The world’s first 3D printed jewellery insurance claim service has been launched in the UK.
SBS Insurance Services has collaborated with Birmingham City University’s Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre, Cooksongold and The Assay Office Birmingham to successfully replace a range of bespoke items through the use of 3D printing technology, much to the delight of the policyholders who had assumed they would be lost forever.
This is a major innovation in the insurance industry, which has faced increasing costs and complaints around jewellery claims. The project was funded by Innovate UK as part of a Knowledge Transfer Programme.
Results from the first trials of this approach show that SBS Insurance Services are able to replace items faster and cheaper, with savings of 30-50% against High Street prices.
Paul Fairbrass, technical director at SBS Insurance Services, explains: “The major problem for insurers is that they are often faced with valuing and settling claims for high value items based on vague descriptions and old records, such as photographs, out-dated valuations or old sales invoices. Once an item has been validated, the insurer must find a matching equivalent from a limited range on offer from retailers. This can be impossible with bespoke items or family heirlooms.
“Alternatively, a bespoke item can be manufactured using wax casts to try and replicate the item. But this has been expensive, cumbersome, and it makes the claims process very slow for the customer who might, even then, not be pleased with the replacement item. Consequently, many insurers opt for a cash or voucher settlement – which doesn’t always achieve the best outcome for the customer or the best value solution for the insurer.”
Fairbrass continues: “We’ve now proved that 3D printing completely changes what is possible and this innovation is not just relevant to jewellery claims. The longer term impact of 3D printing technology for other insurance claims is likely to be hugely significant.”