By Matt Salvage, Head of Client Management, at outsourced equipment insurance specialist, Acquis
There’s nothing average about this spring. Aside from marking the first anniversary of Covid-19’s impact on business here in the UK, it marks the final stretch towards what is expected to be the end of the Government’s Covid financial support.
And as the support ends, so the repayments of £71bn in government-backed loans will gradually begin. Crucially, while the loans have nursed thousands of SMEs through a global pandemic, analysis shows 850,000 firms are at risk of closure over the next three months.
Nick Leader, CEO of leased equipment insurance specialist Acquis, explains: “There are many SMEs across Europe that might have run into difficulties if it had not been for the fiscal support schemes offered by governments. These schemes were not only a lifeline for those applying for support but also an attractive and much-needed revenue stream for accredited funders. Yet unfortunately, it seems likely that some SMEs will struggle to survive once that support ends.”
Of course, there are many businesses that were strong before the pandemic and will prosper as the market recovers. Moreover, there are many that have adapted their businesses, so to continue trading during the periods of lockdown.
Adaptability is key to not just surviving, but prospering too
We’ve seen the same adaptability amongst our leasing clients who have been quick to embrace diversification into new markets where leasing demand is growing, such as green energy sectors. Ultimately, our clients want to write new business and despite the uncertainty ahead, the leasing industry has proven to be strong-willed and resilient. We know from speaking with our partners that they are eager – and well placed – to continue playing their part in the economic recovery.
As a provider of outsourced insurance management programmes, Acquis has also had to quickly adapt to meet the new demands of our clients. It’s been really important that through ongoing expert consultancy with our clients, we’ve been able to work seamlessly in the creation of tailored insurance solutions that provide new income streams. We’ve launched 18 new insurance programmes since the start of the pandemic, reflecting the industry’s appetite to come back strongly and deliver the right services.
Lessees can invest their way out of the pandemic
The financial pressure many UK businesses will feel in our post-pandemic, post-EU world will be intense. Leasing undoubtedly offers an attractive, affordable means of investment to unlock much needed competitive gains this year, whether that be greater capacity, increased efficiency or improved quality.
Lessors can effortlessly increase income with outsourced insurance management
As opportunities associated with Government’s Covid financial relief dry up, it becomes ever more important for funders to seek new income streams. For Lessors, outsourced insurance management provides an effortless stream of non-interest-bearing income.
Pursuing an outsourced insurance management programme with Acquis will deliver a typical margin of 2-5% of total portfolio revenue. Our customer penetration rates consistently outperform other insurance models and there is no cost to the lessor.
Crucially, our insurance programmes deliver more than increased income. They provide added customer value to the lessee with a dependable, best-in-class insurance product for business continuity, asset protection and peace of mind.
Reduce portfolio risk
The desire to increase income is the most common reason our clients choose to partner with us, but there are many others too. Outsourced insurance management provides reduced portfolio risk from the very start of the lease with top-rated insurance partners. Moreover, our policies do not penalise lessees by their sector or geographic location – which is more important than ever right now. Premiums are determined simply by the asset and associated risk.
Support for Lessors and Lessees
Over the last 12 months, we’ve been working incredibly closely with our clients. Our decision to be proactive in understanding our Lessors’ approach, and to work quickly to resolve their needs, has allowed them to really focus on their own customers.
We continue to do everything we can to ensure lessees pull-through the pandemic and our lessors remain in a strong position as a result. As an independent insurance broker with access to the whole market, we are fortunate to work with best-in-class insurers who have been very flexible in helping us provide extra support. Supporting our clients and ensuring continued asset protection has, and continues to be, our priority.