As wedding costs soar, Agile relaunches online coverage

Covers cancellations, lost deposits, supplier failure and more

As wedding costs soar, Agile relaunches online coverage

Insurance News

By Daniel Wood

The days of a groom suffering intense anxiety around possibly losing his bride’s diamond wedding ring could be numbered. Agile Underwriting Service’s online wedding insurance covers a lost ring.

“Up to seven days prior, if you’ve lost your wedding ring, we will cover the wedding ring up to a certain amount,” said Ben Webster (pictured), the Sydney-headquartered agency’s co-founder and technology head.

Webster said the amount can be up to $10,000. There are also additional covers for wedding attire, gifts, transport and any accidental damage to hired equipment. “But the main reason that couples are buying it is to cover cancellations, lost deposits and supplier failure,” he said.

Liability is another driver, said Webster, including third party damage and accidental damage to equipment as well as personal injury.

Relaunched after a COVID-19 enforced hiatus

Agile has relaunched its online wedding insurance after a two-year hiatus forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The offering covers nuptials in Australia and also destination weddings in nearly 40 countries.

Webster said the pandemic forced them to change their coverage wordings but has also pushed more Australians towards seeking insurance for their big day.

“The wedding industry was hit really hard by the pandemic and lots of customers lost deposits and they had to reschedule their weddings and they weren’t covered,” said Webster. “As a result, there’s now a growing awareness that somethings might happen.”

There’s also a growing awareness of how expensive weddings have become and – ipso facto – how costly to cancel without insurance coverage. Webster said figures show that the average cost of Australian nuptials is now more than $50,000.

However, during the pandemic, Agile honoured claims from cancelled weddings.

“On the previous [wedding] product during COVID we paid out a lot in claims,” he said. “We had a lot of satisfied customers in terms of what we paid out and it was a big number.”

The newly released wedding offering has a general exclusion covering pandemics and, said Webster, is completely revamped. For the first time, he said, Agile worked on the binder with the agency HDI Global Speciality. They plan to release the product in new countries as COVID conditions improve.

Coverage in Australia and for destination weddings

Webster said it wasn’t difficult to adapt the product to different wedding destinations.

“No, it wasn’t hard,” he said. “With the exception of the liability cover the coverage is limited.”

He said $75,000 is the maximum payout for a cancelled wedding and with other coverages also limited, calculating exposures was “fairly straightforward.”

He said the only thing different about purchasing the cover for a wedding in Australia versus overseas: an international wedding won’t be offered third party liability.

“But you can choose a range of options for cancellation so you don’t have to choose $75,000, you can have $8,000 of cancellation if your wedding is a cheaper wedding and the price is cheaper based on that,” said Webster.

He said the offering is likely the only direct wedding insurance product in market in Australia. “It’s a product that does really well in the UK but there has been a lack of it here,” said Webster.

He said other available local coverage typically insures larger weddings through an event contingency or an event cancellation policy purchased through a broker. “But those policies have not necessarily been designed specifically for weddings,” he said.

Webster gave details of a recent claim when a wedding’s mobile bar service failed to turn up because their van broke down.

“The customer had to go and buy a bunch of alcohol to serve at the wedding and we covered that and we covered the difference in the cost because it was much more expensive to go and do that,” he said.

The product can be bought directly online, through wedding venues and brokers.

According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, despite the doubling of Australia’s population since the early 1970s, the number of marriages registered each year has not increased. The Institute said the number has fluctuated between 100,000 and 120,000 each year.

“The fall in the marriage rate over the last half century has been influenced by a range of demographic and social changes,” said the Institute.

The changes, said the article, included increasing numbers of Australians pursuing education beyond Year 12, increased labour force participation from women and the availability of the pill.

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