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Ask the Expert Q&A: Private Client Insurance

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Featured Solutions: High-Value Solutions (Personal)

From professional athletes to corporate executives, high-net-worth individuals require a specialized approach to risk management and insurance. To learn more about Private Client Insurance, Crain’s Content Studio spoke with Sarah Chandonnet, Manager, Private Client, Burns & Wilcox, Detroit/Farmington Hills, Michigan.

What type of clientele are you seeing in the Private Client Insurance space?

S.C.: The type of clientele we are seeing in our space ranges from high-profile entertainers to professional athletes, attorneys, doctors, or CEOs. They usually work with a business manager or family office risk manager to handle their financial aspects. These are extremely well-managed individuals who take their risk management and their insurance very seriously.

What are some of the greatest risks these individuals face, and what should they be aware of relative to these risks? 

S.C.: Property damage and large liability exposures are among the greatest risks. We see very high-valued properties in California to Florida and other coastal areas where they may have primary or secondary residences. Many of our clients today are active on social media and there is a huge liability exposure with that. They also may collect luxury items such as cars or jewelry.  Some also live in areas with high exposure to hurricanes, flood or wildfire.

What kinds of insurance policies can help individuals respond to these threats?

S.C.: With Private Client Insurance, we typically write all lines of business for that client. This could include Homeowners Insurance, Personal Umbrella Insurance with personal injury coverage, Excess Flood Insurance, Personal Inland Marine Insurance, and more. We try to cover all exposures. Whether it is purchasing a new home or adding a new piece of jewelry, it’s important that it is properly insured.

What steps should individuals take to complement their insurance coverage from a prevention standpoint?

S.C.: Investing in water monitoring and shutoff devices, hurricane windows and shutters and wildfire protection for their homes, as well as monitored alarms, sprinkler devices, and home safes for jewelry and other valuables. In many cases, their risk managers maintain their risk portfolio and public profile. How they represent themselves — including a clean social media presence — is also very important, especially in a hard insurance market. Insurance carriers are becoming extremely selective, and they are always underwriting the individual first and then the actual property.

Why have your Private Client Insurance brokers had such success?

S.C.: Most of our brokers have known their clients for over 20 years. They have helped catalog their assets and reviewed their policies at length yearly, making recommendations on their clients’ behalf to get the broadest coverage possible. They advocate for their clients, and they are also part of a well-managed, reputable broker that partners with the Burns & Wilcox Private Client Practice to leverage and negotiate the best terms with top markets and carriers.  Providing niche expertise in the private client space is extremely important, which all of our brokers have.

What are the greatest opportunities for brokers to get into Private Client Insurance?

S.C.: Educating yourself on the industry, building expertise and having strong relationships and partnerships are all extremely important.

What advice would you give brokers to increase their success rates with these products?

S.C.: Partner with the right wholesaler and carriers. Know their products and study the policy forms. Become familiar with your clients and their existing policies and try to make them better. It is not just about discussing the account — you’re providing perspective on risk mitigation, rates, and how that risk mitigation is going to benefit the client in the long run, especially with highly selective carriers right now. Brokers in the Private Client Insurance space have more success when they have strong relationships.

What advice would you give brokers on targeting people to sell this coverage to?

S.C.: The ideal client is the well-managed individual that takes risk mitigation seriously, works with a business manager, and takes the proper precautions with their home. Most of these items that we are insuring for these clients are their pride and joy. You want to make sure the client’s property and their items reflect pride of ownership.


Private Client Insurance

Why your clients might need it: If standard auto and home policies are not sufficient to cover all exposures for high-net-worth individuals. 

Protects against: Property damage and large liability exposures, including what they share on social media.

Expert opinion: “It is not just about discussing the account — you’re providing perspective on risk mitigation, rates, and how that risk mitigation is going to benefit the client in the long run, especially with highly selective carriers right now.”

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Ask the Expert Q&A: Private Client Insurance

High-Value Solutions (Personal)

In the ever-growing affluent market, your high-net-worth clients require specialty coverage from a provider with a deep and wide-ranging knowledge of this complex terrain.    

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