Many of us like to usher in the new year by making resolutions. We look back and learn from what's happened the year before and look forward at what we hope is ahead: total well-being, general happiness and good financial health.
Often, the goals are to manage personal finances, cut back expenses and save money.

As we enter 2009, facing a weak global economy, personal and household finances will more than likely be placed at the top of people's lists of concerns. Whether you are a high-net-worth individual, a private wealth advisor or someone in charge of running a family office, chances are you're taking a hard look at expenses.

Among the most important line items on these household budgets are insurance expenses for asset protection and risk management, usually in the form of comprehensive property and casualty insurance.

It had been easy enough before for clients to keep paying insurance premiums year after year without questioning the programs they had in place, but after 2008, some of them might be taking a closer look at their insurance programs and premiums for the first time in a long time.

With high-net-worth clients, the broker is frequently in touch, since these customers have complex insurance requirements and ever-changing lifestyles, thus they should already be in good shape and have a pretty good understanding of their programs.

But there could be surprises for other types of clients, those who have been too busy to deal with their personal insurance and have not given this area the time and attention required to maximize their coverage, underwriting benefits and savings.

It's important to know all of the variables that affect one's insurance program and to understand how certain household services are linked to it. And you need to be aware of this before you make changes in your household to trim your expenses. When your clients overhaul their budgets, it's important to recognize that making a decision in one area of the household can cause a domino effect that spills over into their insurance. In some instances, the clients might have a problem collecting on a claim if they make certain changes.

Let's take a look at a few "general household services" expenses.

One line item addresses personal security and property risk management. Depending on who your clients' insurance carriers are, certain items they might be thinking of cutting could have a direct and critical impact on their personal insurance-for example, their security and alarm services. Among the other numerous critical expenses for security and property risk management are security gates manned by full-time security guards-or even just the gate to the property by itself. In some cases, personal security can also include the expense of a full-time bodyguard. There could also be elaborate alarm systems such as perimeter alarms, temperature control alarms (especially for extensive wine collections or vacation homes), heat sensors and fire and burglar alarms, which also require expenses for the service providers who maintain them.

Other household service expenses that could affect the insurance program if changed are those for full-time caretakers; pool service companies; handyman services for smaller general maintenance and repair jobs, and tree trimming services.