Following increased Range Rover thefts, HNW insurers have put the brakes on their risk appetite for policies covering these cars – this could ultimately impact brokers retaining their clients, however
By editor Katie Scott
High net worth (HNW) brokers attending Insurance Times’ BrokerFest 2023 conference on 23 February unanimously agreed that insurers operating in this part of the market must work more closely with brokers in order to facilitate cover for Range Rover vehicles – especially those parked in London.
According to Paul Huntley, managing director of private clients at PIB Insurance Brokers, the current situation around sourcing insurance for HNW clients that own car manufacturer Land Rover’s Range Rover vehicle is “difficult” and “a nightmare”.
This is because of the uptick in thefts, particularly across the capital.
A freedom of information request by car leasing organisation Rivervale Leasing to government agency the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) - published in November 2022 - found that between 1 November 2021 and 28 October 2022, 5,209 Range Rovers were reported as stolen.
This compares to 3,754 Range Rovers that were reported as stolen in the prior year, meaning that thefts of Range Rovers grew by 39% year-on-year - equivalent to 1,455 vehicles.
The data further showed that Land Rover Discovery owners were also likely theft targets – 1,778 of these cars were reported as stolen between 1 November 2021 and 28 October 2022. Based on 10,000 cars on the road, 77 Land Rover Discoveries were stolen last year.
Land Rover Discovery thefts rose by 518 vehicles between 2021 and 2022.
More recent data from the DVLA that was published exclusively by This Is Money on 15 February 2023 confirmed these trends.
This identified Range Rovers as the second most likely vehicle to be stolen, with the number of reported thefts of this car type increasing by 47.4% between 2021 and 2022. This equates to 5,533 Range Rovers stolen last year compared to 3,754 in 2021.
This Is Money further reported that Land Rover Discovery thefts had also increased by 52.4% year-on-year.
This unfortunate trajectory is having a big impact on the HNW market, Anthony Casali, private client manager for north west London at Clear Insurance Management, told BrokerFest 2023 delegates.
He explained: “The majority of the [HNW] market, especially in London, [is] pulling cover.
“If we’re approached [to find cover] for a Range Rover, we’re having to say ‘thanks, but no thanks’ and direct [the customer] to a direct insurer [that] we know will [provide cover] – but believe me, [the customer] will pay a price for it.
“The technology that these criminal gangs have got is phenomenal. They’ll have a Range Rover away in a minute and even with the best trackers, the advanced driver recognition system, they’re gone.”
He added that HNW insurers will not contemplate insuring a Range Rover “if they’re street parked”. This is “just a massive no” for them, he explained.
This is particularly problematic in London because a lot of “central London properties don’t have garages, a lot of them don’t have [driveways]. The homeowners have to park their cars on the street”.
Huntley agreed with Casali, noting that even commercial fleet insurers that previously provided cover were now ducking out of insuring the Range Rover risk.
“Commercial fleet insurers were quite flexible,” he said. “People were buying Range Rovers, putting them on their company’s fleet and the company’s fleet insurer was being quite flexible with their approach.
“[However,] they’ve now started withdrawing from the market and not covering Range Rovers.”
Despite this lack of insurer appetite, the consensus from both Casali and Huntley is that HNW clients can still obtain cover for their Range Rovers – but they’ll have to pay through the nose for it.
Huntley added that one insurer which is willing to cover Range Rovers parked on certain streets has justified this by upping rates by around 500%. Huntley believes the insurer in question will shortly be withdrawing from this market, however.
Another issue brokers are facing around placing Range Rover insurance for HNW customers is that these vehicles are being siloed from a HNW client’s overall risk portfolio by insurers – yet these same insurers are unwilling to take on the Range Rover risk in isolation.
Casali explained: “A lot of clients have a portfolio, so they have their home and their cars insured under one HNW policy.
“When the insurer says ‘we’ll take the home, we won’t take the Range Rover’ – they’re cherry picking. We’re having to then have difficult conversations [with clients] to say we’re going to have to try and place the car elsewhere.
“That then is a problem because there are no markets. You have to say to the client ‘sorry, we can’t help you with the car’. They are going to potentially engage another broker, so we’re under attack because the current insurer won’t assist.”
Huntley agreed: “Insurers will always say to us ‘we want the portfolio of risk – we want the home, motor, overseas home’, but now they’re saying ‘we’ll have everything [apart] from that one vehicle or two vehicles’.
“They’re all starting to change their stance.”
Greater collaboration needed
In terms of improving this lay of land, Huntley said this will need to involve more active collaboration between HNW insurers, brokers and Land Rover.
Although Huntley doubts Land Rover will take much interest in the insurance issue around Range Rovers until sales figures start being impacted, he does believe that insurers can work “much better” with brokers to provide cover for these vehicles.
For example, crook locks can prevent vehicles being stolen quickly, but Huntley is not seeing insurers endorsing the use of these mitigation tools in policy terms and conditions.
Casali, Huntley and BrokerFest 2023 delegates were united in their perspective that the issue around insurance for Range Rovers will not resolve on its own – action needs to be taken and insurers must show more creativity and flexibility in how they insure these vehicles if brokers, and in turn insurers themselves, are to retain HNW clients.
Casali and Huntley agreed that HNW individuals are not going to stop buying these vehicles any time soon – insurers will have to meet brokers in the middle to avoid a potential protection gap in this marketplace.
Casali and Huntley were speaking during a session entitled What’s happening in the high net worth market? in the product innovation stream at BrokerFest 2023. The session was chaired by Matt Scott, co-founder of Insurance DataLab.