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Jeff Sloan: Welcome to Kapnick Insurance’s, Ask the Expert podcast. This month we are joined by Melissa Matich, who runs the private client practice at Kapnick. Melissa, what exactly is a private client?
Melissa Matich: There are a couple of different ways that a client can be a private client. So, one is if they have their policies–we’re talking personal lines like home, auto, boats–with a high net worth carrier. The second one would be if they’re over a certain premium level. The more they spend, the more likely they have higher value stuff which requires a little more attention.
The third way would be if they’re tied to a really important commercial account of ours, or a very important employee benefits account of ours, we’re going to put them in our private client practice as well. And the fourth one is if there’s the next generation of people or the family office.
Jeff: Typically when I hear about these kind of private client service departments, more typically I’d say wealth management, financial management firm, money management firm.
You don’t so much hear about it at insurance companies. Is this something new?
Melissa: It’s not new. But not all companies have it.
Jeff: So give us some examples. I mean, if I am in that higher echelon of spend with you guys, what are some of the examples you might give of why I need the kind of special attention that you would provide.
Melissa: Sure. So obviously it varies, but if, you know, if you have several homes, if you have collector cars, if you have boats, if you have jet skis, if you just have many more risks than the average person, you need someone that has their eyes on all of it. Because you might not be best suited with one carrier.
We might say, “Hey, you know, your dwelling limit is 20,000. This carrier, they do the best with the high dwelling. But you have these classic cars. We think you’re going to be best over here with Haggerty because this is what they do.”
So, you know, in California, there’s wildfires, right? You need to make sure you have certain protections. Florida homes need flood and hurricane protection. You can’t just have the average homeowner policy.
The other thing is it’s not always about price.
A lot of people–like myself for example–are just probably going to shop on price, right? I want auto and I have one house, you know? The private client has to be a little bit more cognizant of what they really need.
Jeff: And I would imagine it’s more about value and customer service, you know, handholding, good strategic guidance for them. Advice, you know? A lot of times consumers may not even know what we need or that it’s available or even to ask the question about coverage in a certain area. I would imagine is a big factor for them.
Melissa: It’s a big factor.
People work so hard for what they have, and if my whole house were to burn down tomorrow, that is emotional on top of everything else. Getting your money back is just one component of it.
Jeff: How does someone become a new client? Walk us through the process step by step.
Melissa: Yesterday I got a call from a Kapnick towing guy and he’s like, “Hey, I have a commercial client looking for personal insurance and I think this is going to fall in your wheelhouse. He’s got three houses and a number of cars.” And so he passed the info along to me.
I call the individual, introduce myself, and I just ask him to talk to me about what he has. He says, “I have this house in Charlevoix. I have a condo down in Florida. I have my main home in Birmingham.” I know the value of these areas and that they’re right with me.
The easiest next step is to see their current declaration pages. So again, we’re not talking just premium cost. I review everything and make my recommendation.
They may not come to us. We don’t win ’em all, because if they’re just shopping on price, we might not be the right place. Because I’m going to say, “you know, it looks to me like your house is very underinsured. You have it at a million, but calculations say it’s worth 2.5 million.” That’s going to double your premium. And if they’re not in the head space to spend a little bit more, they might say no.
If they are, they’re like, “Oh my gosh, thank you. I had no idea. I’ve been with this other agency for 25 years. I didn’t know. We never reviewed anything.”
So that’s another thing we do in private client that’s a little different: Every year we do an annual review on your entire account. So we’re going to sit down with you, discuss last year’s premium compared to this year’s premium, what’s renewed, and we’re going to say, “Hey, this is what we’re seeing, this is what we’re seeing. This is why. What do you think?” We spend a lot of time on educating them. You don’t know what you don’t know.
Jeff: What about any trends that people need to pay attention to or need to be aware of? I would imagine, for example, cybersecurity.
Melissa: Cyber’s huge and doesn’t automatically come on homeowner’s policies, so it is something you want to endorse. A lot of trends in the high net worth space right now are scheduled property. For example, the value of baseball cards has gone up so much in value. So you want to schedule that.
Jeff: What about NFTs? You covering those?
Melissa: Yes. We have that as well. Some people don’t even think about that, like, I could insure this.
There’s always the negative sort of trends right now, which are good conversations to have. One is the cost to rebuild a house. So the dwelling limit, the cost of labor, the cost of supplies, everything is so much higher right now.
Jeff: It must be really fun. Amazing.
Melissa: It’s wild. What I love most about the job is that every day’s different. Some of the stuff that clients have, some of the houses that they’ve built are incredible. They’re extraordinary. The people behind all of that have worked really hard. They are really proud of what they have.
Unfortunately there is the claim side of stuff where someone does lose a house to a hurricane. That is terrible, but we got your back and this is what we’re here for.
Jeff: Thank you so much, Melissa, for your time here today. If you’re interested in learning more, you can email Melissa at [email protected] or visit the Kapnick website Kapnick.com. Thanks for joining.