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Padgett elected President of NC Jewelers Association

Padgett elected President of NC Jewelers Association

The North Carolina Jewelers Association (NCJA) ann...

Schnack’s Fine Jewelry turns 150

Schnack’s Fine Jewelry turns 150

Not many jewelry retailers can say their store ope...

From Vicenza with Love: At Oro International, Italian family values shine

From Vicenza with Love: At Oro International, Italian family values shine

Fifty years ago, Qurino Ruzza, with 20 years as a ...

Mason-Kay Jade to make Atlanta Jewelry Show debut

Mason-Kay Jade to make Atlanta Jewelry Show debut

Mason-Kay Jade has been a leading fine jade jewelr...

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Ancient trade route shows gold's enduring power

Ancient trade route shows gold's enduring power

Researchers at the University of Southampton have found a prehistoric gold trade route between Ireland and southwest England. The route gives a glimps...

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Jewelers Mutual presents honors at National Sale Conference

Jewelers Mutual presents honors at National Sale Conference

(NEENAH, Wis.) - Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company recognized its top agencies and agents during the annual awards ceremony held at their National Sale...

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Ancient trade route shows gold's enduring power

3 DAYS AGO
Ancient trade route shows gold's enduring power

Researchers at the University of Southampton have found a prehistoric gold trade route between Ireland and southwest England. The route gives a glimpse into how ancient cultures regarded gold.

A new study has shed more light on how the value of gold has endured – and changed – since ancient times.

Arc...

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Colorado woman finds 8.52 carat diamond in Arkansas state park

3 DAYS AGO
Colorado woman finds 8.52 carat diamond in Arkansas state park

MURFREESBORO, Ark. –  An 8.52 carat diamond has been found by a Colorado woman at Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park at Murfreesboro.

Park officials said Friday that the gem found by Bobbie Oskarson of Longmont, Colorado, is the fifth largest diamond found since the park was established in 1972....

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From Jewels to Tools: Ivan Levi to speak on enhancing business practices at RJO Show in August

4 DAYS AGO
From Jewels to Tools: Ivan Levi to speak on enhancing business practices at RJO Show in August

(HIGHLAND PARK, Ill.) - The jewelry industry has seen changes in the way business is being done since the advent of the Internet, and especially since the economic downturn began in 2007. Ivan Levi’s quest to find answers to questions about these changes led him to discover how one specific, yet easy...

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Rings of Strength collects over $60,000 for JFC

4 DAYS AGO
Rings of Strength collects over $60,000 for JFC

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers for Children (JFC) held the 3rd Annual Rings of Strength Tour on Thursday, May 28, at Mandalay Bay Resort Casino in Las Vegas, NV. More than 125 participants assembled at 5:30 a.m. to either walk or run 5K, or bike one of two courses, a leisurely 15K route or a challenging 50K r...

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Padgett elected President of NC Jewelers Association

4 DAYS AGO
Padgett elected President of NC Jewelers Association

The North Carolina Jewelers Association (NCJA) announced that Brad Padgett, an independent jeweler and native of Jacksonville, North Carolina, is the new president of the statewide association. His two-year term of office as the organization’s president began May 16.

Padgett graduated with a B.S.B.A....

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Two Houston jewelers named Distinction Winners in Houston Better Business Bureau Awards for Excellence

4 DAYS AGO
Two Houston jewelers named Distinction Winners in Houston Better Business Bureau Awards for Excellence

(HOUSTON, Tex.) - Houston Jewelry and Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon were among the businesses recognized at the annual Houston Better Business Bureau Awards of Excellence held in May. Both businesses were named Distinction Winners, a designation awarded to businesses that maintain a superior commitment to...

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In tune with the times? New Unisex Ring Collection keeps the beat

4 DAYS AGO
In tune with the times? New Unisex Ring Collection keeps the beat

Designed by Elaine of Esprit Creations

New to SJTA and the Atlanta Jewelry Show, family business Esprit Creations has been successfully manufacturing and wholesaling fine sterling silver jewelry with genuine gemstones for over 2 decades. Standing apart from the ordinary, their wide selection of exclu...

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Mason-Kay Jade to make Atlanta Jewelry Show debut

4 DAYS AGO
Mason-Kay Jade to make Atlanta Jewelry Show debut

Mason-Kay Jade has been a leading fine jade jewelry wholesaler/supplier/designer in the United States since 1976. The company specializes in all natural (type “A”) jadeite jade fine jewelry, designed in-house by their exclusive designer Kristina and MK design team. Mason-Kay Jade is excited to intro...

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Setting Limits

Insuring a jewelry store: Determining the type of insurance to buy - and how much

The type of insurance

Jeweler Rhoda Lyte opened her new jewelry store and for insurance, called on a friend who sold property and casualty insurance. About the only information the agent needed in order to put the policy in force was the name and address of the store, the building construction, and the limit of coverage Rhoda wished to carry. Rhoda explained to the agent that she needed $250,000 - figuring $50,000 for her fixtures and general contents and $200,000 for her jewelry inventory.

Rhoda was pleased with the policy. For an affordable premium, she had all of her contents covered at replacement cost for a broad range of perils ("all risk") with a modest $500 deductible, plus $1,000,000 general liability, and even loss of earnings insurance.

Then subsequent to the coverage being placed in force, burglars compromised Rhoda's alarm system, broke into the store through the roof, and with the alarm system down, wheeled the safe out the back door.

Rhoda's loss was all of her $200,000 inventory, $30,000 of customer's property that was in her custody, $10,000 in diamonds that were on memo to the store from a vendor, and $5,000 for her safe - totaling $245,000. Under Rhoda's lease, the costs of repairing the roof and the back door were the landlord's responsibility and were claimed on the building insurance policy. Rhoda was just thankful that her policy limit of $250,000 would be enough to cover her part of the loss.

When Rhoda received her settlement check, the amount was $7,000. "When do I get the rest of it?" was her question to the agent.

"There isn't any more - this is all the company is paying for the loss."

It was then that Rhoda learned of a limitation clause which is standard in general business insurance policies. The clause stated in clear language that where theft of jewelry was concerned, the company would be liable for no more than $2,500. Rhoda had received that amount plus $5,000 for her stolen safe - the only property stolen that was not "jewelry," less her $500 deductible.

"What about my customers' property - and the diamonds that I had on memo? Doesn't the policy give me special coverage for other people's property?" The policy did have some coverage for property of others, but the jewelry limitation superseded all other aspects of the policy. $2,500 was all that would be paid for jewelry, regardless of whom it belonged to.

Rhoda was not only out of business, but left in significant debt to her customers, her vendor - and her bank. She had purchased the wrong kind of insurance.

The agent explained that he had sold this type of policy to dozens of businesses, and the jewelry question had just never come up before - he didn't know the jewelry limitation clause was there.

The limit of coverage

Alexander Wright opened a jewelry store similar to the one that Rhoda Lyte owned. But unlike Rhoda, Alexander knew to ask for a Jewelers Block policy; he had been told that a standard business insurance policy would not meet the needs of a jewelry business.

Alexander's agent had not written Jewelers Block insurance before, but he had obtained an application from another insurance broker and he gave it to Alex to complete. There were questions about Alex's safe, and the store's alarm system - which Alex answered to the best of his ability.

An inventory figure was requested on the form and Alex entered $200,000 - the amount of inventory he expected to have on opening day. A limit of coverage blank was also on the form, and $200,000 was entered there also since that was what the inventory would be.

There was a question about customers' property; to be certain that customers would be well protected, Alex entered $75,000 - the most that was expected to ever be in the repair box at one time. A figure of $15,000 was entered in answer to a question about memo and consignment merchandise -- enough to cover bringing in a few diamonds to show to a customer.

After being in business for several months, Alex had a robbery. With Alex and his assistant tied up on the floor and the doors locked, the gunmen were committed to take all that they could. And so they took the merchandise out of all of the showcases, cleaned out the safe, and took the repair box.

Alex's inventory had increased a bit since opening day, to $215,000 - all of which had been stolen in the robbery. The customer's property totaled $25,000 (thankfully there were separate records with customers' own estimates of value), and $10,000 in memo diamonds were stolen. The total loss was $250,000.

The insurance policy paid $199,000 for the loss - the policy limit of $200,000 less $1,000 deductible. The figures for customers' property and memo merchandise that Alex had thought he was asking separate coverage for, were average exposure questions. By not understanding the form fully, Alex had requested $200,000 as a total limit for inventory, customers' goods, and memo merchandise.

So two instances of jewelers not getting what they thought they were buying by way of insurance. One might be tempted to conclude that, no matter what a jeweler does, insurance companies never pay off fairly. But the lessons to be learned are from Rhoda's and Alex's own different mistakes - which are not uncommon among jewelers starting out in business.

Rhoda's mistake was in assuming that a jewelry business could be insured the same as most businesses, and that all she needed was a standard package policy, which almost any agent could write.

Alex knew what kind of insurance he needed, but he didn't know where to go for it. The agent he went to gave Alex the responsibility of completing the Jewelers Block application rather than completing it himself with Alex's input. The application is complex, and Alex misinterpreted some of the questions and provided incorrect information - the most critical being the limit of coverage.

So let's take one more crack at this situation and see if we can end on a happier note.

Jules Galore was planning to open a jewelry store for the first time. But having been in the jewelry business for a number of years, he had several friends in the industry to whom he could go for ideas and advice. One of the things he already knew was that he would need special insurance, and he asked his contacts who they recommended he talk to about insurance.

As a result, Jules was able to find someone who had experience in insuring jewelers and was familiar with both the policy and the application. Rather than send Jules a complicated form to complete, the agent met with the jeweler to complete the application for him. Additionally, the agent was able to give Jules valuable advice concerning his safe and his alarm system - to help Jules be certain that minimum insurance standards were being met.

A Jewelers Block policy was put in force with a solid carrier, with an appropriate limit of coverage for inventory, customers' property, and memo merchandise. And when Jules had a loss, because the policy had been written correctly, the insurance company could pay it and Jules could continue in business.

Rhoda's lesson: for a jewelry business, standard insurance won't fill the bill.

Alex's lesson: the right type of insurance still may not be good enough if it isn't correctly written.

Jules' lesson: the right kind of insurance, combined with a good carrier and an insurance agent who is experienced in writing jewelers' insurance and capable of being a part of the "management team" of the business, can make the critical difference when there is a loss.

P.S. Congratulations to all of the staff of Southern Jewelry/Mid-America Jewelry News for 20 years of producing a journal for the jewelry trade that is always relevant, eye-opening, and a pleasure to read. I'm honored to have been a part of your team for all of that time and it is indeed a pleasure to see how you have grown and where you are today.

Bob Carroll of Robert G. Carroll and Associates is a Certified Insurance Counselor who has been insuring members of the jewelry industry for more than a quarter of a century - representing Jewelers Mutual and other carriers in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Mississippi. He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


 


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