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04/26/2022

CSA Exclusive: Robert Irwin Jewelers offers digital insurance

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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A regional Southeast jewelry retailer is streamlining the process for customers to insure their purchases.

Based in Memphis, family-owned Robert Irwin Jewelers operates five stores in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas. The retailer leverages the specialized online jewelry insurance platform from BriteCo, a direct-to-consumer jewelry and watch insurance company, to make it as easy as possible for customers to obtain insurance for their goods.

We've always helped our customers procure insurance for their jewelry,” Howard Knopf, CEO of Robert Irwin Jewelers, said in a recent exclusive interview with Chain Store Age. “Until BriteCo came along, the process was cumbersome. Now, our customers get a custom quote via text message or email, which allows them to get insured before they leave our store. That's a game-changer.”

One key aspect of the BriteCo platform which has made it convenient on the retailer’s side of the transaction is the fact it is cloud-based. Knopf described some of the advantages Robert Irwin has obtained as a result.

“Because the platform is based on the cloud, it took literally minutes to set up my managers and stores to be able to use it,” stated Knopf. “The interface is intuitive and the appraisal output is consistent.”

According to Knopf, insuring products via the BriteCo solution is also easier and faster for the retailer than its previous manual process.

“I have multiple stores and one of my pain points was making sure each store location did appraisals timely and uniformly,” he said. “Also, in lots of cases, a few days would pass before an associate or store manager would be able to sit down and write the appraisal. Now it takes minutes, and the customer can walk out of our store with an appraisal and with their jewelry insured. In addition, shoppers appreciate the no-obligation quote for A+ rated insurance.  

Knopf said the BriteCo appraisal system has reduced the time it takes to conduct and provide an accurate and professional-looking appraisal for Robert Irwin’s customers by 90%.

“Customers can get insured on their phones in a matter of minutes, and if they make a claim, BriteCo works with Robert Irwin to replace the item and make sure the customer is happy,” explained Knopf.

Looking ahead, Robert Irwin plans to continue working with BriteCo as the technology company upgrades its solution.

“BriteCo has added a lot of value to the in-store experience for my customers,” concluded Knopf. “They are continuously making improvements revising and adding to their appraisal systems. We have had some great conversations and discussed some new ideas that I'm looking forward to working with BriteCo on in the future.”

Dustin Lemick, founder and CEO of BriteCo, added some thoughts on the digital insurance model.

“At BriteCo, we’ve democratized the jewelry insurance market by making the process of buying jewelry insurance faster, easier and more affordable than ever before,” said Lemick. “Developing a unique, specialized jewelry insurance program and gaining efficiencies with proprietary underwriting tools allows us to offer a highly competitive product in an industry that’s lagged in leveraging digital technology to improve the consumer buying experience.” 

As Robert Irwin moves forward with its digital insurance offering, jewelry sales are showing positive momentum. Jewelry sales in February 2022 rose 22.4% year-over-year and were up 24.2% compared to the pre-pandemic period, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse data.