Filed Under:Markets, E&S/Specialty

Connected high-value homes pose complex security challenges

Insurance agents and brokers can help HNW clients by conducting thorough security assessments

Protecting your high-net-worth clients may mean conducting a thorough security assessment of their property. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Protecting your high-net-worth clients may mean conducting a thorough security assessment of their property. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Today's reality of interconnected risks creates complex challenges for home security, especially for high-net-worth (HNW) individuals who are often targeted by criminals who can manipulate cyber and physical boundaries.

Agents and brokers can offer more value to their high-net-worth clients through comprehensive security assessments. These confidential assessments, conducted onsite by experts, should encompass these five key elements at a minimum:

1. Physical Security

A thorough security assessment begins at the perimeter and looks at all access points for possible vulnerabilities. Strong locks on exterior doors and windows, adequate lighting, and proper landscaping to minimize hiding places and reduce above-ground access points are important in keeping intruders out.

Even the strongest locks can be bypassed if an intruder can break nearby glass and open the lock by hand. Similarly, a garage door opener kept in a car parked outside the garage may give inadvertent access to the home.

2. Inner Circle

Many HNW individuals employ housekeeping or domestic staff or provide access to other trusted individuals. This inner circle should be subject to due diligence at hiring as well as periodic background reviews after hire because personal circumstances and involvements do change.

Unfortunately, the most trusted members of a client's circle can do the most harm. HNW clients should take a regular inventory of who has access to the property and account for all keys.

Related: 7 tips to ensure clients can vacation with confidence

3. Law Enforcement

A comprehensive security assessment examines local criminal activity as well as the community resources available to respond to an incident at the client's address. What is the average response time by police and other emergency responders?

It's also important for owners of high-value homes to build relationships with local law enforcement. Such relationships can improve law enforcement's awareness and monitoring of activity. This can be especially important when local ordinances on fencing or security gates limit a client's ability to improve perimeter security.

4. Life Safety and Security Systems

Depending on the need and the circumstances, home security systems can send alerts and video to a connected device anywhere, enabling clients to check on their homes while traveling.

If a client's home has a safe room, it must be easily accessible and ready with a first-aid kit, a source of fresh air, food and water, the ability to review security cameras, and a means of communicating with emergency responders.

5. Cybersecurity

Maintaining strong personal cybersecurity has become as important as physical security. Many high-value homes have complex systems that control functions from lighting and irrigation to security and sometimes even door locks.

Maintain separate networks: one for banking and financial operations, one for the home's control systems, and one for guest or staff access.

Related: How IoT is inviting insurers into smart homes

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