After studying law I vectored towards journalism by accident and it's the only job I've done since. It's a job that has taken me on a private jet to Jaisalmer - where I wrote India's first feature on fractional ownership of business jets - to the badlands of west UP where India's sugar economy is inextricably now tied to politics. I'm a big fan of new business models and crafty entrepreneurs. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of those in Asia at the moment.
Insuring the rich and their riches is a tough ask. Often, it’s hard to fix the value of rare paintings and jewellery, so fixing premium is hard work. What’s more, often the HNIs don’t see the need for insurance.
Tata-AIG has decided to tackle the problem head on. Aided by the experience its parent American Insurance Group or AIG has overseas, the company has been offering policies for high-value items. The service available to a select group of customers comes bundled along with the home insurance policies. At the moment, AIG offers it in only eight countries, including the US, some European nations and the UAE.
Here’s how it works: When customers take a home insurance, the company offers some clients the option of insuring their valuables as well. In addition to painting and jewellery, they can also put down TV sets and expensive clothes. Valuations are done independently and premium fixed as a percentage of what it costs to insure the house.
The company has sold about 100 policies since 2009 and collected Rs 6.5-7 crore as premium, taking the total value of goods insured to Rs 700 crore.
According to Gopa Menon, national manager for the private client group that sells these policies, customers usually take two months of persuasion to come on board. Once they’ve signed up, the renewal rate is 100 percent. Tata-AIG is very careful about whom they offer the policy to as making it a mass-market product could result in suspicious claims.
And the most common item they receive claims for: High-end TV sets, which seem to have the highest breakdown rate.
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(This story appears in the 21 March, 2014 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)