff in 2014 – with 4% employing workers for the first time. Across the same period some 180,000 people starting running their own business in the UK.
There are now more than 5.2 million SMEs in the UK – employing more than 25 million people and with a combined turnover of more than £3,500 billion. But the report by LV reveals one in twelve – the equivalent of 200,000 companies – has no insurance cover in place.
This is despite the fact that 62% of consumers say they would make a claim against a small business if they were injured on its premises.
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Additionally, the report found that as many as 80,000 SMEs do not have employers’ liability insurance. They could run into trouble due to the fact that firms without this can incur fines of up to £2,500 per day from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).
Equally worryingly, 15% of business owners admit they have no contingency in place in the event of being unable to trade for any reason.
LV= Broker commercial lines director Mike Crane called SMEs the “lifeblood of the British economy” and welcomed the news that 2014 was such a strong year for them. But he warned that they may suffer large losses if they remain financially exposed.
“The research shows that thousands are leaving themselves vulnerable to prosecutions and fines by the HSE for not having appropriate insurance in place,” he said. “Getting the right advice on cover from a specialist insurance broker is invaluable for business owners and can make the difference between being able continue trading or not should the worst happen.”