Hiscox's pioneering 606 home insurance is 25 years old this year. As the first Lloyd's home insurance product developed exclusively for the high net worth market and the first to 'do away' with many of the exclusions, restrictions, and baffling insurance language that were a feature of many Lloyd's policies, we're marking the occasion with a series of blogs from Hiscox employees who have been involved with 606 over the years.
In the first, Ross Dingwall, Managing Director of Hiscox UK and Ireland Broker Channel, explains what he thinks sets 606 apart and why the insurance industry must not lose the opportunity to attract a new generation of high net worths.
Twenty five years ago, when Hiscox 606 was launched, I was already a year into my first insurance job in Glasgow as an assistant underwriter. As a callow 18 year old, I remember the particular highlight of 1990 was securing tickets to the football World Cup in Italy. Scotland suffered a glorious 1-0 defeat to Brazil...but we did beat Sweden!
Ten years later I joined Hiscox and started underwriting our 606 product in the high net worth sector. What stands out for me is the customer satisfaction with 606. In previous companies, I'd been used to dealing with broker complaints about particular products as a result of poor service, or claims not paid. While working as a frontline underwriter for five years at Hiscox, I can barely recall a complaint from a 606 customer or broker. That speaks volumes about the quality of the product and the service we deliver.
As the first to launch a high net worth household insurance product, we've seen an acceleration of new entrants into the market. Despite that, and considering the impact technology has had elsewhere across the high net worth market, the delivery of the service has not really changed; there is not enough technology and paper still rules. That said, what our clients want from us hasn’t really changed either. Just like they did 25 years ago, our clients value flexibility, simplicity and great service.
There is now a huge, untapped market
However, the profile of the high net worth customer has changed. The younger high net worths are more likely to spend their money on cars, jewellery and electronic gadgets than the 'older money' customer profile. What this means is that there is now a huge untapped market. We estimate that there are 500,000 high net worths in the UK, with only 100,000 of those purchasing specialist insurance via a broker. The big challenge is how we, as an industry, tap into that possible market of 400,000 who are either going direct or are underinsured.
Get that right and in another 25 years I still expect Hiscox 606 to be going strong. The product will evolve of course and we’re likely to see a move towards insuring individuals for all their needs rather than individual policies, but the service ethos and founding principles of 606 will always stay the same.