’Amidst the cost of living crisis, those who have more to lose are becoming a greater target for criminals,’ says art and private client business director

New research from specialist insurer Ecclesiastical has revealed that one in five crimes experienced by high net worth (HNW) clients over the last 12 months occurred at second homes or holiday homes.

The rise of inflation and cost of living has made HNW clients and their secondary residences vulnerable to criminal activity as extended periods of unoccupancy provide ample opportunities for criminals, said the insurer.

Ecclesiastical’s research also highlighted that a quarter of the surveyed HNW clients responded to their experiences of crime in the past year by increasing the occupancy of their second homes.

Ecclesiastical’s research revealed that, across the last year, more than half of surveyed HNW clients were the victims of a crime.

For its research, the insurer surveyed 257 UK-based HNW individuals between 5 and 12 December 2022.

Sarah Willoughby, art and private client business director at Ecclesiastical, said: “Amidst the cost of living crisis, those who have more to lose are becoming a greater target for criminals.

“Our latest research shows one in five crimes experienced by HNW clients during the past 12 months took place at a second home or holiday home”.

Brokers’ role

Insurance brokers have been urged to speak to HNW clients about how best to protect their homes.

In a statement released last week (17 May 2023), the insurer revealed 42% of surveyed HNW customers were concerned they overshared information online about their home or lifestyle.

And some 46% were worried friends and family could be oversharing information about them.

Ecclesiastical warned that social media activity could provide criminal gangs with clear patterns and routines and urged brokers to speak to clients about the risks of too much information being online.

The insurer urged brokers to follow its new guidance to help HNW clients minimise the risk of being targeted by criminals.

Willoughby commented: “Brokers play an important role in helping HNW clients understand the risks they are facing and in ensuring they have the right cover in place.

“We hope our new guidance will help brokers speak to their clients about how they can best protect themselves.”