Creating Certainty –
Who insures you doesn’t matter… until it does!
Andrew Scannell, Managing Director at HERO Insurance Solutions, speaks to us about the importance of making sure your insurance cover is up to date.
You own… a family home, maybe a pied-à-terre in town, possibly a holiday home abroad. Art and antiques you’ve carefully collected over the years, a number of expensive pieces of jewellery (not to mention handbags!), a wine cellar you’re rather proud of. A family car, a second car, and perhaps a performance car or a classic car that you tinker with at weekends. It all mounts up. You probably think you have it all safely covered by insurance. But can you be certain? If the worst happens will your insurance pay out in full?
When did you last see your broker?
Worryingly, personal insurance is fast becoming an impersonal world of anonymous call centres, automated telephones and invisible brokers. It’s full of pitfalls if you happen to own anything a little out-of-the-ordinary. Anything that requires a personal touch rather than an algorithm.
Contrary to widespread belief, all insurance is not the same. Standard policies that try to cater for everyone – on a one-size-fits-all basis – can do so profitably only by placing strict limits on what is covered and how it is covered. This is fine if you own a standard three-bedroom home – you’ll fall within the limits. However, it’s not so good if you own anything non-standard. It can often result in a claim settlement far lower than you were expecting, simply because you have been penalised by limits buried in the small print. Even worse, the problem is unlikely to surface until you make the claim. But by then it’s too late! You could be left significantly out-of-pocket. Maddening if it’s an expensive watch – devastating if it’s your family home!
Does your broker talk to you about reducing risk?
The solution is to seek out a specialist high-net-worth personal insurance broker.
The best will assign you a dedicated account manager who will get to know you inside-out and champion your interests. They will invest time upfront helping to identify the actual risks you face – from fire through to theft – and suggesting ways to minimise or eliminate them without compromising your lifestyle. This will not only help to better protect your property it could also reduce your premium.
They will advise on how to ensure that your assets – homes, cars, valuables – are accurately valued so that you can replace like-for-like should you make a claim. They will seek out the right cover with the right insurer to match your individual requirements – with fewer restrictive conditions and flexible upper limits. They will help you find a policy with the right protection against the non- tangible – but equally distressing – risks of wealth such as: cybercrime, identity theft, aggravated burglary, stalking or road rage. Finally, they will aim to simplify things by merging all your insurances into a single portfolio so you have one premium, one renewal date and none of those infuriating grey areas between policies.
On a visit to a client’s house the high-net-worth broker noticed that a valuable painting had been hung directly in front of a large south-facing window and was already starting to suffer sun damage. He recommended that it be moved to a less-exposed spot in the room.
“By agreeing upfront precisely what is insured and for how much, we effectively settle any claim before it happens.”–Andrew Scannell, HERO Insurance Solutions
Insurance made simple
Andrew Scannell is the MD of HERO Insurance Solutions, explains:
“High-net-worth clients frequently have complex requirements. Our single-minded aim is to make their insurance simple and stress-free. We are committed to providing thoughtful individual advice based on their specific circumstances. We want to understand from the start the risks they face and agree accurate replacement costs for their homes, cars and belongings. Where necessary we will recommend professional valuers, often at preferential rates. This means we can match their cover to their requirements. So, they pay only for the insurance they need. But, most importantly, by agreeing upfront precisely what is insured and for how much, we effectively settle any claim before it happens. This eliminates the need for haggling after the event and makes the claim process faster, fairer and smoother. In other words, insurance made simple.”
Avoiding the penalty of under-insurance
“Accurate replacement costs or sums insured are crucial to this process,” notes Scannell.
The reason is that most insurers put the onus on you, as the policyholder, to calculate the cost of rebuilding your home and replacing your possessions. When you make a claim, they will decide whether your original sums were correct. Under-estimate and they can penalise you – reducing your claim settlement for both buildings and belongings in proportion to the under-insurance.
If you are under-insured by 25%, a valid claim for £200,000 could be reduced to £150,000 – no matter what your total sum insured!
Broader cover that doesn't trip you up
“Once you have agreed the sums insured, your broker’s next focus should be on the quality of the cover,” continues Scannell. “Cover with as few restrictions as possible and flexible upper limits.”
If you have a little more to protect there are so many areas where the small print restrictions in standard policies can unwittingly trip you up – leaving you without the insurance you thought you had.
Does your main home have unlimited cover, including outbuildings and the garden? Is your second home, either here or abroad, covered on the same basic terms? Are your possessions covered worldwide for all-risks including accidental damage – even when you’re travelling? Is all replacement ‘new for old’ – including clothes?
It has been estimated that if your contents sum insured is £300,000 – about average for a high-net- worth household – then the wardrobe element for a couple is likely to be a staggering £75,000 once shoes, designer clothes, suits, handbags and luggage are taken into account.
Standard policies won’t replace these items ‘as new’ but instead deduct a significant amount for ‘wear and tear’ – leaving you considerably out-of-pocket.
For your valuables do you have worldwide all-risks cover even when travelling – whether it’s jewellery, fine art, antiques, watches, handbags, wine, guns or collections? Other important covers that you’re unlikely to be offered on a standard policy are agreed value (specifying the exact sum you will be paid, with no deductions, for a total loss), pairs & sets (cover for the whole set even if only one piece is lost or damaged), compensation for loss in value following a claim, and automatic cover with high limits for newly-acquired items.
A policyholder had a wine collection with some valuable vintages. Unfortunately, a water leak in his cellar ruined the labels on a number of bottles destroying their value.
The cover his broker had negotiated meant he was reimbursed the full value of the damaged bottles – even though the wine was still eminently drinkable. With standard cover, damaged labels would not have entitled him to any compensation.
Cars – modern, performance, classic or significant collections – are another area where standard insurance is often peppered with limitations for those who don’t drive a basic family saloon. All- risks and agreed value for all your cars is a must. Do you have comprehensive cover for named drivers driving other cars, or others driving your cars, or business trips? Does your policy offer your choice of repairer and a comparable courtesy car? Or, unlimited foreign trips and Europe-wide breakdown cover?
A 1954 Jaguar XK 120 was a policyholder’s pride and joy. It was carefully maintained by a small specialist local garage. Following an accident in which the car was badly damaged his policy allowed him to have it repaired at his local garage. Not only this, but original Jaguar parts were used, where possible. A standard policy would insist the car be repaired at a garage on the insurer’s approved list and that universal parts would be used.
Then there are the add-on covers that a standard policy is likely to omit, such as family protection (aggravated burglary to stalking), annual travel, legal expenses, cybercrime, home emergency, public and employers’ liability.
A claim service that respects your wishes
“Finally, the ultimate test of any broker and any insurance is the claim service,” states Scannell.
A good broker will make certain that you deal only with insurers whose claim service leaves you feeling in control because your wishes are respected and there are no nasty surprises. The aim will be to restore things as they were before the claim, speedily and without fuss. To ensure that you are paid what is fair to put things right. To give you the choice of cash or replacement/ repair. To allow you to select your supplier for replacement or your craftsmen or garage for repair. To deal with you sympathetically offering expert support however complex your claim.
So, don’t let yourself be caught out by your insurance. Who insures you does matter! Choose the certainty of working with a good specialist high-net-worth broker.
About HERO Insurance Solutions
HERO Insurance Solutions is a new type of broker geared to clients who have a little more to protect.
Hero Insurance Solutions are one of a very exclusive panel of specialist brokers that have access to our market leading range of Private Client products aimed at affluent individuals and families. I have personally known and worked with Andrew Scannell for over 10 years and the level of service, expertise and detailed advice that he and the HERO team provide is second to none.
–Simon Mobey, Global Head of Private Clients, AXAXL
They are specialists committed to the highest standards of personal service, treating their clients as they would wish to be treated themselves. Their expert team works with you from the outset structuring, streamlining and simplifying your insurance to avoid pitfalls, bridge gaps and ensure there are no nasty surprises.
Successful people have a lot to protect yet little time to manage disruption in their lives. Chubb is honoured to partner with Andrew Scannell and the team at HERO to craft bespoke personal insurance solutions for their client’s homes, cars, valued possessions, and lifestyles. Andrew has the expertise to simplify the process and provide his clients with the peace of mind that they are properly protected. I have had the pleasure of meeting some of Andrew’s incredible clients. It is clear that they value his relationship as much as the solutions he creates for their needs.
–Annmarie Camp, Head of Personal Risk Services, Chubb Europe