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NZ SMEs shift towards online buying

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New Zealand SMEs are “increasingly comfortable” seeking insurance online, according to the latest Vero research.

The insurer has released the second set of findings from its New Zealand SME Insurance Index, an annual look at the buying habits of small and medium-sized businesses.

Some 45% of respondents use the internet to research insurance options, up from 35% last year, while 27% think buying online is a great way to get the best price (up from 20%).

About 48% would not buy online because they prefer to obtain personal advice, down from 61% the previous year.

The most commonly reported benefits of online buying are convenient access at any time (62%), the ability to access from anywhere (56%), speed (46%) and ease of money transfer (44%).

Perceived drawbacks are the risk of errors (42%), its impersonal nature (38%), the risk of leaking business information (37%) and lack of advice (33%).

Some 17% agree they are using a broker less than they used to. Of those, 28% say they prefer online and 19% say brokers are slow to respond compared with the internet.

About 56% of respondents claim to be “extremely comfortable” online, with just 10% “extremely uncomfortable”.

Vero says assumptions that younger people are more comfortable online no longer hold water.

“While this may have been true in the past, our results suggest this trend has been reversed,” the report says.

“In fact, we found [over-50s] are even more confident, with almost two in three claiming to be extremely comfortable online, compared to [about] half of those under 50.”

To access the full report, click here.