’We are staffed up because it’s not an option to not pick up the phone,’ says managing director

Insurer Aviva is “focused on claims service” within its high net worth (HNW) business – Aviva Private Clients – according to Ann Owen, the division’s managing director.

Speaking exclusively to Insurance Times, Owen emphasises that offering a high quality claims service is a vital component of Aviva Private Clients’ operations.

She explains: ”We sell a promise to our customers, so we [must] deliver that promise when there is a loss. That is why we are focused on claims service.”

This commitment is especially pertinent because ”the number of claims people per policy is higher in the HNW world is significantly higher than in the personal lines sector [overall]”, Owen adds.

People driven

Underpinning Aviva Private Clients’ claims service are “the people who are giving that absolute personal service”.

Owen continues: “The Aviva Private Clients team is a bespoke, independent team solely working on [HNW] claims. At Aviva, we understand that no two HNW claims are the same.

“The Aviva Private Clients’ team is made up of some of the most experienced HNW and ultra HNW claims adjusters in the UK insurance market, with over 150 years of combined experience between them.

“This enables the team to recognise a complex claim at an early stage and proactively appoint appropriate resources to deliver a seamless claims service.

 “We are staffed up because it’s not an option to not pick up the phone.”

For Owen, the complexity and uniqueness of HNW claims means that being a pair of ”safe hands” throughout the claims process is imperative.

She says: “[Aviva] elevates itself by having one person that [the client] speaks to at every step of the way. Some claims can be very complicated and go on [for a number of years].

”For instance, an escape of water claim in a new build HNW property will present different intricacies to a claim for the same type of peril in a listed building.”

Theft risk

Although some individuals in the industry may assume that market trends such as high inflation and the cost of living crisis are not impacting HNW customers, Owen says the opposite is true and that the HNW sector “does not sit outside of the challenges that the insurance industry is [facing]”.

For example, the spike in theft driven by the rising cost of living is leading to HNW customers being more “vulnerable” than ever.

A Freedom of Information Act request by Watchfinder and Co in 2023 found that watch-related theft and loss had surged in the UK, with the value of stolen luxury watches reaching £1.5bn. 

Agreeing with this finding, Aviva revealed in February 2024 that its own claims data from 2022 and 2023 confirmed that customers being mugged for expensive watches or the opportunistic theft of jewellery from cars rose by 43% over the reporting period.

Owen continues: “Common HNW and ultra HNW claims are similar to what you would see in a more general market, such as accidental loss, theft and damage of expensive or sentimental jewellery and watches, escape of water in the home and car accidents or theft.

“However, the cost associated with the claim will be significantly higher due to clients owning items such as luxury watches, bags and cars, as well as having higher value homes.”