A soft light filters down from the vaulted atrium, illuminating the historic chambers below.
The camera pans back from the clocktower, then inside, across the terrazzo floors, and onto a beautiful octagonal foyer. The lens moves across cream herringbone tiles, lining every inch of the wall and ceilings. A moment later, it alights on the polished trunks and decorative brass finials, gleaming along the aisleway.
No, you aren’t watching tour footage of a private palace, or an ancient European cathedral. You’re at the time-honored home of the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation in Gladstone, New Jersey.
Since its completion in 1916, the architectural marvel that is this facility has been called “hallowed ground” by more than one top American team rider. And if such lavish surroundings paint an unexpected picture of what ‘Gladstone’ really is—at its core, a high-end horse barn—it might also surprise you that the creator of this powerful new video is an insurance company.
Not just any insurance company, but one with deep ties to and expertise in the equine community. Through its Private Client Group, AIG has been a fervid, behind-the-scenes supporter of American horse sport for over a decade. Supporting as many as 10 events every year, the organization is a longtime backer of hunter/jumper shows—among them, multi-week mega circuits like HITS and Vermont Summer Festival and boutique events, such as Menlo Charity Horse Show. More recently, AIG has branched into three-day eventing, with sponsorships at Essex Horse Trials and Jersey Fresh International.
Sponsorships are but one way AIG Private Client Group supports the equine community. Historically, there has been a lack of knowledge and expertise in understanding the exposures and protection needed for equine owners, according to AIG Private Client Group Assistant Vice President and National Equine Specialist Susan (Sue) Weber.
“We’ve worked hard to understand the specialized needs of these clients, developed products and expertise to support them and partnered with brokers and clients on education initiatives,” said Weber. A former rider and board of trustees member of Equi-librium, an organization dedicated to Equine Assisted Activity & Therapy, Weber is in the unique position to lead this business within AIG Private Client Group with passion and subject matter expertise.
Preserving high-value assets and providing personal liability protection for individuals and families is what the AIG Private Client Group does best—and in the horse world, they’ve found a definite dovetail. “Besides horses, [these clients] often have multiple large homes, collector cars, and other prized possessions,” says Weber. “[We ask], what else can we possibly offer, because we’re all about making sure our clients have the right coverage [to preserve and protect their unique lifestyle].”
From the beginning, she continues, AIG Private Client Group sought out sponsorship events in the equestrian space that would allow them to foster relationships in locations where they had staff on the ground. In other words, the company looked for real-time, face-to-face sponsorship opportunities—not just a line in a prize list, or a corporate banner posted by the side of the ring.
“We look for events where we can continue to have a presence, year after year,” she says. “[We ask ourselves], are we able to interact with the people who are organizing it? Can we be involved? Do we have people on the ground [in that location] who can attend and share our story in a more personal way?”
The reason for this criteria is two-fold. First, it benefits AIG Private Client Group to meet with potential clients where they are, doing what they love. Second, attending sponsored events provides on-the-job training for AIG’s intermediaries (independent insurance advisors) on the many ins and outs of the equestrian world, which in turn helps them speak more intelligently with their clients if and when horse topics come up.
That firsthand experience also helps them identify the property and liability insurance coverage gaps equestrian clients often overlook. Among these, the need to properly insure valuable historic barns, travel protection while attending horse shows, and carrying the proper coverage for off-the-course event transportation, including golf carts and scooters.
Beyond horse show-related property and liability insurance, AIG provides coverage for an equestrian’s tangential assets: fine homes, luxury automobiles, yachts, fine art, and collectibles. Families also can shield their net worth and reputation with more appropriate amounts of personal excess liability or “umbrella” insurance.
“In addition to a passion for horses, many of our clients collect valuables with deep sentimental meaning. They want to take good care [of them],” Weber explains.
With these aims in mind, AIG Private Client Group’s new ‘Passion’ series chose USET’s Gladstone headquarters to highlight their creative focus along three, key themes: passion, provenance, and preservation. The idea was sparked during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, when the company’s sponsorship efforts were significantly curtailed.
“Our group started talking about what we could do to make connections during a time when we can’t really go out and talk to people directly. We still wanted to sponsor, and we still wanted to help people understand our relevance, so we came up with the idea of these videos,” Weber explains.
“We didn’t want [the series to feel like] a big insurance push, because that’s not what we’re doing. We just wanted people to understand that we know that you have passions, and we celebrate all that comes with them.”
Featuring appearances by USET Trustee and Treasurer Philip Richter, and former U.S. eventing team member Sally Ike, AIG Private Client Group’s Gladstone video gets to the heart of what it means to love equestrian sport, in the place where it all began.
In the video, the camera pans slowly across half a century’s worth of Nations Cup and other trophies, achieved thanks to the tireless work and dedication of America’s best equestrian athletes. In another shot, we see a tribute to some of the sport’s most legendary and stout-hearted horses, with nameplates like Nikolaus and Touch of Class.
Goosebump-inducing? You bet. And by the time the music rises and the credits close, you’ll be in little doubt that this particular longtime sponsor has done their homework. If nothing else, it’s clear that AIG Private Client Group has a grasp on the disciplines—and, yes, the passion—that the vast majority of horse people feel, every time we swing a foot into the irons.
“We’ve got [a lot of people involved] and a lot of support at a very high level for this,” Weber says. “We believe in the sport, and we think supporting it is a wonderful thing to do.”
Protect Your Passion
For true protection, you need a year-round relationship. Count on AIG’s world-class underwriting, financial strength, and white-glove claim service to help mitigate the complex risks of your distinctive lifestyle. Click the link below or email Equine@AIG.com