Palaces, jewels, antiquities, great works of art – the Royal Family aren’t short of valuable possessions, all of which really ought to be insured.
In this era of openness, we can see the Prime Minister’s tax return – as well as those of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Leader of the Opposition and the Mayor of London. But discovering who provides pet insurance for the Queen’s corgis or looks after buildings and contents cover for Buckingham Palace isn’t so simple. Buckingham Palace’s press office was in no mood to reveal any details of the Royals’ insurance whatsoever. “That’s not something I can give you guidance on, I’m afraid,” a spokesman told Insurance Business UK
. “I can’t give you that information – it’s commercially sensitive.”
Back in 2014 it was reported that during the Queen and Prince Philip’s visit to Lloyd’s, the monarch’s other half asked Paul Lawrence, Hiscox
’s chief underwriting officer, if the Royal Collection – which includes 40,000 watercolours and 150,000 old-master prints, as well as historical photographs, tapestries, furniture, ceramics, books, and other objects at 13 royal residences and former palaces – ‘was insured against damage by mice’. "For you, everything is covered," Lawrence is said to have replied. Attempts to glean anything further from Hiscox
were met with a polite but firm refusal to comment on anything related to ‘customers past or present’.
Lloyd’s does make reference to its royal links, but it discloses only one historical detail that can possibly be linked directly to a monarch – Queen Victoria. Underwriter Dicky Thornton (1776-1865), described as ‘one of the liveliest sparks ever to write risk at Lloyd’s’, is believed to have insured against the risk of Queen Victoria having twins at her first child bearing. The identity of the policyholder is not revealed.
Meanwhile, David Ashby, MD and principal underwriter at Amlin Plus, the equine insurance specialist, discussed cover for horses with the Queen during that same visit to Lloyd’s in 2014. Amlin too were unforthcoming on the subject.
It seems the Royals’ own reluctance to go public with any information about their relationships with insurers or brokers is nothing new. As far back as 1911, General Accident Fire & Life Assurance Corporation Ltd, now Aviva
, insured so many members of the Royal family that it was granted a Royal warrant, the first – and apparently only – insurance company to be honoured in this way. The warrant was later removed and it was decided Royal warrants could only be held by trades people and not by professions.