High net worth clients post about their art and collections on social media putting assets at risk

27 November 2023

Ecclesiastical is encouraging brokers to speak to their HNW clients about the risks they face.

New research1 commissioned by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical has revealed seven in 10 (72%) high net worth (HNW) collectors post about their art and collections on social media, presenting an opportunity for brokers to speak to their clients about the risks they face.

The survey of 250 UK HNW individuals who invest in art and other collectibles found those with higher incomes, London residents and under 45 years old post more on social media, while those aged 45+ post less.

Social media activity can provide criminal gangs with visibility, information and even specific location data, making it easier for them to target wealthy individuals and their treasured possessions.

The research discovered half of those surveyed post photos (51%) and information (48%) on social media about their art and collections. Concerningly, one in five (22%) say they post or tag the location of their art and collections.

Rise in online purchases

More wealthy individuals are choosing to purchase their art and collections online. Seven in 10 (68%) have purchased assets online and a third (34%) have purchased art and collections via online private sales.

Purchasing valuable assets online can present risks if acquisitions aren’t made through a reputable dealer or auction house. Ecclesiastical advises collectors to ensure there are the same checks on condition, authenticity and provenance as there are for in-person purchases when considering new acquisitions.

Despite this, the majority of HNW collectors say they feel confident purchasing art and collections online (71%) and expect their online purchases to increase during the next 12 months (72%).

Dr James Lindow, Underwriting Director for Art and Private Clients at Ecclesiastical, said: “From an old master painting, to a modern sculpture, bottle of whisky, or wine collection, as a specialist art and private client insurer, we understand the importance of protecting art, collections, and valuable possessions. Our latest research has found the majority of high net worth collectors are purchasing assets online and are posting about their treasured art and collections on social media, exposing them to online risks. Brokers play an important role in helping high net worth clients understand the risks they face and in ensuring they have the right cover in place should the worst happen.”

Ecclesiastical recently published a guide that provides scenarios and risk guidance to help high net worth clients minimise the risk of being targeted by criminals. Ecclesiastical is encouraging brokers to refer to the guidance at www.ecclesiastical.com/target and speak to their high net worth clients about how best to protect themselves and their households.

Ecclesiastical, in collaboration with Blackstone Consultancy, has published guidance to help high net worth clients understand the cyber risks they face. Read the guidance about personal cyber security.

Last year, Ecclesiastical launched an enhanced high net worth home insurance product that includes cyber damage, cyber-crime and online liability cover as standard, and optional additional covers including business cover and travel insurance. For more information visit www.ecclesiastical.com/artandprivateclient

1 The research was commissioned by Ecclesiastical Insurance and conducted by BVA BDRC. Online interviews were carried out 9 - 27 July 2023 with 250 UK high net worth individuals with an income of at least £200,000 per annum or liquid assets of at least £1million about their art and other collections.