What a second hand engagement or wedding ring – Now is the time to buy
This is a list of the top ten domestic items lost in the Brisbane Floods,
1. General jewellery $19.6 m
2. Computers $14.0 m
3. Engagement & wedding rings $12.9 m
4. Fridges $3.9 m
4. TVs $3.9 m
6. Game consoles and games $640,000
7. Cuff Links $73,000
8. Prescription Glasses $22,000
9. Home brew kits/home drink-making $21,000
10. Hair products and appliances $20,000
11. Body piercings (excluding earrings) $17,000
12. Body massage tables and o/equipment $13,000
Source: SUNCORP/THE COURIER-MAIL
The large amount of engagement and wedding rings really surprised me. LMI Group do not normally handle domestic claims but we did assist one insurer who came to us after the Brisbane floods asking us to handle their most important clients. We looked after nearly 100 such claims and in all cases as the flood happened during the day we found that the women had their wedding and engagement rings on their fingers and the items were not involved in the flood.
In one case the rings no longer fitted the owner any more and the rings were sitting on a bedside table. After the flood waters receded our loss manager was present when the rings were found just where they were sitting. This was expected as the flooding in Brisbane was not like Toowoomba or Laidley where the water was rushing but a slow creeping rise and fall.
What we did have in two cases is that volunteers stole jewellery while in the house under the pretext of helping clean up. In one case they were caught and the rings and jewellery recovered while in the other the rings were gone for good.
If our experience is anything to go on something is amiss. Three things come to mind. 1) Theft of jewellery and other precious items was more prevalent than first thought. 2) a great many Insureds staged the loss of their wedding and or engagrment rings or 3) Kim Kardashian lost her wedding ring in the Brisbane floods and this one claim skewed the amount,
I think we can safely ignore possibility 3) which leads me to believe that there must be a lot of wedding and engagement rings or eBay or in pawn brokers. So if you are in the market for a good second hand ring now is a good time to buy.
Seriously though, stealing from someone who has had their home flooded and who is already extremely stressed is a really wicked act and anyone found guilty of it should be imprisoned for a long stretch as a well-deserved punishment and a deterrent to others while the insurance industry takes insurance fraud very seriously. We all end up paying more for our insurance due to the actions of the dishonest few (perhaps based on these numbers it is a bit more than a few). If found guilty of insurance fraud, on top of a criminal conviction, it is all but impossible to purchase any sort of insurance again, car, home, or contents. To have no insurance for the rest of your life is something I would not wish on anyone.
The Insurance Council of Australia say this about insurance fraud:
Many in the community believe that insurance fraud is a victimless crime, that the only ones to suffer a loss are large faceless insurance companies.
In research carried out by the Insurance Council 25% of people interviewed claimed to know somebody who has committed insurance fraud, 20% endorsed the padding or exaggeration of an insurance claim and 38% believed that insurers can afford the cost and that there are no losers.
However, insurance fraud is a cost on the provision of insurance that ultimately contributes to the cost to members of the public through higher insurance premiums.
If you know someone who did put in a bogus claim I strongly recommend that you contact the Insurance Fraud Hotline is available on 1300 600 444 (24×7). Callers can request that their details remain anonymous if they wish or email information to firstname.lastname@example.org
If on the other hand you or one of your family members did genuinely lose their jewellery, particularly a wedding or engagement ring you have my deepest and sincere sympathy. Insurance nor anything else cannot replace sentimentality.