The market for rented fashion and accessories is booming—the success of Rent the Runway, Style Lend, and other online and clicks-and-bricks businesses that rent fashion to consumers is proof of that.
But can the model work for the jewelry industry? After all, renting a handbag or dress is considerably less risky for retailers than loaning out a pair of $10,000 diamond earrings.
Jewelers unBLOCKed, a New Jersey–based insurance portfolio that specializes in underwriting block policies for jewelry retailers and other professionals, has introduced an insurance program to minimize that risk.
The program is designed to provide insurance coverage for the rental of fine jewelry, whether that rental period is a single night or several weeks.
“In the past decade we’ve seen huge success for companies who rent high-end fashion items to consumers,” says Patricia K. Low, president and CEO. “We are now seeing this phenomenon extend lucratively into the jewelry category…We developed our program as a way to provide another valuable tool to assist the industry in meeting the needs and desires of the new consumer while minimizing the risk involved.”
We asked Low to elaborate on the unique program:
JCK: Can you break down how the setup and coverage work?
Patricia Low: What would happen is if a jeweler was interested in this, or if they’re already in the marketplace renting, we would be able to add additional coverage on to a jeweler’s block policy; it would be seamless. We work with jewelers to see what their risk appetite is. Then we customize a form that we’d add to their policy.
Patricia Low of Jewelers unBLOCKed
JCK: Can you give the retailer an idea of cost for this?
Low: The rates are all going to be negotiable. It’s a matter of figuring out how much risk they want to hold and how much risk they want to surrender. We would also cover the shipping of the piece, which is [unusual].
JCK: Beyond retailers, who can access this insurance program?
Low: It’s not only for retailers; it’s for anyone in the jewelry industry—wholesalers, anyone who works with private clients. Our job is to try to help them create revenue and allow them to embrace innovation…We have a program called Collect Edition that covers private collections for individuals.
JCK: What made you think the time was right for an insurance program that covers rentals?
Low: One of the things we try to do is be responsive to our clients. Some of our clients had requested coverage like this. It became clear that this was something that was happening. Most carriers are very rule-oriented. And we try to be the opposite—we try to be very innovative and flexible. The thought was, let’s find a way to provide coverage of this new activity that’s really happening.
JCK: What’s been the response from clients to the program so far?
Low: It’s been very good. We’ve written a few for clients already and we’ve only just rolled this out. I think our initial offering is competitive and responsive to the needs of the industry. But I think you have to continue to improve those offerings. We will continue to listen to their clients.
(Image courtesy of US News)