Helping Affluent Clients Understand the Risk Management Landscape

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What You Need to Know

High-net-worth people may have houses, boats and online accounts.
They travel.
Insurers are nervous about the threats they face.

Affluent individuals with substantial assets face a myriad of challenges that demand a reevaluation of their risk management strategies in 2024.

For example, just 16% of high-net-worth parties polled in HUB’s 2024 Outlook Survey have recently revised their risk management procedures, which highlights the prevalent lack of the adjustments that need to be made by clients in this demographic group.

The increase in highly damaging weather events, economic uncertainty, interest rates and cyberthreats has pushed up the cost of personal insurance and restricted coverage availability.

Premiums are on the rise, coverage limits are dwindling, and insurers are imposing stricter conditions on policies, posing formidable obstacles to wealth preservation.

For a more secure 2024, financial advisors should advise affluent individuals and their families to implement proactive strategies to safeguard their homes, assets, personal data, reputation and financial well-being.

Discussing those concerns must be part of any credible holistic planning effort.

It’s important to craft a customized strategy that ensures the protection of your clients’ properties and assets while enhancing resilience, whether your help clients set up the arrangements or refer them to outside brokers.

Here are four initial guidelines to follow when advising HNW clients.

1. Strengthen your threat response to lifestyle risks.

We are seeing personal lines risk management policies evolve to take into account more than just the protection of physical items.

However, many general policies often still fall short in covering business, philanthropic and lifestyle activities.

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Cybersecurity is continuing to emerge as a critical concern, with a quarter of affluent families experiencing cyberattacks in the past two years.

Less than one-third of families surveyed in the HUB report believe they have adequately shielded themselves from cyberthreats, prompting insurers to demand more stringent cybersecurity measures, including multifactor authentication, professional security scans and fortified payment processing systems.

Additionally, lifestyle choices significantly influence risks, notably in travel behaviors.

This consideration is perhaps even most important when we think about risk management.

Lifestyle-related risks can put many folks in a dangerous spot, and they may not be adequately covered.

For example, despite a strong rebound in luxury and adventure travel post COVID, more than half of survey respondents lack a risk mitigation protocol for travel. Only 13% buy kidnap and ransom policies.

Advise your HNW travelers, especially those who frequent remote locales, to scrutinize coverage limits in travel insurance, assess protection offered by credit card issuers and address potential coverage gaps.

2. Protect assets by prioritizing mitigation.

Fewer than 8% of affluent families surveyed by HUB recognize natural disasters, liability risks or water damage as threats to their financial stability, and recent trends paint a concerning picture.

The United States witnessed a staggering 25 weather events causing over $1 billion in losses for each catastrophe from the start of 2023 through the first week of November, setting a new record.

At the same time, personal injury liability payments soared, propelled by social inflation amplifying litigation and settlements.

Destructive weather events and instances of vandalism have specifically impacted insurance costs for art collections and the expenses associated with insuring watercraft, ATVs, motorcycles and similar vehicles.

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The repercussions are felt even more so in states such as California and Florida, known for catastrophic events and sought-after destinations for second homes.

In response, several insurers have withdrawn from these markets, exacerbating the challenge of obtaining adequate coverage.

Whether at the direction of their policy or not, high-net-worth homeowners should take steps to fortify their properties and possessions.

These range from securing roofs with hurricane straps and clearing wildfire-prone areas to regulating where yachts can dock.