HUB's Anthea McFarland on supporting the unique needs of HNW clients

Advice-based, white-glove service is table stakes in this market

HUB's Anthea McFarland on supporting the unique needs of HNW clients

Insurance News

By Bethan Moorcraft

This article was produced in partnership with Intact Insurance.

Bethan Moorcraft of Insurance Business sat down with France St-Louis, Senior Vice President, Intact Prestige, and Anthea McFarland, SVP, Personal Insurance, HUB International, to discuss the state of the high-net-worth market in Canada and how to support the unique needs of private clients.

High-net-worth (HNW) clients have unique risk profiles. From irreplaceable art collections to high-end home equipment, watercraft, or other precious valuables, HNW clients expect one-of-a-kind insurance solutions and white-glove service to meet their special needs.

The Canadian HNW insurance market is rich with options, according to Anthea McFarland (pictured, left), SVP, Personal Insurance, HUB International. “Our insurers are very open for new business, they work well with us, and they’re open to new ideas and new product offerings.”

Intact Insurance entered the HNW market in 2019 after the acquisition of The Guarantee Company of North America (GCNA). Together, they formed a new brand – Intact Prestige. 

“We’re very proud to be part of the HNW market,” said France St-Louis (pictured, right), SVP, Intact Prestige. “It’s a very specialized market, with unique needs. We work with brokers that really understand the market, and together, we’re able to deliver on the specific needs of their clients.”

Going above and beyond from risk transfers to claims

Advice-based, white-glove service is table stakes in the HNW market. Some HNW clients like to be heavily involved in the risk transfer process, while others take a more stand-off ‘do it for me’ approach. While HNW clients are typically affluent individuals, that doesn’t mean they’re blasé about their insurance premiums, especially when the economy is turbulent.

“HNW clients are very aware of what they’re spending – and much more so in a tougher economy than they would be in an easier economy,” said McFarland. “We’ve seen more clients wanting to discuss premiums, and many want an annual summary ahead of renewal with different coverage options, limits, and terms, so that they have more choice. We’re shopping the market, and we’re looking for ways to save money for clients, but without sacrificing coverage or service.”

Both McFarland and St-Louis emphasized that success in the HNW marketplace is “all about delighting the clients” through a great customer experience, which revolves around accuracy, efficiency, empathy, and most importantly, value.

“When servicing HNW clients, we can’t offer a one-size-fits-all solution,” said St-Louis. “They have unique needs in terms of what they want to protect, so we need to adapt, we need to be creative, and we need to work closely with our broker partners so that we truly understand the risks and can tailor policies for the clients.”

There’s no greater test for the customer experience than when a policyholder suffers a claim: emotions are high, assets are at stake, and time is of the essence. The expertise that is required to adjust and settle HNW claims is unique because of the nature of the risks and the values involved. HNW insurers, like Intact Prestige, typically have a dedicated claims unit, and will often seek out specialist help when handling complex claims.

“When a HNW client with fine art or a jewelry collection suffers a loss, they need their adjuster to understand the art, the artist, and what their valuables mean to them,” explained McFarland. “They want to be assured that their adjuster has the expertise to handle their claim appropriately, which might mean that the insurer pulls in a fine art expert, for example, to help settle the claim.”

Brokers and insurers work together to meet the unique needs of this market

Strong partnership between brokers and insurers is critical when supporting the unique needs of private clients. McFarland is looking for the following from her carrier partners: “Expertise, personally assigned service, accurate prompt service, a stellar claims offering, responsiveness, and the ability to offer tailored solutions.”

McFarland added that insurers need to be “fast, forward-thinkers” who have demonstrated the above, and proven to HUB that “they understand brokers’ needs”. She gave the example of Intact Prestige’s recently launched referral program that brokers can use to cross-sell products, at a discounted price, to commercial clients. “They were the first in the market to launch that product, and good on them,” said McFarland. “It’s amazing.”

St-Louis commented: “We fully understand that this is a mutually beneficial relationship. We want to support our broker partners by providing them with tools and solutions that can help them with their growth goals, in retaining their customers, and in developing their skills.”

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