Wrestler and reality TV star Hulk Hogan learned the hard way the limitations of mass-market insurance products for the wealthy when his teenage son crashed his car while street racing, leaving his friend and passenger with a traumatic brain injury.
When Hogan exhausted the $250,000 limit on his auto policy, it left his $30 million fortune exposed.
"The biggest thing that you can't self-insure is liability," says Clement. "You need to protect yourself against somebody coming after you. If you don't, your empire is going to go up in smoke."
The wrestler ultimately reached an out-of-court settlement with the injured teen's family, then promptly sued Wells Fargo for failing to upgrade his coverage.
"When you talk about liability, the sky can be the limit," says Desmond. "Just because a client has a $2 million excess policy doesn't mean that's where the lawsuit is going to stop."
Unlike mass-market insurers, the five top high-net-worth insurance underwriters -- ACE, Chartis, Chubb, Fireman's Fund and Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange, or PURE -- typically offer unlimited legal defense for their clients, as well as legal counsel steeped in the rarified litigation issues of the rich.