Canadian Underwriter

Paid Around the World

April 18, 2023   by Brooke Smith

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With travel returning to pre-pandemic levels and Canadians starting to feel comfortable among others again, many of your high net worth (HNW) clients will be jet-setting once again.

While an umbrella insurance policy will cover your client while they’re travelling internationally, you’ll want to ensure they schedule the items they’re bringing along.

“It’s a good idea to make sure [an item’s] insured correctly because…things can get lost, misplaced,” says Joshua Elo, Assistant Vice-President of Ovation with Aviva Canada. “Say you’re staying somewhere…even very, very nice. Sometimes break-ins happen. So you want to make sure it’s insured correctly so that if it does go missing when you’re in another country, you still have coverage for it.”

Consider jewellery. Your client will have a jewellery schedule for everyday pieces they wear and keep in their home; for example, an engagement ring. “If you have a $1-million engagement ring, having it properly scheduled on your policy will cover you as you travel.”

The difference occurs when the client wants to bring along those really special pieces — those they keep in a safety deposit box, for example. These pieces are typically scheduled at a different rate, says Elo, because they’re less likely of a risk.

“That doesn’t mean [the client] can never access it or wear it, but there may or may not be different notification requirements.” For example, maybe the special piece can be out for only a certain amount of time, before the insurance company recognizes it as an everyday piece. “Because, at some point, there has to be a definition of how many days or hours it can be away from [the safety deposit box],” says Elo. “But it will be covered internationally regardless.”

If your client is taking along a piece of jewellery from their safety deposit box when they’re travelling overseas, they need inform you, their broker, to ensure their coverage allows them to do that.

Of course, clients bring some treasures with them when they travel, but it’s also likely they’ll purchase treasures.

“What about items you purchase overseas?” says Elo. “What happens if you purchase a fine arts piece while you’re in Europe or in the States?” Clients will need insurance for the piece, and for the shipment of it.

“That’s exactly what these clients do,” says Elo. “They may go overseas, into the States, or different provinces and need to ship back a new high-end painting they just purchased.”

Again, that broker conversation is key, as some brokers may be limited with the insurance carriers that can schedule an item and offer the coverage while the item is still overseas.

The main thing for your clients to clarify with you, their broker, is around what flexibility they have,” says Elo. Changes in coverage might occur, for example, if the client is travelling for six months, leaving their home vacant, and storing their vehicles.