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Axis Insurance Research: 44% of Home-business Owners Don’t Have Commercial Insurance or Don’t Know What They Are Covered For

The pandemic has driven a surge in new home-based businesses – and the insurance industry must keep up with their needs

AXIS Insurance, the specialty insurance business segment of AXIS Capital Holdings Limited ("AXIS Capital") (NYSE: AXS), has published new researchi that reveals there is more that insurance companies and agents can be doing to help home-based businesses to thrive and protect themselves from risk.

Launching a start-up from home has become increasingly attractive to millions of Americans, with home-based businesses forming a growing proportion of the U.S. economy and labor force.

To understand more about the motivations and challenges facing the individuals behind this flourishing sector and the hard work that goes into running a business from home, AXIS Insurance commissioned a poll of 1,000 business owners across the U.S. The first Home-Based Business Survey from AXIS Insurance, published today, reveals a diverse sector spanning almost every industry and consisting of individuals who are overwhelmingly positive about the outlook for their businesses.

Highlights from the survey include*:

  • Positive state of mind: Going it alone is working well for many respondents with 73% either ‘very happy’ or ‘content’ with running their home-based business. Almost a quarter (23%) felt they are making progress but still have a way to go, while 3% are less happy but remain optimistic for the future.
  • Pandemic response: Since the start of the pandemic almost one quarter (23%) have seen growth in their businesses accelerate, while 30% have seen growth slow and 14% have changed their whole business model, suggesting the impact of Covid-19 on businesses has varied significantly.
  • Growth ambitions: Almost half (48%) see ‘growth’ as the area in which they are excelling most, followed by ‘getting new clients’ (45%). However, crystallizing these ambitions is also where home-based business owners want the most help: driving sales or new business (31%) and advertising (28%) are identified as their top priorities.
  • No "typical" home-based business: With more than 15 million home-based businesses in the U.S.ii, they are diverse in nature and span almost every industry. Among respondents to the survey the largest sectors for home-based businesses are e-commerce & home crafts (24%) and professional services including consulting (16%).
  • Different drivers: What drives home-based business entrepreneurs isn’t simply financial reward. They are in it for the long-term and have very positive plans for their businesses. Pursuing a passion is the biggest motivator for starting their business (42%) followed by a desire to be their own boss (37%) and to pursue a “side hustle” (36%).
  • Insurance protection gap: These are not brick and mortar operations and require different coverage than more traditional commercial insurance, however the survey found that insurance take-up is patchy among home-based business owners. Particularly among owners whose businesses started out as a hobby or side hustle, the need for specific insurance might not be immediately clear. While 91% of owners recognize they need insurance, 44% either don’t have any coverage, are unsure or explicitly do not know what they are covered for by their insurance, suggesting insurance companies and agents have not kept up to speed with what these businesses need.

Jill Bryant, Head of Small Specialty Commercial at AXIS Insurance, said: “Despite the uncertain climate, home-based business owners are incredibly optimistic about the future. With almost half of all respondents confidently expanding their businesses, our research also suggests that many would welcome more support. There is certainly more the insurance industry can do to help these entrepreneurs realize their ambitions by educating business owners about the benefits of insurance and the appropriate coverages for their unique needs.

“Running a business from home presents risks that are not necessarily covered in a standard insurance policy designed for small businesses. For example, while the home is at the heart of these businesses, 49% of respondents spend up to half of their time working away from the home, so they need insurance that goes with them. And, equally, those owners who have built their businesses out of a hobby or a side hustle, may not have considered that business risks – from professional liability to crime risk – are unlikely to be covered under their home insurance policy.

“While it is pleasing that most owners would speak to an insurance agent about the insurance they need, with so many home-based businesses having no insurance in place, there is a huge opportunity for us to do more to help this thriving sector.”

Note to editors:

*Respondents could provide more than one answer where the total percentage exceeds 100.

Visit our website to find out more from our first annual Home-Based Business Survey.

About AXIS Capital

AXIS Capital, through its operating subsidiaries, is a global provider of specialty lines insurance and treaty reinsurance with shareholders' equity of $5.3 billion at September 30, 2021, and locations in Bermuda, the United States, Europe, Singapore and Canada. Its operating subsidiaries have been assigned a rating of "A+" ("Strong") by Standard & Poor's and "A" ("Excellent") by A.M. Best. For more information about AXIS Capital, visit our website at www.axiscapital.com.

Follow AXIS Capital on LinkedIn and Twitter.


i AXIS Insurance commissioned a survey of 1,000 home-based business owners in the United states in October 2021, which was conducted by IMA Home & Attest Technologies. The gender split was female: 64%; male 35%. Age was split as follows:

  • Up to 20: 2%
  • 20-39: 58%
  • 40-60: 33%
  • 60+: 7%

ii Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council https://sbecouncil.org/about-us/facts-and-data/ https://sbecouncil.org/about-us/facts-and-data/

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