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Middle Market Indicator Finds Businesses Cautiously Optimistic, Risks Remain

May 03, 2021, 07:10 AM
Filed Under: Economy

New data from Chubb and the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM), housed at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, reveals that the worst of the pandemic’s economic impact might be in the rearview mirror for middle market companies.

While COVID-19 remains a significant concern, according to results from Chubb and NCMM’s fourth-quarter Middle Market Indicator (MMI) report, the overall economic outlook of companies has improved. Since the second quarter of 2020, the confidence of middle market companies in the U.S. and global economies rebounded by 10 percent and 11 percent, respectively, and expected revenue increased by 4 percent, nearing pre-pandemic levels.

Even as middle market companies look to the future, businesses will have to navigate the enduring impact of COVID-19. Forty-three percent of middle market companies report that the pandemic will have a negative long-term impact on their supply chain, and 60 percent have had to make “extreme” or “significant” long-lasting changes to their workplace due to safety concerns.

“The future looks positive for middle market companies, but there is a long road ahead of them,” said Ben Rockwell, Division President, Chubb Middle Market. “A critical part of that journey will be assessing how their property and casualty risks have evolved in light of the pandemic. Whether revisiting business continuity plans or providing employees with resources to help set them up with an efficient ergonomic workspace at home or in the office, companies which acknowledge where they were unprepared ahead of the pandemic and implement lessons learned will be best positioned for future success.”

However, a key resource that could help middle market companies mitigate such risks remains largely untapped: According to the data, only 20 percent of middle market companies rely heavily on an insurance agent or broker to understand and manage risk. For the 68 percent of middle market companies which said risk management is “extremely” or “very” important to their overall firm, agents and brokers can help support growth by providing guidance on best practices around minimizing risk and transferring exposure.

Additional findings on current and emerging trends from across the middle market, plus snapshots of select industry findings are forthcoming for financial services, technology and manufacturing companies, as well as for those companies with international revenue.

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