Local businesses amongst the highest risk takers in the UK

63% say that in order to win new business they are taking more risks now than before.

While the economy appears to be showing signs of tentative improvement, research conducted by business insurance specialist, QBE, reveals that over a quarter (27%) of businesses in Birmingham and the West Midlands consider their trading environment to be riskier now than six months ago.

The research, conducted this autumn among 400 businesses across the UK, found that 63% of companies in Birmingham and the West Midlands are taking risks now that they wouldn‟t have taken two years ago in order to win new business. The increased tolerance to risk in the region, while the joint highest nationally (a position shared with Manchester), reflects an overall shift in attitude towards risk taking across the UK (54% of the 400 businesses surveyed revealed an increased acceptance of risk).

Worryingly, the elevated level of risk taking in Birmingham and the West Midlands is accompanied by one of the lowest levels of risk management performance in the UK. Over a quarter (27%) of businesses surveyed in the region admitted that in this heightened environment of risk taking, their risk management performance over the last 2– 3 years was “as much by chance as by judgement or design‟.

Tim Clarke, Regional Manager for QBE commented “There is always a degree of risk involved in doing business. However our research shows that economic circumstances are forcing businesses in our region to expose themselves to higher levels of risk at a time when their risk controls are not being robustly managed. While fortune can favour the bold, businesses should be considering how to manage these increased levels of risk. I would urge local companies to consult with their insurer to explore ways of mitigating the potential impact of these increased exposures.”