Jewellers’ Block Pre-risk assessment

Nowadays, the pre-risk surveyor’s expertise has to overstep frontiers to be able to operate in different countries. A proper risk assessment of the location insured is the key to prevent, limit or even avoid the outcome of thefts and robberies.

In the recent past, very large heists in the jewellery arena have been carried out, especially in Europe. A few samples are reported at the bottom of this article, but others were in any case significant, like the theft occurred in London, at Hatton Garden, on April 2015 or like the one occurred on the 23rd of May 2017 to Buccellati in Paris, while writing this article.

Either we talk of thefts or robberies, we may divide these crimes in two categories: the ones, which could be avoided with a proper risk assessment/management, and the ones for which a proper risk assessment/management could not be sufficient to prevent the crime, but could have potentially limited the amount stolen.

It may seem a pretentious statement to say, especially after the occurrence of a crime, that it could be avoided with a proper risk assessment and management. But the evaluation of the level of risk of a specific location, that could be either a jewellery shop, a manufacturing site, a jewellery exhibition or else, is what specifically distinguish our Specie work. It is done thanks to the expertise gained in over two decades of pre-risk assessment and loss handling of thousands of cases in this specific arena, in Europe, Asia and USA.

We do think surely possible to prevent a single robber from stealing more than a hundred million worth of jewellery from an exhibition site. But the location has to be adequately secured. As a result of what appears to be a poor risk assessment/management of the event, the crime described above is what happened to the Lev Avnerovich Leviev jewellery collection, displayed in a Hotel in Cannes in 2013. And amazingly, the lone robber could take possession of the values and flee away in only 58 seconds!

A more careful statement should be made concerning crimes organised with the involvement of people working inside the insured’s location (infidelity). The case of the Henry Winston heist in Paris in December 2008 is emblematic. Mr Mouloud Djennad, who provided insider information, was a security guard working at the store. He also let the criminals entering the shop to carry out the robbery. Difficult to challenge this crime, but probably possible to structure panic passive devices to send an alarm during the robbery, if this kind of devices would have been managed in a very reserved manner and not disclosed to all the people working in the shop.

As a matter of fact, a proper risk management involving an in-depth analysis of the local crimes history, the evaluation of the premises and of the passive and active security in place, compared to the sums at risk, must originate a clear picture of the risk and of any potential exposure to thefts or robberies. When this is ascertained, effective security measures have to be recommended to protect the people working in the location, as well as the values themselves. Alternative possible solutions can be found, explained and discussed with the insured, in order to properly secure the risk. We learned that a full explanation of the risk exposure make it easier to obtain the insured’s agreement to implement the existing security, when not adequate. And more than one solution to secure the risk (when possible) can provide the insured with the opportunity to choose the one that suits him, without being obliged to simply follow the surveyor’s way.

The pre-risk assessment of the risk cannot exclude the knowledge of the local resources made available to secure the risk. In fact, depending on the country in which the risk is based and on the rules and regulations in force, it would be possible to implement specific alarm transmission devices (more or less technologically effective), or use security companies with armed or unarmed guards, or simply rely on the police intervention where armed guards are not available/allowed.

Europe is substantially different from the Far East or the USA. But even remaining within Europe, we can find substantial differences on the instruments and structures available to manage the security of a risk.

It is therefore part of the pre-risk surveyor’s expertise, the knowledge of the peculiar aspects of any country in which he operates.

The opportunity to be part of GM Consultant with offices in Europe, Far East, North, Central and South America, make it possible to collect expertise on each of the countries involved, to improve the level of service offered and to structure a high level security based on the effective resources of each country.


Riccardo GRELLA, Italy Director, Head of Specie

Diane MACCURY, Specie Loss Adjuster


Henry Winston – Paris, December 2008

Armed men in wigs pull off £70m robbery at top Paris jewellery store – Harry Winston

Graff jewellers, London – £40m, August 2009

Wearing make-up and suits to pose as legitimate customers, the gang carries out Britain’s biggest jewellery raid in just two minutes

Diarsa, Madrid – £19.5m, December 2012

The gang – whose ringleader was known as The Troll – use laser equipment to break into a distribution centre where they crack open safes and scoop up more than 1,700 luxury watches.

Cannes Film Festival – £2m, May 2013

Thieves make off with a £1.7m necklace during a celebrity party attended by the likes of Sharon Stone and Paris Hilton.

A week earlier, £660,000 of Chopard jewels had also been stolen when a hotel room safe was ripped from the room.

Carlton Hotel, Cannes – £88m, July 2013

A lone gunman enters the hotel in the luxury French resort in broad daylight and less than a minute later escapes on foot with a suitcase full of jewels that were on show in a private hotel salon,  which was poorly guarded, the two guards having no weapons.

Henry Winston, Cannes – £ 13 million, January 2017

Thief nabs €15 million of jewellery in Cannes robbery – A robber who posed as a customer stole €15 million ($16 million) worth of jewellery from a shop in the French riviera of Cannes