A $4 million dollar engagement ring and other jewelry was reportedly stolen from reality star Kim Kardashian West during a robbery at gunpoint in Paris on October 3. The news brings attention to the importance of jewelry insurance coverage for valuable personal possessions that might be at risk of loss or damage due to theft or other means.
Personal Jewelry Insurance
Personal jewelry items may be covered in part by a homeowners or renters insurance policy under existing provisions for fire, windstorm, theft and vandalism.
Standard coverage for jewelry theft under a policy for personal possessions is usually subject to a dollar limit, such as $1,500, since jewelry can be easily stolen. The Insurance Information Institute advises consumers who own valuable or unique jewelry to consider either raising the limit of liability on an existing policy, or “scheduling” individual pieces of jewelry through the use of a “floater” policy.
The cost of purchasing additional jewelry insurance depends on many factors, including the item itself and the geographic location of the policyholder. GEICO estimates that jewelry insurance premiums typically cost 1-2% of the value of the jewelry item to be insured. An appraisal or other documentation may be required as part of the application process.
In addition to jewelry, other types of personal possessions that may warrant additional insurance coverage include fine arts, musical instruments, fur, hobby collections, silverware, and china or crystal.
An experienced personal lines insurance agent can answer most questions a consumer may have about jewelry protection.
Commercial Jewelry Insurance
At an industry level, jewelry stores and jewelry displays within large retail stores require specialized jewelry insurance since they can be frequent targets for thefts and robberies.
Commercial insurance available to jewelry industry participants is referred to as jewelers block insurance. This type of insurance is often an inland marine policy that covers loss or damage for insureds including jewelry retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, and pawnbrokers.
Jewelry-related crime statistics indicate that burglary and robbery losses at U.S. jewelry stores dropped to $30.8 million for the first six months of 2016 compared to $33.2 million in the prior year period, according to the Jewelers’ Security Alliance.
Industrial level jewelry crimes include “smash and grab” robberies, thefts targeting traveling salespersons and credit card-based fraudulent transactions.
Since professional crime rings focusing on jewelry frequently cross state and national borders, the FBI maintains a Jewelry & Gem Theft program that works closely with the jewelry industry and local law enforcement agencies.
Bill Hager’s Experience as a Jewelry Insurance Expert
Jewelry-related insurance claims disputes call for expertise as to, among other things, the following matters:
- Property insurance inclusive of jewelry insurance and related policies and the regulations of such policies,
- An insurer’s coverage obligations and claim responsibilities under such policies,
- An insured’s duties under such policies.
From a regulatory perspective, Mr. Hager’s expertise in regard to jewelry insurance includes the following former positions:
- Commissioner of Insurance (Iowa);
- First Deputy Commissioner of Insurance;
- Member of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC);
- Administrative Law Judge f/k/a Hearing Officer at the Department of Insurance (IA); and
- Assistant Attorney General assigned on a full-time basis to the Department of Insurance.
In those capacities, on a daily basis, he had full regulatory oversight and responsibility for and dealt directly with jewelry insurers and their policies and their obligations to insureds. He also addressed the good faith duties of insurers and their relationship with their insureds particularly as to matters of policy coverage and an insured’s obligations under such policies.
In addition to Mr. Hager’s regulatory background, he has served or is serving in the following capacities, each of which included daily knowledge of and interaction with jewelry insurers and their policies and their obligations to insureds.
- Elected Member of the Florida House of Representatives (currently) where he serves as a Member and Vice Chairman of the Insurance Committee (among other committees), which has legislative oversight over all insurance operations in the state (as administered by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation) including those relating to jewelry insurance and related insurer and insured obligations;
- In addition, Mr. Hager has sat on and served as Vice Chairman of the Civil Justice Subcommittee of the Florida House, which has responsibilities as to Florida laws that establish (among other things) liability.
- Elected Member of the Boca Raton, FL City Council, where he headed up insurance oversight for the Council;
- Legal Counsel to the Iowa House of Representatives;
- Chief of Staff at the U.S. House of Representatives;
Click on the link to read more about Bill Hager’s experience as a jewelry insurance expert.
The above general discussion of inland marine insurance is not intended to address the specifics of what is and is not covered by an inland marine policy that may be in dispute.
Material for this article was taken from a collection of industry sources relating to the subject.
In all of the general statements here, see the state law of the controlling jurisdiction. Every case is different and circumstances vary widely depending on the governing state law, policy provisions, and related considerations.
This blog is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or an opinion in regard to any topic discussed. The blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state.