sme flower shop

Allianz reveals biggest threats
facing SMEs in 2024

Posted: 10 May 2024

New research by Allianz Commercial has found that inflation continues to be the biggest threat facing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2024.

The recent survey of 500 SMEs revealed the top three threats to businesses are:

1. inflation and the cost of living (61% said they feel under threat)

2. state of the UK economy (51% said they feel under threat)

3. cash flow (31% said they feel under threat).

More than half of SMEs said they feel under threat from the state of the UK economy (51%), an increase of 18% from 33% in the past twelve months. While worries about Brexit have decreased from 25% since last year’s survey* to just 16%, concerns about cashflow have almost doubled from 16%, with respondents now rating it one of the biggest threats (31%). 

75% of SMEs surveyed said that have been negatively impacted by the cost of living crisis, up from 71% in 2023.

Allianz’s research also identified the top business challenges facing SMEs in 2024, with the price of energy topping the list: 

1. energy bills (37%)

2. competition (36%)

3. late payment / unpaid invoices (28%)

4. supply chain problems (24%)

5. staff (e.g. hiring, retaining) (24%).


Despite concerns about inflation, in the past year only 19% of small business owners increased their sums insured and just 12% increased their insurance indemnity periods. The survey found that 42% of SMEs which own their premises do not know the rebuild value of their buildings. Of those who had calculated the rebuild value of their property, just over half (51%) had a professional valuation, whereas 39% used market value and 10% self-valued their property.

Alex Ktenidis, director of digital trading, Allianz Commercial, said:

“SMEs are clearly facing extremely challenging times so it’s understandable that business owners are looking to save where possible. Having the right level of insurance protection is crucial and brokers play a pivotal role in assisting small business owners to fully understand which insurance cover and indemnity levels are needed.”

Demonstrating that SMEs continue to adapt their businesses, the survey found that within the past year 21% had increased the number of products or services offered, 14% had moved from working at a business premises to working from home and 14% had increased the number of employees. Looking ahead, more than half (51%) of respondents said that they see potential for their business using artificial intelligence in the future, while 23% said the same for machine learning.

Ktenidis added:

“We know that SMEs are incredibly agile and many of them adapt their business models to suit the ever-changing environments that they operate in. Working with brokers, we want to provide the best support possible to those customers, so when they make significant changes, we can help make sure this doesn’t lead to gaps in their cover.”

1.The Allianz survey was carried out by One Poll in February 2024 amongst 500 SME decision makers.

*Year on year comparative data taken from the Allianz 2023 SME survey


About Allianz Holdings plc

Allianz Holdings plc is the non-regulated holding company which owns the principal insurance operations of Allianz SE in Great Britain including Allianz Insurance.

About Allianz

The Allianz Group is one of the world's leading insurers and asset managers with around 125 million* private and corporate customers in nearly 70 countries. Allianz customers benefit from a broad range of personal and corporate insurance services, ranging from property, life and health insurance to assistance services to credit insurance and global business insurance. Allianz is one of the world’s largest investors, managing around 737 billion euros** on behalf of its insurance customers. Furthermore, our asset managers PIMCO and Allianz Global Investors manage about 1.7 trillion euros** of third-party assets. Thanks to our systematic integration of ecological and social criteria in our business processes and investment decisions, we are among the leaders in the insurance industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In 2023, over 157,000 employees achieved total business volume of 161.7 billion euros and an operating profit of 14.7 billion euros for the group.

* Including non-consolidated entities with Allianz customers.

**As of December 31, 2023.

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These assessments are, as always, subject to the disclaimer provided below.

Cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements

This document includes forward-looking statements, such as prospects or expectations, that are based on management's current views and assumptions and subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results, performance figures, or events may differ significantly from those expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements.

Deviations may arise due to changes in factors including, but not limited to, the following: (i) the general economic and competitive situation in the Allianz’s core business and core markets, (ii) the performance of financial markets (in particular market volatility, liquidity, and credit events), (iii) adverse publicity, regulatory actions or litigation with respect to the Allianz Group, other well-known companies and the financial services industry generally, (iv) the frequency and severity of insured loss events, including those resulting from natural catastrophes, and the development of loss expenses, (v) mortality and morbidity levels and trends, (vi) persistency levels, (vii) the extent of credit defaults, (viii) interest rate levels, (ix) currency exchange rates, most notably the EUR/USD exchange rate, (x) changes in laws and regulations, including tax regulations, (xi) the impact of acquisitions including related integration issues and reorganization measures, and (xii) the general competitive conditions that, in each individual case, apply at a local, regional, national, and/or global level. Many of these changes can be exacerbated by terrorist activities.

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Sian Baker
Communications Consultant
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