A few hours after midnight on Monday morning, Kim Kardashian West was robbed at gunpoint in her Paris hotel of what is now estimated to be more than $10 million worth of jewelry — a story that has captivated the media, both in Europe and the U.S., in the days since.
As there is little chance the jewels will be recovered, Kardashian is now presumably about to enter into a complicated claims process with her insurance company — most likely Lloyd’s of London (which specializes in insurance for multimillion-dollar gems), according to Scott Andrew Selby, co-author of Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History.
But how much Kardashian West will receive for the loss (assuming, of course, that each piece was insured) depends on a number of factors, including the category and conditions of her coverage. “It all depends on the type of jewelry coverage the customer purchased,” Janece White, North American vice president of underwriting and jewelry specialist at Chubb Personal Risk Services, a multinational property and casualty insurer, tells Billboard. “Was it worldwide coverage? Was there a maximum amount of coverage provided while traveling? Were there any restrictions with regard to the security required while traveling with the jewelry? In some instances restrictions are placed on the policy, which require that when traveling the jewelry be kept in a secure hotel safe — not the room safe.”
The conditions of Elizabeth Taylor’s insurance on the famous, 69.42 carat Taylor-Burton diamond, for example, specified that Taylor should only wear it in public 30 days per year and when protected by security guards, according to Lloyd’s. If anything had happened to the diamond while violating those conditions, she would not have received the full value of her claim.
Assuming Kardashian West is indeed insured, and was following the dictates of her policy to a T, the claims process will still be complicated. “Very high value, unique and rare items can be tricky to replace with pieces of ‘like kind and quality,’ which is the standard for most insurance companies,” Heather Perkins, head of underwriting at Los Angeles-based jewelry insurance specialist Lavalier, tells Billboard. “So a multi-million dollar claim like this one is going to be difficult, both to investigate and to resolve.”
It is common for those who own jewels as pricey at Kardashian West’s to wear imitation jewelry while traveling — something White strongly suggests for other owners of high-ticket items. And if an imitation set is not an option, storing the jewels in the hotel security safe when they aren’t being worn is a must. “I would also be wary of making my whereabouts known, as individuals who could wish me harm could use that information,” she adds. “And lastly, because even when all precautions are taken, sometimes bad things happen. I would want to make sure I had the best insurance coverage in place to protect my valuables.”