“A statement of values (SOV) is a report that an insured submits to an insurer. It details the amount each property that will be covered under a policy is worth. The insurer then bases the insured’s premium on this report.
To avoid underinsurance, the statement of values must be accurate and comprehensive. It must not only provide the amount for each property in every location but it must also list all the insurable items in each property, such as machinery and other equipment.
In order to ensure the accuracy and comprehensiveness of their statement of values, it is advised that the insured get the assistance of a finance professional, such as a property insurance broker, when drafting their SOV.” (1)
When you accept your statement of values, it is your declaration to the insurance brokerage and the insurance company that the composition and valuation of the property contained is accurate. How do you know if the numbers are accurate and what are the consequences if they are not?
First, let us explore where these numbers may have come from. Have you recently had a professional valuation completed by an accredited firm? If so, you can jump to the next paragraph. Did your numbers come from a dated valuation or perhaps original cost and you have applied an inflationary index each year? If so, how did you come up with your index and how long have you been indexing these? Have you accounted for changes to property or machinery and equipment? Have you accounted for freight, installation and any other considerations in the replacement of your property? Without answers to these questions, you may be at risk of insuring your property with inaccurate values.
Next, what is the risk associated with the accuracy of these numbers? The best case scenario is to be accurately insured; you avoid both the over-payment of premium as well as the risk of co-insurance penalties (being under-insured). If you are over-insured, you are paying too much premium. In the event of a loss, you may not receive the excess insurance you placed and those premium dollars are lost. Even worse is the risk of being under-insured and facing a co-insurance penalty.
Co-insurance penalties would apply to policies with a co-insurance clause. A co-insurance clause is written into an insurance policy to spread the risk between parties. The most common co-insurance limit is 90%, which means a client is responsible to insure to 90% of the replacement cost of their property’s value. So for a building that has a replacement cost of $1,000,000 with a 90% co-insurance clause, the client must insure to a minimum of $900,000. The biggest concern to a client failing to meet the minimum co-insurance requirement is the co-insurance penalty.
This example will explain better:
Using the above example, the insured, selects an insurable limit of $750,000 based on historical records in their files (should be $900,000 due to 90% coinsurance clause). Policy has a $1,000 deductible. The building has a fire and there is a $250,000 loss. During the adjusting of the claim, the insurance company will see that the client did not meet the coinsurance requirement and invoke the coinsurance penalty.
The penalty is calculated as follows:
Amount insured to divided by amount should have insured to and multiplied by amount of loss due to claim = amount insurance policy will pay for claim.
$750,000 (insured) / $900,000 (should have insured) X $250,000 (loss) = $208,333 will be paid by insurance company.
The insured will be out of pocket over $40,000 (rather than just the $1000 deductible if they had insured to $900,000).
So what does it imply when you accept your statement of values and send them back to your broker? It means you are confident in the numbers and assume the financial risks of any inaccuracies in a loss scenario. If you are reviewing your statement of values, and do not know if you can trust your numbers, you should consult your broker to look at options to develop the right values.
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Statement of Value (SOV). Retrieved from https://www.insuranceopedia.com/definition/509/statement-of-values-sov-insurance