Theft insurance for jewellers: the final element of prevention

In August 2017, Vanbreda Risk & Benefits appeared in the national press with some positive news: “Between 2011 and 2016, the number of jewellery shop robberies in Belgium and the Netherlands fell from 87 to 12”. According to Nick Van den Broeck, jeweller insurance expert at Vanbreda, this strong decline is the result of the sector's extensive targeted prevention efforts. However, caution is advised: criminal gangs are using ever more innovative methods. Top-quality, specialised theft insurance remains a must for jewellers.

Theft insurance for jewellers: the final element of prevention

Prevention is silver

The 1980s and the early 1990s too were marked by an extremely high number of burglaries in the jewellery sector. This was mainly caused by the lack of prevention at that time. Together with the insurance sector, jewellers took appropriate action and nowadays the idea of a jewellery shop having no form of prevention or alarm system is completely inconceivable.

“We have a wealth of knowledge and experience and are happy to assist our customers in taking preventive measures”, says Nick Van den Broeck. “To us, there is no such thing as a standard all-in security solution. That’s simply not realistic. Each shop and business manager differs, as do their priorities. Furthermore, not all measures are feasible for everyone, be it financially or technically. That is why we always adopt a tailor-made approach and look at each business individually.”

“However, we do follow certain fixed guidelines. For example, it is mandatory to have an alarm system that automatically transmits to a control room. Furthermore, we are looking for a feasible all-in concept that provides sufficient structural obstacles to delay the burglars once the alarm has been triggered.”

Having a good prevention plan is essential, but more is required. Criminals are becoming more and more innovative and are looking for new stealing methods. That is why it is still essential to take out a sound theft insurance in addition to taking preventive measures.

Insurance is gold

If prevention fails, or the criminals manage to expertly avoid it, then you should still be able to count on the insurance. “Having the proper procedures in place prevents unpleasant theft or claim surprises”, says Nick Van den Broeck. “As with every prevention plan, each policy is tailored to each jeweller’s individual case.”

The first focus lies on the insured amounts. If the capital at the time of the claim exceeds the capital stated in the policy, this is referred to as under-insurance. In the case of under-insurance, the insurer will apply the proportionality rule and only compensate the claim proportionally. It is therefore essential to include the correct capital in the policy and to provide for margins to avoid under-insurance. “For example, we provide for a 10% seasonal variation in our policies, free of charge. This should be enough to cover the somewhat higher stock in November and December”, explains Nick Van den Broeck.

The second focus lies on indemnification. You are automatically insured for the original purchase value of the jewellery. However, it is also possible to insure the replacement value. This can benefit the jeweller, for example, when the price of gold has risen sharply in a short period of time because he cannot buy similar jewellery at that moment using the amount reimbursed for the original purchase value. “This is a subject that has attracted my personal interest”, adds Nick Van den Broeck. “I always add a clause to my customers’ contracts that enables them to decide whether they wish to be paid the purchase price or the replacement value the moment they make their claim.”

In addition to indemnification, it is also important to make clear prior arrangements with the insurer with regard to the stock administration, and to document them in the policy. At the time of the claim, you must be able to demonstrate the extent of the loss on the basis of that administration. “Additional agreements need to be made in this regard, especially in respect of goldsmiths; whereas it is quite easy to determine the value for a retail jeweller”, says Nick Van den Broeck.

In addition to these important focus areas, there are other ways in which you can conclude a tailor-made policy in consultation with the broker. It is also good to know that certain interventions also have a beneficial effect on the premium. For example:

  • Limiting coverage to robbery and burglary and excluding purely enforced disappearance (switching tricks)
  • Intervention limits
  • Increasing the standard exemption

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