By Daniel Hunter

The Legal & General ‘Every Business Matters’ campaign reveals rising small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) confidence is presenting advisers with renewed opportunities to contact their business clients about their protection needs.

Building on the ‘Every Business Matters’ campaign, launched in May this year, research shows the UK’s SME sector is emerging from the recession with confidence now at a three year high and nearly three quarters (72%)4 of UK SMEs reported profits in the last financial year. In addition, almost three quarters of all SME employers generated a profit in the last financial year5 highlighting an opportunity for advisers to get back in touch with their SME client base to review plans and discuss putting protection provisions in place.

The campaign reveals employers are placing more emphasis on the value of Group Protection — nearly two in five (38%) saw Group Life Protection as an essential part of their benefits package for staff, compared to 31% in 20116, while nearly one in five (17%) employers offering Group Income Protection as part of their staff benefits package say they recoup the cost in improved employee morale and productivity7.

But the strength of the sector is not just being driven from the bottom line, nearly one in five (19%) SMEs are building their business and employing more staff than 12 months ago. While the biggest reason for recruitment is to replace an employee (59%) nearly half (48%) of SMEs recruited to cope with an increased workload and nearly a third (30%) were recruiting for a specific job role8.

Clare Harrop, Head of Specialist Protection at Legal & General: “Being profitable is only a small part of what small businesses need to think about as they look to grow themselves out of the recession. Good talent is invaluable, and critical to a well-run business, which means owners have to offer value not only in the role or salary they offer, but also in the protection and benefits they provide staff. We are seeing a big gap in the market for advisers to start these conversations."

Karen Barrett, Chief Executive of unbiased.co.uk, comments: “The introduction of auto-enrolment has placed further emphasis on the benefits an employer offers. This is presenting huge opportunities for advisers to speak to clients about their overall business protection and employee benefit needs.

"Our ‘Every Business Matters, Every Employee Matters’ campaign is about raising awareness of the growing SME protection market and the discussions advisers could be having with clients to discuss issues affecting their businesses.”

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