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Soapbox & Opinions














Insuring a better future

How my customers insure their jewellery has been on my mind for several years now. It’s also a popular topic of conversation in my store. In my opinion, the way the insurance and jewellery industries interact in Australia needs attention. I’d like to outline some concerns, some of the good things and then offer what I feel is required to make jewellery insurance great.

High-quality customer service is the best way I know to grow and succeed in business. This is certainly the case in the jewellery industry, which runs on a pretty straightforward retail model. We are so fortunate to sell and service products that people are emotional about.

The insurance industry operates at the opposite end of the emotional sales spectrum – insurance is a need, not a want. I’d love to be able to recommend an insurance company confidently to my customers. Instead, I’m in constant battle with them.

I’ve lost track of the number of my customers unhappy with their jewellery insurance and with insurers who refuse legitimate claims, pay vastly-reduced figures, force clients to deal with businesses they would rather not and endlessly demand discounts from jewellers like myself.

I’ve seen a large increase in customer complaints because insurance brokers hand the claims process over to jewellery- replacement companies. From my perspective, the role of these replacement companies seems to be to reduce payouts to the bare minimum while giving insurance companies protection from any methods they use to achieve these payout figures.

I refuse to deal with them and this has served me well as I can deal directly with the company that sold the policy in the first place. I tell all my customers to get confirmation in writing from their insurers that they can select the replacement jeweller and need only deal directly with the insurer.

"I believe the key to motivating the jewellery industry as a whole is for JSIs to share these year-on-year premiums with jewellers."

In recent years a number of smaller, jewellery-specific insurance companies have popped up – let’s call them JSIs. These JSIs are leveraging the poor state of a airs for jewellery insurance. They promise superior client service and no-brainer policies such as ‘jeweller of choice’ replacements, worldwide cover and automatic value-adjustments annually.

On the surface, JSIs seem great for the jewellery industry and I like the concept as they hold the key to moving toward a model focused on client satisfaction; however, I feel they have a long way to go in motivating jewellers to form relationships with them.

One thing is certain: JSIs are a good indication that there is money in insuring jewellery and this gives me hope that a truly great jewellery insurance solution could be just around the corner.

When considering JSIs, the problem is two- fold. Firstly, they require me to pass my hard- earned customers to another business, which includes their names and contact details. This also involves a detailed list of that client’s jewellery, which is effectively a reference of that customer’s tastes and purchasing history. Obviously, this information has real value, both from a financial and emotional perspective. Handing a customer over to another business that then has to be trusted forever is a huge leap.

My second issue is if jewellers are going to be sending their hard-earned clients to JSIs and those businesses are going to profit then shouldn’t the jeweller also profit? At present, these JSIs attempt to motivate jewellers with better client-service offerings and talk of collecting on insurance payouts as losses occur. These are both valid points but I feel are just a diversion from the real action.

Once a JSI has a jeweller’s customer, they will collect a premium every year based on items and values. I believe the key to motivating the jewellery industry as a whole is for JSIs to share these year-on-year premiums with jewellers. Formal contracts between the JSI and the jeweller who supplies the customer will encourage a strong bond of mutual support if they include clear and fair financial remuneration.

In closing, I have to say I cannot believe that no jewellery trade association has offered a model that supports jewellers with great cover for their customers and a fair share of the premiums on offer. I feel this would be a fantastic way to support the jewellery industry. If jewellers reading this are members of a trade association then I would encourage them to ask regularly and loudly why this is not a reality. Associations are always asking how they can better serve members. Well, wouldn’t this be a great way?


Name: Chris Hood
Business: Metal Urges Fine Jewellery
Position: Owner
Location: Hobart, Tasmania
Years in the industry: 23




















Wednesday, 23 May, 2018 01:48am
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