Businesses List Medical Costs as Top Risk Concern

May 19, 2014

The rising cost of medical care is the top concern of businesses surveyed in a new report by insurance company Travelers.

Travelers has its property-casualty lines of business headquartered in Hartford. It's just issued its new Business Risk Index, a survey it now intends to carry out annually.

Of more than 1,000 companies surveyed, almost 70 percent rated medical cost inflation as the leading risk for their businesses. Travelers' Bill Cunningham said companies of all sizes were worried about the issue. "That was by a fairly wide margin the number one concern they had," he said. "It was also the concern they felt the least prepared for."

Also on the agenda: issues like legal liabilities, technology concerns such as data breach, and the difficulties of complying with government regulation. Cunningham said he was surprised by what was overlooked: only about a third of businesses identified disruptions from severe weather as a major concern.

"Twenty-five to 40 percent of small commercial buyers that undergo a catastrophic event actually do not open up after the event," said Cunningham. "I think there's a real opportunity, from an awareness standpoint, for small buyers of insurance to understand the importance and need for continuity plans, and the fact that it could be business-ending for them in the event of not having that in place."

Cunningham said that only 24 percent of respondents had identified risk management as a key part of their strategy, and only 30 percent of small businesses have continuity plans in place.