Home is where the heart is, as the old saying goes — it’s also where people spend a significant amount of their time, and an important retreat and refuge from a frequently hectic world.

Building a custom home is a compelling idea for people and families who are looking to create their own special “safe haven” — a unique home tailored to the nuances of their tastes, needs, and lifestyle, rather than adjusting those preferences to fit an existing structure and layout. Many Americans are opting to build, not just buy; in the first quarter of 2016, custom home building increased on a year-on-year basis, accounting for 22% of total single-family starts.i

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Constructing a house from the ground up involves an array of aesthetic choices including size, layout, materials, flooring, lighting, storage, colors, and much more. But beyond these details, there are crucial up-front decisions that can have a direct impact on how safe of a haven a home will be — either enhancing or compromising the safety of the house, lessening or increasing the likelihood of loss, and ultimately translating into insurance savings or additional costs.

Reducing risks before breaking ground

In many instances, home risk mitigation techniques are much easier to implement before and during the building process instead of post-construction. In the early planning stages with an architect, integral risk prevention questions can be discussed and woven into construction plans, including:

  • Is there a smarter way to build the house, making it safer without disrupting design plans? This can include sensors to detect water leakage, and fire sprinklers or gas leak detectors to spare residents and belongings from harm.
  • How can the house be protected against natural hazards, including flooding, wind, lightning, and earthquakes?
  • How can sound environmental practices be incorporated into the project, including green building materials and other choices to maximize energy efficiency?
  • What is the best evacuation plan for residents in the event of an emergency?

Smarter building for worry-free living

Over the years, AIG Private Client Group, a division of the member companies of American International Group, Inc., risk managers — specializing in the protection of luxury and custom homes — have visited tens of thousands of properties to advise on safety measures and other concerns, observing costly home damage that may have been avoided if different decisions were made before and during home construction.

Drawing from a long history of bringing sound risk management practices to the construction of many of the world’s most significant buildings, AIG offers SmartBuild, a solution to help homeowners make smart decisions to manage risks long before they break ground on their custom home.

As a complimentary service for qualified1 AIG Private Client Group policyholders who are ready to begin the construction of a new home or major renovation, SmartBuild incorporates best practices to help homeowners build a smarter and safer home:

  • A pre-build consultation: An experienced risk manager consults with the homeowner, architect, builder, contractor, and other home and design professionals during the design phase to help minimize risks related to water damage, fire and life safety, security, and other construction vulnerabilities — asking crucial risk management questions a homeowner may not know to ask.
  • An outline of safety measures: Once the home is built, a risk management specialist provides an overview outlining the safeguards that were put into place during the build.
  • Potential additional premium savings, which may be available in some instances to policyholders who integrate the suggested loss prevention measures into their home.

To learn more about how the AIG Private Client Group helps policyholders build smarter, safer custom homes, reducing the likelihood of loss before construction begins, read the brochure below. 

    1 Typically this translates to a $5 Million new or remodel project


    i National Association of Home Builders, May 18, 2016: http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/05/slight-gains-for-custom-home-building/.


    The content contained herein is intended for general informational purposes only.  Companies and individuals should not solely rely on the information or suggestions provided in this article for the prevention or mitigation of the risks discussed herein.  


    AIG is the marketing name for the worldwide property-casualty, life and retirement, and general insurance operations of American International Group, Inc. (AIG).   For additional information, please visit our website at www.aig.com. Products and services are written or provided by subsidiaries or affiliates of AIG. Not all products and services are available in every jurisdiction, and insurance coverage is governed by actual policy language. Certain property-casualty coverages may be provided by a surplus lines insurer. Surplus lines insurers do not generally participate in state guaranty funds and insureds are therefore not protected by such funds.

AIG Private Client Group, a division of the member companies of American International Group, Inc., specializes in the protection of luxury and custom homes. Over the years our risk managers have visited tens of thousands of properties to advise on safety measures and other concerns. We’ve seen what works—and what doesn’t. In many instances, we’ve found that costly damage could have been avoided if different decisions were made from the start. Armed with this experience, we created Smart Build, a complimentary service for policyholders who are ready to begin the construction of a new home or major renovation. (Eligibility requirements may apply.)