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Obtaining insurance rates for luxury assets just got easier!

By Kurt Thoennessen, CAPI
There are many solutions to insure luxury assets in the insurance market today. This fact makes deciding which one to select overwhelming.

Private Risk Management Association Founding Member Joins InsurTech Revolution with New Digital Client Experience Platform

Ericson Insurance Advisors has launched a new web site that will enable personal insurance buyers to evaluate their coverage and obtain rate information for luxury assets. The site,, adds a new digital offering to Ericson's longstanding model as a leading, boutique provider of personal insurance advisory and brokerage services.

VaporStream will make our communications more secure!

Can I lower the Other Structures coverage limit on my million dollar homeowners policy?

7 Major Pitfalls of High Net Worth Personal Insurance Programs

Can I lower the contents coverage on my million dollar home insurance policy?

It is very common for the contents coverage limit to be higher than what is needed by owners of million dollar homes, and most insurance companies do not allow this limit to be lowered.

What should my deductible be for my million dollar home?

By Kurt Thoennessen, CAPI

The answer to this question depends on your tolerance for risk and how much financial incentive you will receive for taking a higher deductible. The intent of this post is to raise awareness for higher deductible options on your home insurance and to discuss some of the reasons a higher deductible makes sense, specifically for owners of million and multi-million dollar homes.

Claims Happen

Before we talk about deductibles, I would like to discuss the importance of having an insurance policy in place that is structured properly and will respond to losses when needed. Sometimes we lose sight of the real possibility of experiencing a loss and overlook the need to be prepared for them. As a point of reference, I am including several data points from The Insurance Information Institute that provide insight into the frequency of home insurance claims.

Homeowners Insurance Claims Frequency*

  • Homeowners claims related to wind or hail are the most frequent; the costliest are related to fire and lightning.
  • About one in 15 insured homes has a claim each year.
  • About one in 30 insured homes has a property damage claim related to wind or hail each year.
  • About one in 55 insured homes has a property damage claim caused by water damage or freezing each year.
  • About one in 215 insured homes has a property damage claim due to theft each year
  • About one in 265 insured homes has a property damage claim related to fire and lightning.
  • About one in 1,000 homeowners policies has a liability claim related to the cost of lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that the policyholder or family members cause to others.

*Insurance Information Institute calculations, based on ISO®, a Verisk Analytics® business, data for homeowners insurance claims from 2010-2014

Risk Tolerance/Comfort Level

As you begin to ponder your homeowners deductible, it is helpful to understand the types of losses that you may end up paying for out of pocket. The following examples are of claims under $10,000 that my firm has seen on million dollar homes.

  • A basic lightning strike that damages a home's electronics, a pool pump, or other part of the home has incurred a cost of $10,000 or less
  • A small water damage claim, either from a burst pipe, appliance leak, or plumbing backup may fall under $10,000

It is important to remember that million dollar homes may have a lower frequency of loss than smaller homes because of the application of risk mitigation technologies, like centrally monitored alarms, automatic water shutoff valves, and backup generators, that help prevent losses from occurring.  In addition, it is of equal importance that losses to million dollar homes can be more costly to repair, which will help influence claims to exceed deductibles.  It is interesting to note that some home policies will waive the deductible for certain types of losses if a claim exceeds $50,000. This coverage feature is a rare benefit that further demonstrates the value of high deductibles for million dollar homes.

Financial Incentive

Besides determining your comfort level with higher deductibles, the premium credit you receive is also a crucial factor to consider.  Premium reductions vary depending on the home, but the statements below provide a good representation of the premium savings achieved with higher deductibles.  These statements were drawn from a survey of over 600 independent agents and brokers from across the United States about their new high net worth clients who were previously insured with mass-market insurance companies.

  • Increasing the deductible on a $1 million home from $500 to $2,500 could save $900 per year.
  • Increasing the deductible on a $3 million home from $5,000 to $10,000 could save $1,800 per year.

*ACE Private Risk Services White Paper - How High Net Worth Families Overpay to be Underinsured

Deductible Observations

I have worked with owners of million dollar homes for over 10 years, and that experience has provided me with the knowledge about which deductibles were optimal for them. The bullet points below provides a general guide, based on my experience, for the suggested deductibles at the different home replacement cost levels.  

  • For a reconstruction cost between $1,000,000 to $1,500,000, the suggested deductible is $2,500
  • For a reconstruction cost between $1,500,000 to $2,500,000 the suggested deductible is $5,000
  • For a reconstruction cost between $2,500,000 to $3,500,000 the suggested deductible is $10,000
  • For a reconstruction cost between $3,500,000 to $5,000,000 the suggested deductible is $10,000 or $25,000
  • For a reconstruction cost between $5,000,000 to $10,000,000 the suggested deductible is $10,000, 25,000, or $50,000

Having a higher deductible on your home insurance will help reduce your insurance expenditure, and move more of the financial burden from a loss at your home back to you. As you continue to work to find the most advantageous deductible for your million dollar home, please feel free to contact me at

Also, check out to sign up to receive updates about new insurance platform for owners of high value homes and other valuable assets being  launched in early 2017.

Choose the Right Contractor for Home Renovations

2009 through 2014 were difficult times in the construction industry. Times have changed.  What hasn't is the need to choose a contractor carefully.

PRMA Round Tables

PRMA marked it's first birthday with productive sessions among industry peers.  The sessions, held prior to the commencement of the Pure Leadership Forum in Las Vegas, were the beginning of PRMA forming confidential peer groups with a vision to pair members from across the country wisely to share with and support each other.  The roundtable peer discussion groups will be highlighted at the annual PRMA Summit November 2nd and 3rd in Atlanta.   

I had the opportunity to co-faciliate the Roundtable for Agency Owners along with Gil Lai of NFP P&C Private Client Group in Morristown, N.J.  As a group, we took a deep dive into how the structure and operations of an agency can contribute to success in serving HNW clients.  It was a useful and robust discussion to help grow business and improve client retention.

Ride-sharing carries risks for HNW individuals and families

Ride-sharing provided by Transportation Networking Companies (TNC's) carries risks related to High Net Worth (HNW) individuals and their families. Companies like UberX, Lyft and Sidecar are achieving great popularity by promoting creative business models for individuals to use their private passenger vehicles to transport others for a fee. These opportunities are especially popular with younger, well-educated individuals living in urban areas according to a study undertaken by the University of California, Berkley. As these companies grow and service increases, the risks associated with them are becoming clearer. Some of these risks are of particular concern to HNW individuals and their family members who use or provide these services.