The omni-present Kardashian family are well known for being relentless trend-setters; however the aggravated robbery of Kim Kardashian last October was one trend we would rather not keep up with.
Unfortunately, the scary fact is that this high profile robbery does reflect something we’ve witnessed here at Covéa Insurance. In the past five years I’ve seen significant increase in the number of aggravated burglaries, particularly of HNW properties, which can leave customers severely traumatised and suffering from physical injury.
As with the Kardashian ‘Kase’, social media is known to play a large part in the increase in these types of claim, and this trend is likely to continue as we live more of our lives online. This week, as the clocks go back and the evenings draw in, the risk of falling victim to burglary only increases so I wanted to share some simple practical advice on how to increase your own personal safety, particularly if, like America’s ‘other’ first family, you spend a lot of time on social media.
We’re used to sharing so many aspects of our lives on social media; photos of our houses, gardens, expensive new purchases and holidays are splashed all over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but we rarely think about how this information could be used against us. All it takes is for the wrong person to see a picture of your fancy new car, combined with some geographical clues from the geo-tagging function of an app and they can work out where you live, and more worryingly, whether you might be at home, based on where you’ve tagged yourself.
Our behaviour on social media can make a huge difference to the risk of being targeted and I’d offer customers the following advice:
Regularly review and check your privacy settings, Facebook’s privacy settings can be confusing but it’s worth taking the time to understand them to ensure that only people you trust can view your pictures. Twitter and Instagram are much easier to control, you can make your profile private, meaning that only people you’ve approved to follow you can see what you post.
Avoid the urge to ‘tag’ yourself when you’re out of the house for any length of time, particularly if you’re going on holiday, it’s a clear signal to burglars that your house is vacant.
Avoid posting pictures of expensive items such as watches or jewels, these visible displays of wealth can make customers a target both within and outside their homes – this is especially pertinent with Christmas around the corner, be careful about showing off your expensive presents on social media and bear in mind that the packages you leave out for recycling on Boxing Day give passersby a window into the valuable new items that are sitting in your living room.
We know that high net worth customers are more likely to be victim of such attacks, so we have a number of covers in place on our Executive Home and Executive Plus products that provide additional protection and reassurance to customers’ which include:
- Private counselling
- Cover for necessary security improvements to the home after an incident or assistance on the cost of fees for moving home if the customer decides they can no longer stay in the property
- Cover for alternative accommodation following the incident if necessary
- Cover for ransom demands
- A dedicated Executive Claims Manager like myself who will look after the customer from the first phone call to the last.
Thankfully aggravated burglaries are still rare, but it’s always worth ensuring that we’re minimising the risk as much as possible, after all; Keeping up with the Kardashians is just a TV show, not an aspiration!