By CYRIL TUOHY, managing editor of Risk & Insurance®
Having built billion-dollar empires despite product, professional and workers' comp liabilities, you'd expect the rich to know exactly where they stand in terms of insuring what they own, and what they want from their insurance policies that protect them personally.
The reality is quite the opposite, said Charlotte Edmonston, a Baton Rouge, La.-based broker with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. She estimates that only one in five high net worth clients are truly savvy about their own insurance programs, and it's often that way by design.
A surprising number of clients say they "don't want to know" anything about their own insurance program: the jewelry, the Ferrari, the kitchen tiles from Tuscany, Edmonston said.
She estimates that as much as 80 percent of the high net worth marketplace just isn't bothered with monitoring their own insurance programs, preferring instead to hire a insurance adviser or broker. A high net worth client would rather spend more time thinking about how to mitigate risks to their company rather than to themselves--how ironic.
Take the professional wrestler and erstwhile actor Hulk Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea. Hogan, whose umbrella policy was inadequate if he carried one at all, Edmonston said, was on the liability hook following an August 2007 car accident in which his son, John Bollea, left passenger John Graziano with brain injuries.
"The claimant sued everybody and now they find out the Hogan has no umbrella policy or one that isn't anywhere near what he really should have had," Edmonston said.
Bollea pleaded no contest to reckless driving, and the suit was settled last year for an undisclosed sum.
April 1, 2011
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