Founded over 100 years ago, Hiscox is one of the leading international specialists in high-end insurance. For over a decade now, it has been extending this service to high net worth individuals in Spain as well.
Though its current headquarters are in Hamilton, Bermuda, Hiscox Insurance is a renowned specialist insurer first established in 1901 in London, where it is now a company listed on the London Stock Exchange. Indeed, Ralph Hiscox was appointed as chairman of Lloyd’s in 1967, and in 1970 his son Robert took over the reins at Hiscox.
In the following years the business grew along with its rising reputation as an international expert in high-end insurance, and today it forms part of the FTSE 250 index with revenue of over €2.5 billion.
Fiercely protective of its independent status, the company has fought off take-over bids and remains an undiluted specialist in niche insurance fields that cater to the needs of high net worth individuals not just in the UK but across the world.
The Bermuda office helps facilitate this service, but in addition Hiscox maintains a network of localised operations that offer on-the-ground service and attention on a global scale. It is the reputation of a prestigious London insurer combined with this personal attention that marks Hiscox Insurance stand out as a leader in the luxury insurance segment.
Fields of expertise Though in broad terms this kind of insurance follows some of the same principles as mainstream retail and commercial cover, the specific needs of high net worth clients necessitate a significant degree of focused expertise that is based as much on personal service and consulting as it is on technical know-how and the sound financial foundations of the insurer.
The company’s roots lie in marine insurance, but today one of their main fields of activity includes insuring luxury homes, classic cars, yachts, jewellery, fine art collections and other prized possessions.
“Less common but also included in this category are valuable collections of items such as wine, coins, stamps, antique furniture pieces and historical artefacts,” says Gonzalo de la Puente, Director of Private Estates at Hiscox Insurance’s Spanish operation.
“Our regional headquarters are in Madrid, but we service the main concentrations of wealth in the country, notably Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao, the Balearic Islands, the Costa Blanca and, of course, the Costa del Sol, where Marbella and Sotogrande are the main focus.”
In addition to insuring luxury homes, their contents and private assets, Hiscox Insurance also provides cover for the more unusual types of risk experienced by HNW individuals, such as: kidnap and ransom cover, professional indemnity, hacker cover, political risk insurance and reinsurance.
“We are specialist experts in all these fields, but of course in Spain the main body of our work thankfully focuses more on providing cover for beautiful items such as homes, fine art, jewellery and luxury cars, and Marbella addresses such as La Zagaleta and the Golden Mile are a particular area of activity.”
Unequalled cover Much of Hiscox’s renown is based on a reputation for paying up when its clients need it, and doing so with the ease and discretion expected of a company in this segment of the market.
“In life, it is often not just what you do but how you do it that makes all the difference,” says Gonzalo, whose personal expertise lies in assessing and insuring private estates. “Naturally we cater to the luxury market, but Hiscox is a highly selective company because it isn’t enough merely to be rich.
We investigate potential new clients as we have to be sure that we act in a legal manner at all times and therefore that our clients are legal too.”
The company’s reputation is at stake, but client behaviour with regard to previous claims is also researched as, at the end of the day, all insurance companies owe it to themselves and their clients to properly assess risk. “The reason we pay out so promptly is that we will have ensured that we take on only honest and careful clients and avoid irresponsible risk.
Properly assessing the value of the estate and risk probabilities is another part of this process, and in doing so we tailor the insurance coverage entirely to the client’s needs and also build in travel, security costs and the transportation and/or usage of art, classical vehicles and yachts.”
This, when done properly, allows Gonzalo and his team with the help of specialised insurance brokers to create a tailor-made product and service that not only pays out promptly when you need it, but also provides full support wherever you are. “We call it bespoke specialist insurance.”
Words Michel Cruz