Navigating the “challenging landscape” of business protection

“The landscape is challenging for businesses and there is a real risk that financial pressures will mean businesses relegate protection further down their pecking order,” claims Susan Bourke, Broadstone head of proposition for risk and health.

Protection Reporter
28th October 2022
Susan Bourke
"We need to continue providing help and assistance…to ensure [policies] are fit for purpose and protection levels are correct."
- Susan Bourke, Broadstone head of proposition for risk and health

Susan Bourke has over twenty-five years of experience, during which she has specialised in all aspects of group risk as well as business protection. Bourke currently works as head of proposition for risk and health independent consultancy Broadstone.

In her role, Bourke holds a portfolio of key accounts. This involves looking after group protection needs for medium to large corporates and placing business protection for clients ranging from small partnership to global corporate.

Consequently, Bourke doesn’t have a typical client but after so many years in the industry, she sees this as a blessing in disguise.

Currently, she is looking at ownership and shareholder protection for a firm of engineers who want to ensure that “all the hard work and money they’ve invested into their business can be released to them or their family should the worst happen.”

“Helping our clients with these important conversations adds value beyond just placing a policy and helping a business build resilience is very rewarding,” Bourke added.

Over the last couple of years, Bourke has noticed that the cost of living crisis has elevated the need to protect business’ greatest asset: its people. “As interest rates and fuel bills start to bite, any additional pressures on the business could be devastating,” she noted.

However, despite the current economic climate poses considerable risk, Bourke felt that it had also highlighted the added value services which are often forgotten or not fully appreciated at the time can have as well as elevating the relationship between the adviser and their client beyond placing a policy.

Bourke noted that although the core protection products are usually life & critical illness cover, where value is truly added is through the consultancy advice that advisers “wrap around the product.”

She felt that “it’s not just a case of putting a policy in place, it is guiding our clients so that they understand the value of a key person and determining a figure for what is deemed irreplaceable.”

Bourke believes this constant relationship was especially important with the current “challenging landscape.”

She felt this landscape could pose a “real risk” to businesses and that financial pressures have encouraged more employers to relegate protection further down the pecking order. This decision could lower financial resilience and employees’ ability to cope with the loss of a key person or business owner.

Consequently, insurers and the industry are looking at new ways to market business protection more successfully since it hasn’t been as widely purchased in comparison to group risk.

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