Matthew Ashton

Written by

Matthew Ashton

4 minute read

Updated 9th April 2024

The service, honesty, and expertise on display from a High-Value Home Insurance broker should be genial and refreshing, helping to put a little fun back into what is otherwise a mundane task.

When choosing a high-value home insurance broker, you should expect to receive a high-quality product from the insurer and a high-quality service from the broker. Like two pedals on a bike, product quality and broker service work together to move matters forward. Be intentional about the insurance broker you want to do business with since, like any purchase, a little research will go a long way.

From experience, we believe there are eight important factors to consider when deciding which High-Value Home Insurance broker to work with.

1 | Listen for good advice

Within the wider market context, a high-value home insurance broker should understand the unique risks and coverage requirements associated with high-value properties. The broker should be able to advise and teach about their industry. When interacting with the broker, consider asking a few questions about certain cover limits or the capacity of their products. From how to keep costs down, to installing the correct safe; from knowing the difference between rebuild value and market value to discerning the critical differences between products. Your broker should be able to advise confidently, and that advice should help to secure lower premiums or more suitable terms.

2 | Expect clear communication

Is the broker clear about their communication, and do they keep you informed each step of the way? Does the broker continually use jargon words or are they careful to ensure communication is clear and concise?

Mastery of a subject is discerned by the clarity of the communication. One of the broker’s primary skills is ‘wordsmithing’. This is the art of clearly communicating with clients, underwriters, and third-party organisations to solve a problem. Far too often, a broker is unable to secure favourable terms for a client because they did not communicate the risk to the underwriter.

3 | Look for a good reputation, not perfection

Research the broker’s reputation in the industry. Look for online reviews, testimonials, articles, and references from clients who have used their services. No broker is perfect, so look for the one-star reviews and see how the broker responded (be wary of him, who everyone speaks well of!). But don’t expect perfection from a broker because this would set them up for failure. Yes, you’re paying a larger than usual premium for your insurance and should expect a much higher level of service, but to err is human.

4 | Discover the range of products they have to offer

When you contact a broker, ask them which products are on their panel. Compare this against your current broker. Are they similar or different? Ideally, the broker would have thought out their panel strategy and be able to offer a concise review on the phone. Importantly, if you solicit the services of a new broker, then discern if their panel is like that of your current broker.

It could be that your current broker has gone to many of the markets you’re requesting from a new broker. We’d expect a good, high-value home insurance broker to have many product options.

5 | Observe the attitude towards claims handling

In the unfortunate event of a claim, the broker’s role becomes crucial. Inquire about their claims process, responsiveness, and ability to advocate on your behalf. As the broker, how do they get involved when making a claim? Don’t be afraid to ask this question. Be wary of a broker who wants to check out when a claim happens.

6 | Find out about the operational setup

How do the brokers organise themselves when it comes to mid-term adjustments, renewals, cancellations, and claims? Ask them if you’d get an assigned account manager or will a team handle the policy. Fundamentally there are two common setups: (1) Account manager set up where every client is assigned a skilled person who manages each client personally, or (2) Team set up where the team is split into admin and dialing roles and a client is assigned to a team. Each setup has advantages and disadvantages. There’s no right or wrong setup, instead, pick your preference.

7 | Greet a good sense of humour

There should be some laughs along the way. The broker’s primary role is to ensure you are covered as needed, but let’s be honest, insurance is not the most pleasant task (spending money on insurance does not tend to release the same levels of serotonin as other significant purchases). We think it’s important to enjoy the process of arranging high-value home insurance. Do business with people you enjoy (and trust)!

8 | Anticipate a defined set of Values and Purpose

Finally, see if you can discern why the broker does the work they do. Are these easily identifiable and do you agree with them? People don’t tend to buy what you do but why you do it. There should be something in the engine room driving the business forward. Like any business, a broker will have their ups and downs. A clear set of guiding principles will ensure consistency and stability in all seasons.

The above is not an exhaustive list; it is just a starter for ten. Many fantastic people work for some brilliant High-Value Home Insurance brokers in the UK. Do some research and find the right broker for you and your family.

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Written by Matthew Ashton

I started working in the insurance industry in 2004. Four years later, I left to focus on theological studies, working as a youth worker and then as a ministry director in Seattle, USA. When returning to the UK, I had an opportunity to work for the late Andrew Marchington. I joined his firm as a sales advisor when it had around ten staff members. Within three years, I was Head of Ops with a staff team of over 30 people. After a chance encounter in 2019 with Rachel Living and Will Cooper, I co-started Stanhope to build a high-value home, luxury watch, and jewellery broker synonymous with trust. I love being with Donna, my wife, and four kids when not working, cramming in the odd row, or run when I can. I am fortunate to love what I do and consider it a blessing to grow the Stanhope brand.

Matthew Ashton

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