The world of work is changing fast, with the pull of the digital revolution and the push of the pandemic shifting mindsets and introducing far greater flexibility in how we organize our working lives.

In the two years since the pandemic struck, those that could worked from home. Some are now retuning to the office for the first time and many will happily never set foot in a physical workplace again.

Of the many interlinked labor trends currently being seen — from the great resignation to the intense competition for talent — one that arguably has fallen under the insurance industry’s radar for too long is the growth in new businesses being created and run from home.

The disruption over the past two years opened eyes to show what’s possible when it comes to how we work. It’s no coincidence the home-based business sector is thriving, driven by entrepreneurs, many of whom have turned their backs on corporate America to become their own bosses.

The insurance industry’s role as experts in risk is to understand how these big social and economic shifts impact customers and to respond with products and services that they might not know they need.

Incredibly, there are some 15 million home-based businesses across the U.S. Think of any industry, and more than likely there already will be home-based businesses doing their bit within it.

This growing section of the economy is underserved by existing insurance policies. As a result, it is necessary to build solutions to address the specific needs of home-based business owners. These are not brick and mortar businesses; they need something different from products created for traditional small businesses.

An AXIS Insurance survey of 1,000 home-based businesses owners across the U.S. (in Q4 2021) provided a snapshot of the rich diversity and reach of home-based business. Almost two-thirds (64%) of the owners were women.

The survey results showed what kinds of businesses women were setting up — revealing an incredibly diverse range of sectors, from fitness and marketing to IT and tutoring. The top sectors operated by female home-based business owners were e-commerce, home crafts and professional services (including consulting). Each of these women had an idea and made it a reality, whether it was trying something completely new or turning a side hustle into a career.

Home-based businesses have been around for a long time, but there has been a real boom in recent years. With more time spent at home during the pandemic, what was a real upheaval in our lives also provided a lightbulb moment for many that prompted them to reassess how they organized their lives. For some women, that meant leaving traditional corporate jobs and striking out on their own. Indeed, 42% of women started their own business to pursue a passion and an opportunity that they may not have felt possible before.

Starting a home-based business takes guts, but what gets the owner through is a passion and a determination to succeed.

The second biggest motivation, at 36%, was to be their own boss, with 34% of respondents saying they went into business to achieve more financial freedom.

Running your own business can be empowering, and this is a big motivator for the women surveyed.

The most important quality identified for owning a home-based business was passion, which provides the staying power and energy to remain positive and ultimately succeed. The next most important quality was an entrepreneurial mindset. Ambition came third and the desire to succeed. All help these women to own it in their own way.

Discovering how motivated and ambitious these women are to embark on a new journey has been inspiring — 44% said they were happy with the decision to start a business.

There is a clear opportunity for the insurance industry to get behind these home-based businesses and provide them with high quality products that provide protection and help them as they realize their ambitions.

Of the total respondents to the survey, 91% know they need insurance for their home-based business, but around 44% don’t have it, finding the whole experience of getting the right insurance difficult to navigate.

With this gap between demand and supply, there is a chance for the insurance industry to step up and back this dynamic sector by designing, distributing and clearly explaining the insurance solutions these businesses need.