Professionals answer questions about how small businesses should be supported and what to expect in the coming year.
Q: What is the top challenge facing small businesses in the coming year?
Owning a small business today is significantly different than it was 25 years ago. Life has become more complex, which means more risks for a business owner. Data breaches, importing and exporting goods through online markets, leasing equipment, evolving, changing regulatory environment and using independent contractors are just a few examples of newer exposures that small businesses have that require unique expertise beyond basic insurance coverage.
Q: What is one technology trend small businesses should be embracing going into 2019?
With small businesses conducting more business transactions online than ever before, business owners have to be more aware of the types of customer information they are collecting. While technology enhancements bring more ease and convenience, they also bring more data-related risks. We always recommend small businesses have cyber security protections in place to ensure they are able to respond if faced with a data breach. Many insurance solutions can help small businesses manage these risks providing valuable coverages and services to address a wide range of risks.
Q: Small business owners are often tied up with so many different responsibilities that take time away from their core competencies. What aspects of their business do you recommend them outsourcing, and what aspects do you think they should keep in-house?
Business owners know they need to plan strategic initiatives and source financing well in advance to ensure the success of their businesses. In the event of a loss to their small business, owners want to make sure they are properly covered in this complex business environment. We see the best business owners assembling teams of experts to help them plan. By tapping into specialists like lawyers, financial planners and insurance agents, business owners can focus on running and building their businesses, testing new products and services, researching new trends, or building new capabilities that will help drive their future success.
Q: What’s a recent trend you believe will continue to impact small businesses into the new year?
The Hanover recently conducted a study with Forbes Insights surveying small business owners. Our research showed that cyber and data breach claims continue to be a top concern for small business owners. It’s more important than ever to consult outside expertise and develop a plan to manage a data breach in the event one is to occur. And by partnering with their independent insurance agent, business owners can be sure they not only have the right insurance protection but also have access to risk management services to help plan, prevent or mitigate losses.
Q: What is your company doing to support small businesses?
We understand that no day is the same for a small business owner and flexibility is important. We continue to invest in insurance solutions to keep up with evolving risks small businesses face and align digital solutions for enhanced customer service. Working with leading independent insurance agents, we offer our small business clients insurance expertise, counsel and essential protection so they may focus more of their energies on their businesses. We also offer valuable complimentary and discounted services for business owners, such as background checks, worker safety training and business continuity planning.
About the author
Michael R. Keane serves as president, core commercial at The Hanover. In this role, he leads the company's core commercial businesses, which includes small commercial, middle market and technology. With more than 20 years of experience in the insurance industry, Michael's strong industry acumen has made him a proven leader in the property and casualty space.