Safeguarding the Lifestyle of High-Net-Worth Individuals
David Skinner is Group Director at BBi, a global broker with a personal touch who has advised and supported clients for over 50 years. He is the voice of expertise when it comes to safeguarding yourself, your loved ones and your possessions. We chat with David about protecting the lifestyle of high-net-worth individuals who could be unknowingly exposing themselves to risks.
Tell us what attracted you to the world of insurance and how it continues to hold your personal and professional interests.
BBi has a strong heritage in this industry and I’m proud to be part of that, I’ve worked here for 30 years! Within a year of joining the company, I was leading the high net worth division and it’s an area I still specialise in today. I made a conscious decision to move into broking because it’s a job about people; listening, building relationships and developing working partnerships that protect our clients and the things they care about.
When you deal with people, every day is different. I enjoy that variety and the challenges that come with delivering the best possible level of service. With high net worth insurance, most people need help to make sure their possessions are correctly insured and we get to insure both the weird and wonderful. One day I’ll be speaking to a Duke about his estate, the next day, a footballer who has crashed his Lamborghini or an athlete who has injured herself. They call on our expertise and we have the specialists they need to support them in the unfortunate event of making a claim.
Dealing with people and negotiating with insurance providers is something I genuinely enjoy doing. I’m proud of how we’re continually evolving as a company, anticipating the needs of our customers and the demands of the industry. When I started my career as a broker, I couldn’t have anticipated that we’d be advising on drone insurance! We strive to be one step ahead and so when the need arises for something like drone insurance, we are best placed to advise our customers on the products that are right for them.
Being an insurance broker is a very satisfying job; it’s about advising people on how to truly safeguard the things they care about.
BBi has impressive credentials, with over 50 years of experience supporting high-net-worth individuals. What has contributed to that longstanding success and how do you set yourself apart from your competitors?
We’re in the business of understanding people, identifying their needs and delivering bespoke insurance solutions that can protect them, their families, their belongings and their properties. We have an excellent reputation and that helps us maintain the longstanding customer base we have.
We continue to grow our business by connecting new high-net-worth clients with the specialists they need to safeguard their assets. At BBi, we believe in a traditional and personal approach and strive to provide service levels that are the envy of our competitors. It’s important that clients know and trust who they are dealing with and we take great pride in the service we deliver.
Our clients also benefit from our market influence, our expertise and our access to all major insurers and Lloyd’s syndicates. That means we can get the best terms for our clients by understanding their specific requirements, lifestyle and attitude to risk. We are chartered brokers and that means customers can be confident that we’re fully qualified and reassured that we have the expertise to meet their expectations.
You’ll really appreciate the expertise of a good broker when something goes wrong and you can be confident you have the appropriate policy cover to help rebuild your home, repair your classic car or replace a stolen diamond ring.
Are some high-net-worth individuals unknowingly exposing themselves to risks?
Unfortunately, yes. In its most basic terms, an insurance policy is a promise to pay if certain events happen. In the unfortunate event of a claim, you’ll greatly appreciate the services of a good broker who made sure you had the right policy in place to ensure you receive a swift and fair settlement. There are unique considerations with high net worth individuals and so standard insurance policies are simply not fit for purpose.
You could have unusual travel patterns, multiple residences or high value collections in art or classic cars. If these considerations are not reflected in the policies taken then it can lead to big gaps in cover. For example, a standard policy would not cover an overseas property that is vacant for a number of months or designer suitcases that are worth thousands of pounds. The absolute worst case scenario for any individual would be the kidnapping of a family member. We even have specialists who provide Kidnap and Ransom Cover who would expertly intervene to get a loved one home safely.
A less serious, but more common situation is men mistakenly undervaluing the contents of their wardrobe. Growth in the menswear market is outpacing womenswear! In the event of a total loss, they greatly misjudge the cost of replacing all the items of clothing they have accrued. Men are more likely than women to underestimate the value of their wardrobe, often by as much as 150%.
An experienced broker will be aware of issues like this and direct you to an insurer that has the expertise to accurately appraise all of your belongings. Most insurers we work with also offer a free appraisal service for your home and contents and advise on security and risk management.
Many people aren’t aware of the significant gaps in their policies until something goes wrong and that can be devastating. It is incredibly important to take out policies that are tailor-made to your needs and lifestyle choices. The specifics of a person’s lifestyle vary hugely and only a bespoke service can identify potential risks and protect that individual, their family, their belongings and their valuable assets.
Can you explain the process of engaging a BBi specialist as a broker from first contact to making a claim?
Our personal approach to service is central to everything we do. Initially you will get to know your account manager and their team. When first contacted, your account manager will ask various questions regarding your property along with details of your existing cover and claims experience.
This appraisal stage is very important. We will gather all relevant information to ensure we have a thorough understanding of your insurance needs and lifestyle. At that point, we prefer to visit you at home to explain the basis of the cover and to fully review your insurance requirements. This often leads to re-quoting of the risk, after which we will then provide you with various choices and options. We will then research the market to obtain various premium indications and present the best options of cover to you. Once we have connected you with the appropriate providers, they will issue you with your policy documents.
When something unexpected happens and you need advice and support in making a claim, clients can call us. We can advise on any emergency action that needs to be taken and explain the claims process. For example; you have a policy that covers a valuable diamond ring and it goes missing. The client calls us and we gather information on the circumstances of the loss. Was it stolen? Lost in the garden? If it’s stolen you need to call the police and report that. With each incident, we will support our clients. We will explain the information you need to present to the insurer and guide you through the entire claims process, from reporting the incident to receiving a swift and fair settlement.
What can high net worth insurance cover?
At BBi, we are a true intermediary and will facilitate every type of insurance. We have a broad range of expertise and links with specialist insurance providers such as for aviation insurance.
High net worth insurance can cover a multitude of things including, but not limited to, the following specialisms: Worldwide All Risks Cover for contents and jewellery, buildings/estates, multiple locations, cars (including classic cars, supercars or/and collections), agreed value for art jewellery and collections, kidnap and ransom cover, warranty free policies, portfolio approach (one policy/renewal date), guaranteed to rebuild your home, unusual or rare collections, travel, yachts/boats, pets and non-standard risks like listed buildings.
How will Brexit affect a client’s portfolio?
The effect of Brexit on clients will vary considerably, depending on individual circumstances. Clients with UK-only exposures may only see some adjustment to their travel sections of coverage. Clients that own holiday homes in other EU countries may face other issues.
BBi will have a solution to Brexit for our clients. Our office in Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and is passported into all other EU countries. This means that we can seamlessly handle all EU exposures for our clients.
What about the small print?
Insurance is a highly regulated industry and that is to protect customers. Complex policy documents can be confusing. It’s our job as expert insurance brokers to simplify things and make things personal to your life circumstances. We are open and transparent in everything we do.
For example, standard household policies often have an alarm ‘warranty’ which means that your home is only insured if the alarm has been activated. This doesn’t allow for the odd day you rush out of the house and forget to set the alarm or when your staff can’t remember the code to set it! We can arrange for ‘warranty free’ cover, not just in household insurance, but in other policies too. We deal with insurance for real life which also allows for human error.
What does the future hold for BBi?
BBi will continue to evolve, always striving to do things better and anticipate future trends and our customers’ needs. Our specialists monitor changing trends both sociologically and technologically. We keep a close eye on cyber risks and the security and safety issues clients may face as we move towards ‘smart homes’ with greater connectivity to our handheld devices but also greater security challenges. The integrated use of digital technology, data and AI has presented us with the opportunity to further improve our customer service and their experience with us.
Most importantly, we will continue to provide the best level of service and expertise to our clients and offer competitive insurance solutions. We already boast half a century’s experience in this industry and we look forward to successfully competing in this market for many more decades.
We’re grateful to our existing clients for choosing us as their expert brokers. We would also welcome the opportunity to serve new clients. I invite prospective clients to contact our specialist high-net-worth account managers and I am confident our service will not just meet but exceed their expectations.