Wealth checks reveal affluent are under-insured by millions

Article date: 20 June 2006

Millions of UK homeowners could be under-valuing possessions andfamily heirlooms by tens of thousands of pounds according to newfigures released today.

Norwich Union has carried out a series of “wealthchecks” on their high net-worth customers. An investigationof 100 customers* revealed they were under-insured by a total of£8.5 million and the average customer under-insured by £85,000.

One wealth check revealed a home owner had under-valued theirfine arts and antiques by a massive £1.4 million.

The wealth checks are a unique service offered free to selectedcustomers of Norwich Union’s ‘Tapestry’ product.They are carried out by professional independent valuers, QuastelAssociates.

Based on the wealth check findings, Norwich Union has compiled alist of top ten under-insured valuable contents.

  1. Clothing & personal effects (like designer glasses andgolf clubs)
  2. Antiques
  3. Curtains, carpets and soft furnishings
  4. Collections (including wine & stamps)
  5. Glassware and ceramics
  6. Original works of art
  7. Light fittings, including chandeliers
  8. Inherited items, especially furniture and pictures
  9. Christmas decorations
  10. Pictures and picture frames (which are sometimes worth morethan the pictures they frame)

Norwich Union’s ‘Tapestry’ home insurancepolicy was developed for Britain’s estimated 6 million** highnet worth (HNW) population, after concluding that these customersneeded something special and bespoke to suit their individualneeds.

A typical HNW customer would have £125,000 in home contents,half a million pounds-worth of buildings cover plus £50,000 worthof fine art and jewellery. But plenty more people could benefitfrom this policy as the current entry level is £75,000 worth ofcontents or £250,000 buildings cover.

The wealth checks are offered free to customers when theunderwriters believe there’s a strong likelihood ofunder-insurance or where a valued customer knows they needprofessional help to value their contents and their premium is over£1000.

Nigel Wembridge, Norwich Union’s Tapestry underwritingmanager, said:
“The wealth checks reveal that the average affluent client isunder-insuring their possessions by nearly 70 per cent.

“The wealth checks mean that the client can be properlyinsured for the correct amount and, in the event of a claim,receive the true value for their possessions. It also means thatNorwich Union is able to price the policy more expertly knowingexactly what kind of contents they own.

“It comes as quite a shock to most people to know thatnormally fine art and antiques are priced at least 25% cheaper thangeneral contents and in high theft areas are often more than 50%cheaper.”
 
John Weallans, chartered arts and antiques surveyor from QuastelAssociates, said: “When we walk into a client’s houseto undertake an insurance wealth check it can sometimes end up likea scene from the Antiques Roadshow. People get quite excited whenwe reveal the value of some of the finer things they own. We lookat everything from books to garden furniture. Often they have noidea how much that simple oak table they’ve had for decadeshas increased in value or how much all those shoes and suits in thewardrobe are really worth.”

-ends-

For further information, please contact:
Rebecca Holmes at Norwich Union on 01603 354346/07800 690731
Emilie Lien at Lexis PR on 020 7908 6421 elien@lexispr.com

Notes to editors
*The wealth check figurescome from an average sample of 100 wealth checks carried outbetween June 2005 and January 2006 by Quastel Associates on behalfof Norwich Union.

**Six million is estimated number of the population who would beeligible for a Norwich Union High Net Worth policy. That iscalculated by number of people estimated to have liquid assets of£30,000 or above. This figure is expected to rise to over 7m by2008.
Source: Datamonitor

About Tapestry

  • Dedicated underwriters and claims teams
  • Normally warranty free - No alarm or locks endorsementsinsisting when and how they are used.
  • Home emergency cover
  • High single article limits – before items need to bespecified or require a valuation
  • Identity fraud cover
  • Students personal possessions covered at University £5,000 perperson
  • Specialist fine art cover

About Norwich Union Insurance

  • Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer with a market shareof around 14 per cent
  • With a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses, Norwich Union insures:
    - one in five households
    - one in seven motor vehicles
    - around 800,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies and Norwich Union Direct.
  • Aviva, Norwich Union’s parent company, announced itsacquisition of the RAC in 2005.  The acquisition bringstogether the RAC's powerful brand and customer base with theexpertise of Norwich Union Insurance – a market leader inmotor insurance.
  • Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images areavailable on the Aviva internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media.

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