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NEW YORK (August 10, 2015) – Hiscox, the global specialist insurer, today released the inaugural American Courage Index (ACI), a new survey that measures the level of courage across American small businesses and the general national population. The survey of 6,400 participants from the general US population and Hiscox small business customers highlights how age, gender,income, region and the economy impact the levels of courage across America. The first ever ACI reveals that American small business owners, known for their hard work and determination, are 17% more courageous than the general population.
“The American small business community has gotten more cautious since the financial crisis,” said Ben Walter, CEO of Hiscox USA. “There is a lot of uncertainty in today’s business environment around regulations, funding and overall demand. It takes even more courage to start and build a business in this environment, but courageous small business owners continue to beat these fears and pursue their dreams.”
Small Business Owner’s Mindset
In addition to showing higher levels of courage, small business owners are feeling more confident than the general population. Small business owners are also planning to grow their businesses in the remainder of 2015, while keeping a close eye on their expenses.
21% of small business owners feel very confident about the strength of the economy for the next six months vs. only 10% of non-business owners.
15% of business owners are expecting growth and expansion in the next quarter and are planning to borrow money to grow their business.
10% are planning to expand into international markets and 14% are looking to hire more employees.
Small business owners are focused on smart growth. In the next three months, 34% of business owners plan to pay down debt, while 24% hope to increase savings and 20% will decrease overall spending.
Small business owners surveyed said the government can encourage more entrepreneurs to start and/or grow small businesses by relaxing planning restrictions, reducing regulations and barriers of bureaucracy and simplifying accounting rules.
Millennials bring courage to business
Millennials (ages 18-34) were more likely to take action to grow their business than the more senior demographics. Twenty-nine percent (29%) of millennial respondents said they had bought or started another business in the past year, as compared with 13% of those 55 years or older, and 17% had borrowed money to grow the business (vs. 10% over age 55). However, baby boomers (ages 65+)had the highest overall ACI index scores, suggesting that life experience may support a balance of emotional, moral, social, business and intellectual courage.
Courage in the “Wild” West
Although the overall ACI scores show only minor regional variations, scores related to business courage reveal significant differences around the country. The historic tendency to “go west” for new opportunities still rings true. The Western US, including startup-heavy Silicon Valley, ranks the highest for business-related courage, with the South trailing as the least courageous region.The West Coast wasalso more likely to be optimistic about the economy, with 15% of respondents from the Pacific US saying they are "very confident" in the economy, as compared with only 7% of respondents in New England.
Creativity and innovation
ACI survey respondents also indicated their level of intellectual and business courage. Fourteen percent (14%) of business owners said they have championed or introduced a new product line in the past year and 15% expect to advocate or oversee a move into a new market in the year ahead. In comparison, Hiscox clients demonstrated a higher comparative level of courage in this area, with 30% noting that they had championed or introduced a new product line, 39% had championed or introduced a new business model, and 38% advocated or oversaw a move into new markets.
“Courage isn’t the absence of fear or caution, it’s taking an action that you believe is right or necessary in spite of the risk. Courage is a choice,” said Walter. “At Hiscox, our goal is to support small business owners who are ready to take smart, calculated risks to seize the opportunities in front of them.”
Hiscox specializes in insurance for small business owners, such as professional liability (errors and omissions insurance) and commercial general liability customized for a range of fields including IT, consulting, marketing, photography, real estate, beauty and health. Hiscox offers business insurance quotes direct and online in real-time along with other liability insurance products, such as business owner’s policies. Since launching their groundbreaking online service in the US in 2010, Hiscox has received an average customer service rating of 4.8 out of 5 and 96% of those surveyed would recommend Hiscox (Feefo customer surveys).
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Hunter Hoffmann, Hiscox USA
The American Courage Index scores are derived from data collected via monthly surveys of the general US population that are based on questions related to business, in addition to other questions designed to probe various types of moral and social courage. The survey asked about past actions and projected future actions, and placed a heavier emphasis on previous behavior due to peoples’ inherent bias in predicting their own future conduct. The data was then converted to a 100-point scale, requiring the scores for each group to be analyzed in context with the scores for the other participants.ACI was derived from a survey in part with Forbes Insights, the strategic research and thought leadership practice of Forbes Media.
About Hiscox Small Business Insurance
Hiscox, the international specialist insurer, is headquartered in Bermuda and listed on the London Stock Exchange UK:HSX +0.22% . Hiscox is the first company in the US to offer insurance for small businesses direct, online, and in real-time. We provide professional liability, general liability and business owner's insurance, underwritten by Chicago-based Hiscox Insurance Company Inc., which is rated 'A' (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company. Additional information can be found on the Why Choose Hiscox? page. Coverages are subject to underwriting and may not be available in all states.
Hiscox also provides professional liability, property and specialty insurance to US businesses through US-based brokers. This communication does not constitute a solicitation of business by Hiscox's syndicates at Lloyd's, London.
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