UK’s growing self-employed need insurance product clarity

UNA underlines the importance of the correct policies for the UK’s 4.7 million self-employed workers, against a backdrop of insurance purchasing confusion

The UK’s growing number of self-employed workers must consider all their risks and requirements, especially those new to the practice, according to UNA, an organisation owned equally by 13 of the UK’s largest independent regional insurance brokers.

According to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, UK self-employment grew almost six per cent in the past year across all sectors, with those registered as working in the public administration/defence and social security (58% increase), manufacturing (13%), education (13%), and transport and storage (13%) seeing the fastest growth. In addition, construction (959,000) reported the greatest number of self-employed workers, with professional/scientific, and technical second (608,000), and motor industry sales/repair third (401,000).

Furthermore, according to recent research conducted amongst 1,200 UK consumers on behalf of UNA, there appears to be a general backdrop of conflicted insurance purchasing amongst consumers, driven by pre-selected, unnecessary default policy add-ons which prove to be poor value. These findings come despite a ruling by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in April this year to ban ‘pre-ticked boxes’ and other opt-out methods of selling additional add-on products with purchases of regulated financial products.

Tim Ryan, UNA Executive Chairman comments: “We found that over half (55%) of UK consumers considered price to be the most important factor when purchasing insurance. Despite this, 70% reported they could be influenced by add-ons and extras, suggesting that many may be conflicted. With this in mind, and considering the growing self-employment trend in the UK, it is of paramount importance for any self-employed workers to get the right insurance products and advice, as soon as possible. Self-employment breeds additional risks and cover requirements, some of which may not be glaringly obvious to new start-ups and one-man-bands.”

According to UNA, for workers moving from employment to self-employment some of the key insurance issues include income protection, pensions, and other protection such as critical illness cover, plus replacing any other benefits previously enjoyed such as maternity leave, sick pay, and dental insurance for example. “It is vital that the self-employed leave no stone unturned,” continues Tim, “Mortgage lenders and insurers need to know if a home gradually evolves into a business premises, as it will affect policy requirements. You have to ask yourself; what can you afford; what existing arrangements do you have; do you have any dependents or liabilities and what is your attitude to risk?”