We have all heard the old adage “Time is money.” For this Contents Claims Solved, we may need to change that adage to “For some people, it takes a whole lot of money to keep time.”

A leading insurer consulted contents claims specialists on a claim regarding a very rare watch made by a renowned Swiss watchmaker. The carrier wrote an agreed value policy for $611,000 with a provision that it would cover any appreciation in value beyond the agreed amount if market conditions caused an increase in value. The watch was involved in a loss and the insured’s jeweler located a duplicate of the watch that had been pre-owned with a price of $750,000. The carrier needed to know if the $750,000 claim was reasonable and accurate.

Case Background

Contents claims jewelry experts determined the watch was very rare. In fact, they found that only six watches of that kind were ever made. Objects with very low production numbers present unique challenges to appraisers, namely a lack of comparable sales to form an opinion of value.

Faced with this scenario, most appraisers would accept the $750,000 used watch offered for sale as an appropriate comparable item and call it a day. This particular contents claims team, however, went one step further, applying their knowledge of policies and coverage, claims situational awareness, and subject matter expertise to reach a different conclusion.

After exhausting common avenues, the jewelry experts used their trade contacts to identify a well-placed employee of the watchmaking firm in Switzerland and telephoned him directly. Contents specialists determined from the conversation that there were indeed only six of these watches ever made, however the warranty registration records only accounted for five of the watches as having been sold at the retail level. Next, the contents team identified and tracked down the jeweler in Switzerland who was the last known owner of the unsold watch.

Click to find out what happened next!

The Result

Overcoming language barriers, the contents team negotiated an “out-the-door price” for the last (new) example of this watch for slightly less than the agreed value policy amount. The result was a payment to the policyholder for the agreed amount of $611,000, as the additional $140,000 value appreciation claim was found to be unwarranted. In addition, the carrier had provided the value added service of locating the last remaining new watch of this kind for the policyholder.