Jewelers Mutual announces measures to aid Katrina-impacted policyholders

Jewelers Mutual is aiding Gulf Coast policyholders hit by Hurricane Katrina’s in various ways, including covering transfer of jewelry to safer locations at no added cost; extending policies and payment periods; and covering loss of income.

“We are prepared to help our customers through this crisis both financially and with the necessary people resources,” said Darin Kath, president and chief operating officer, in a Sept. 14 statement detailing what Jewelers Mutual is doing. This includes:

* Extending the time period to renew policies and pay premiums. Commercial and personal jewelry policyholders in affected areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama have until Oct. 31, if their policies expire between Aug. 26 and Oct. 31. “If policyholders in the hurricane-hit areas aren’t able to pay their premiums, we’ll extend their policies,” said Kath.

* Providing coverage at no added premium for commercial policyholders who want to move merchandise from their businesses—most seem to have been in safes—and transport it to more secure locations. Jewelers Mutual isn’t requiring policyholders do so, said Kath, but some are concerned about the safety of their jewelry, particularly their customers’ items. Some have hired armored carriers to transport jewelry to another of their stores (if they have several locations); a colleague’s store, or a bank for temporary storage. Jewelers Mutual is also covering the jewelry at its temporary location, for no added premium.

* Paying up to three weeks loss of income to commercial policyholders with businessowners policies, under the civil ordinance coverage in the policies. Policyholders should contact Jewelers Mutual’s Claim Department (800 558-6411).

* Sending its adjusters to visit and assist all commercial policyholders—whether or not they filed a claim—in Katrina-affected areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. In addition, as of Sept. 13, Jewelers Mutual’s adjusters have been granted special permits to enter some sections of New Orleans and will assist other New Orleans policyholders as soon as authorities let them to enter the damaged areas. Jewelers Mutual is helping in other ways, too.

* When the 2005 hurricane season began, Jewelers Mutual mailed a Hurricane Preparedness Guide to commercial policyholders in all hurricane-prone states. It tells how to develop a business continuity plan and protect merchandise. The Guide was written after 2004’s series of hurricanes in Florida, to help customers prepare for and recover from hurricanes. A free downloadable version is available at www.jewelersmutual.com.

* As always, policyholders can report claims to Jewelers Mutual 24 hours a day, seven days a week at its toll-free number, 800-558-6411.

* The company has contributed $25,000 to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts in areas hit by Katrina. In addition, its 150 employees raised contributions, which it matched, through fund-raising activities to donate to Red Cross.

“Our thoughts are with all our policyholders and everyone impacted by this disaster, as they recover and begin to rebuild their lives and businesses,” said Kath.

The company, based in Neenah, Wis., was founded in 1913. It currently insures more than 10,000 jewelers and $1.7 billion of individuals’ jewelry. It is the only U.S. insurer specializing exclusively in jewelers and jewelry.