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The Story of a Royal Burglar. Is it possible to protect precious goods?

There was a time when in the Italian Riviera the robberies of a gentleman thief were commonplace in local media. He had intelligence, charm and good manners and never used physical force to steal. His name was Renato (René) Rinino but he preferred to be called the “Arsène Lupin” of the Italian Riviera since this beautiful region was for several years the scenario of his criminal enterprise.

One day this burglar decided to internationalize his crimes and in February 1994 stole 50.000 pounds worth of jewellery from Prince Charles’s private residence, the St. James Palace. The booty included several watches, a pair of Fabergé cufflinks, some tie pins, two Cartier precious boxes, five brooches, but above all, it seems, some private letters between the Prince and Mrs Camilla Parker-Bowles. At this time, Prince Charles was married to Lady Diana and we can easily understand that this material was a source of embarrassment for the Royal Family…

After three years from the date of the theft, according to the Italian law, Mr Rinino was no longer prosecutable and he wished to hand back everything directly to the Prince without asking any payment except a handshake. And so, the jewels and the letters were handed over by the Italian Authorities to Prince Charles but unfortunately, the famous thief never met Prince Charles, though it seems that he received a personal thanks from him.

Nowadays, the time of gentlemen thieves is over and probably anybody would have the same luck to have his stolen jewels returned. Recently, I was remembering this phantasmagoric story with some friends and I was wondering about the precautions and measures that we can take to protect our precious goods and in particular jewellery.

To the purpose, I met in Lausanne (Switzerland) Mrs Jessica Magurano who owns LM Management Company whose mission is to ensure fine art collections, high-value jewellery, yachts, private jets, luxury cars and watches of her clients. Bespoke policies are available for all these items but LM specializes mainly in jewellery and fine watches.

I interviewed Mrs Magurano about her job:

Why do you think it is important to ensure goods of a certain value, especially jewellery? High Jewellery item is exceptional good, sometimes unique. Someone who buys a one-of-a-kind piece makes a real investment both in economic and emotional terms. Therefore, these exceptional items cannot be insured in the same way as a conventional object. In addition, these jewels are also conceived to be worn, to travel, to be stored in different places and sometimes even to be exhibited. These jewels have a life of their own which sometimes spans entire generations and must be preserved in a correct way.

What kind of coverage do you offer your customers? Exceptional objects, exceptional coverages! We offer “all-risk” solutions, which go far beyond the conventional coverage offered by standard insurance. We offer coverage against theft, but also against the loss or breakage of your item even if you are the author of this unfortunate loss. Another important element that we can preserve is the increase in the value of the precious good, providing a tailored insurance policy.

What is the feedback of your customers? Excellent! Our clients feel cared for and reassured in their social activities, since they will be more inclined to happily wear their luxury watch or their unique jewels, knowing that everything is insured against loss, theft or even breakage. On the other hand, there is also a cheap side of such insurance. In reality, the price of the premium is not that expensive. The premium system is calculated on a rate and risk ratio according to the client’s needs. We generally talk of a 10-12/1000 rate of the value of the insured part, knowing that the more expensive is the item to be insured, the lower is the rate.

The rate applied to a collection worth one million will be lower than the rate applied to a collection worth 100.000 €. The important thing is making the effort to know our clients and their collections, to build a long-term relationship based on reciprocal esteem. The jewels have an importance that goes beyond the market value. They tell us a story from generation to generation.

As George Eliot used to say: “The gems have life in them: their colours speak, say what words fail of”.

Enjoy even more @ LM Management


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