More than the Average Bear

If you work the VIP or high-value accounts, then you have seen some very expensive collections and jewelry.  It is hard to look at all points involved without the proper tools and understanding.

I recently read a very good article about a jewelry heist in the UK which had Scotland Yard turned on their ear.  There has also been a lot of jewelry and fine art heists going here in the US.  One in San Francisco and another in New York.  Or clients buying fake jewelry with fake certificates of authenticity.

Open treasure chestWhen looking at items, not just jewelry, if it’s worth $2000 or more, I require a certificate of authenticity, if not a bill of sale, then an appraisal.  This goes as well for pieces with signatures or special markings.  As an underwriter, I do check to make sure it is real.  I can go to websites for the American Gemological Laboratories, the Professional Sports Authenticator, or the PGCS for rare coins.  This is not only for the company but also for the insured.

When there is a claim, this is the first document the adjuster will want to see.  If this isn’t just a ‘couple of nice pieces’, but instead a collection, then an inventory list of all of their items is a good thing to keep on file.   The adjuster will want to see that too.

What if they are storing their collection or pieces off site?  First, most carriers do offer an additional endorsement to wine and collectibles policies that are stored off site.  Second, talk about the security they have in place for their collection.

Is this a storage unit down the street mixed in with Aunt Mabel’s old clothes or is this a highly secure area.  The above jewelry heist in the UK was pulled off at the famed Hatton Garden in London which is equipped with a security guard, a vault, cameras, and numerous key cards and pass codes (and they still broke in!).

Talk about prior losses – not just for the insured, but for the place where their valuables are – Hatton Garden had been broken into before.  If it lands on my desk, I am going to Google the place to see if any newsworthy break in’s occurred recently.

Please remember – jewelry claims are up, so adjusters are going to be unusually intrusive.  Make sure you have all your ducks in a row before the claim.

Yes, it’s just a simple piece of jewelry and they probably are not diabolical masterminds; however, an adjuster will be sent and they will dig in.  In addition to the items listed above, there will be a recorded statement, requests for police reports calls to the security company, requests for receipts, and photographs of the storage location.

I know the insured can be dedicated to their house and property.  Often, they might not invite you over or want you inside the house.  However, it is not enough to cover just the structure, but also to talk about what is inside and where it’s all stored.

Leave a comment or share an experience.


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