Lavalier, an online personal jewelry insurance program offering easy and fast coverage to retailers’ customers across the United States, has had impressive results since Berkley Asset Protection acquired the company in 2017: The number of Lavalier policyholders has increased 65 percent over last year and the program has more than doubled the number of partner jewelers in the past 18 months.
Lavalier’s “all risk” policy includes worldwide coverage for loss, damage, theft, mysterious disappearance/unexplained loss, wear and tear, newly purchased jewelry and jewelry in transit for inspection, repair or sale.
Lavalier’s online platform makes it easy for the jeweler and the customer. The company provides each partner jeweler with a custom, co-branded webpage where their customers can get an instant quote and apply for insurance. In addition, jewelers receive printed cards that include their co-branded URL. The jeweler simply includes a Lavalier card with every jewelry sale, eliminating the problem of outdated brochures and rate cards.
In addition, Lavalier pays partner jewelers a $15 referral fee for every online application for jewelry valued at $2,500 or more. The jeweler receives the fee even if the customer chooses not to purchase the policy. In a loss situation, Lavalier encourages the insured to return to their preferred jeweler for the repair or replacement, creating a valued revenue source for the jeweler. Lavalier pays the jeweler all repair and replacement costs, plus a percentage for handling the repair or replacement.
The Lavalier policy is for repair and replacement, covering almost every imaginable risk, anywhere in the world. But a dollar value can’t be placed on sentiment. “If you lose your grandma’s ring, we will assure you get a replacement that’s as close as possible to the original up to the limit of the policy. It won’t be grandma’s ring but we try to make the process as comforting as possible,” says Greg Smith, Executive Vice President of Claims for Berkley Asset Protection and Lavalier Personal Jewelry Insurance.
“When you’ve handled jewelry claims for decades, as I have, you understand the financial and sentimental value of the property involved,” Smith says.
Smith shared a few claims experiences:
- “Two weeks before her wedding day, our insured was cleaning dishes and turned on the garbage disposal. Her engagement ring slipped off her wet finger and dropped into drain, where it was destroyed by the garbage disposal. We had the ring replaced within a week to help keep the insured calm before her wedding day.
- “One couple was honeymooning in South America, where a thief entered their villa via a window while they slept; he stole their jewelry, cash and credit cards. The resort’s closed-circuit TV captured the thief on camera. Lavalier’s claim staff worked with the local police department, which made an arrest within 24 hours. The couple’s property was returned before they left the island.
- “A woman went rock climbing with friends a couple of weeks before her wedding. Her diamond engagement ring slipped from her finger and bounced down the cliff. The woman called Lavalier in a panic. The claims manager worked with her Denver jeweler to get a replacement within a week. During the phone call, she asked the claims manager whether she had to tell her fiancé what happened. The manager offered some great marriage advice: Transparency is a good way to start a marriage. Tell him what happened, that the replacement is ordered and the decision to insure it was brilliant.
“We recognize how painful it can be to experience a jewelry loss, especially jewelry that may have great emotional significance,” Smith says. “So we make the process as easy as possible.”