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Stolen jewellery

The Insured, who resided in Lenasia, was the victim of an armed robbery at his home. During the course of the robbery, a large quantity of jewellery and watches owned by the Insured was stolen. The Insured submitted a claim against his Insurer but liability was rejected on the grounds that any items not being worn on the person of the Insured at the time of the loss, must be kept in a strong room or locked safe, which cannot be removed from the premises. The Insured thereafter appealed to the Ombudsman for assistance.

In its response to the Insured’s complaint, the Insurer maintained that the Insured could only provide the assessor with a valuation certificate for his daughter’s engagement ring which had been made out some four months prior to the burglary. The Insurer maintained that the Insured could not produce proof of ownership or purchase, nor did he possess valuation certificates for the items alleged to have been lost. The Insurer did not persist with the original grounds of rejection after its attention was drawn to the fact that the Insured was forced, at gun point, to point out where the jewellery was kept. The Insured and members of his family were severely assaulted. The house was ransacked and many of the Insured’s personal papers, receipts and certificates were destroyed or were covered with blood, rendering them unusable.

The Ombudsman called upon the Insured to depose to a sworn affidavit setting out in detail the items alleged to have been lost accompanied by photographs and other supporting information indicating where and how the items which had been lost had been acquired. The Insured was also requested to obtain quotations for the replacement of the lost jewellery from a jeweller. This information was submitted to the Insurer.

The Insurer subsequently, based upon the information provided, agreed to increase its offer of settlement and the Insurer’s offer was accepted by the Insured.

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