Pandemic, Other Risks Weigh on Minds of Middle-Market Execs

February 26, 2022

Most middle-market firms experienced a recovery following the height of disruptions caused by COVID-19 and remain mostly optimistic about the global economy, but other business risks loom large.

According to a survey of 1,000 executives by Chubb and the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM), 73 percent said business improved compared to a year ago and 75 percent said they are at least somewhat confident in the global economy.

However, pandemic risk appears to remain fresh on the minds of these executives, who ranked it highest among “extremely or very challenging” risks, according to Chubb and NCMM’s 2021 Year-End Middle Market Indicator.

Nearly half of executives surveyed put supply chain risk in this category, too, followed by cybersecurity.

“With the growing complexity and global nature of many company supply chains, it is clear the middle market is in no way exempt from the issues,” said the NCMM. “Over the course of 2021, perspectives regarding supply chain disruption changed significantly. The percentage of companies saying supply chain risk was extremely challenging to manage jumped from 27 percent at the end of 2020 to 48 percent 12 months later.”

Meanwhile, the complexity of data privacy laws, trade-policy uncertainty, and the frequency and severity of extreme weather events are top-of-mind concerns for middle-market companies looking to do business overseas.

Employing the right people is also impeding potential growth, with over 51 percent of executives indicating that their company is “extremely or very challenged” in finding and hiring employees with the right skills for the jobs available.

“Business success and risk are inherently intertwined,” said Ben Rockwell, division president, Chubb Middle Market. “Middle-market leaders have an opportunity to make risk management—from better understanding of their exposures to updating their risk mitigation strategies and insurance program—a priority, so they can support continued growth.”