Certified Insurance Appraiser™

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Frequently Asked Questions
About the CIA™ Course

I have taken ASA, ISA, NAJA, etc., courses. What would the CIA™ course teach me that I didn't already get from these programs?

The short answer is two-fold: 1) over 90% of all jewelry appraisals are for insurance purposes, and 2) the insurance industry has its own jewelry appraisal standards.

The CIA™ course is specially designed so qualified jewelers and appraisers can become familiar with the insurance industry’s own standards. Our CIA™ course is the only program of its kind that is certified by the insurance industry’s own jewelry appraisal standards. It provides training that is not taught anywhere else.

Many jewelry industry appraisal organizations have offered classes on insurance and appraising for insurance. Though well intended, these classes have fallen short in providing the kind of information the insurance industry wants or needs. That's why the insurance industry's own standards body, ACORD, established the ACORD Jewelry Insurance Standards in 1997. Incorporated into those standards was a special training program to certify qualified jewelers and appraisers.

These standards, established by ACORD, are now available through JISO, the Jewelry Insurance Standards Organization (www.jiso.org). The training program to certify qualified jewelers and appraisers is offered through JCRS.

The CIA™ course doesn't overlap or repeat what you've learned already; it will, however, open your eyes to the needs of insurance industry agents, underwriters, and adjusters. The course specifically addresses insurance issues, how the insurance industry operates, and why it needs special information that only a trained certified jeweler or appraiser can provide. Among other things, the course includes a series of exercises that provide insight into what it’s like to be an insurance underwriter and adjuster.

In short, our four-day CIA™ course is unique, providing information available from no other program.


Another appraisal training program — what's in it for me?

Quite simply, more customers, more sales, more referral business, and enhanced professional credibility.

Insurance professionals are increasingly aware that not all jewelry appraisals meet insurance industry standards. These professionals want to do business with and refer their customers to qualified jewelers and appraisers who can prepare appraisals to the insurance industry’s JISO/ACORD Jewelry Insurance Standards.

If you have a GG or FGA+ degree, and you have three years' jewelry experience, you meet the prerequisites for Certified Insurance Appraiser™ training. The CIA™ designation will distinguish you as a gemologist who is trained and authorized to prepare appraisals to JISO/ACORD Jewelry Insurance Standards. Once you earn the CIA™ designation, insurance agents will be able to refer their customers to you with confidence.


What’s the big deal about the JISO/ACORD Jewelry Insurance Standards?

Every industry has its own organizations, certifying bodies, membership criteria, and other distinguishing features for professional recognition. As you know, the jewelry industry has no single organization that sets appraisal standards. Rather, there are a number of different associations and certification organizations within the jewelry industry, each with its own standards. Some standards are more complete than others, and the differences between them can be confusing.

In the insurance industry, ACORD is the organization that describes, publishes, regulates, and maintains the standards that apply to hundreds of procedures, issues, and technical details that agents and insurance companies adhere to. If something conforms to the ACORD Standard, agents and companies can rely on it with confidence.

The Jewelry Insurance Standards, established by ACORD and now supported through JISO, are standards that insurance professionals rely on when underwriting and insuring jewelry. A JISO/ACORD jewelry appraisal attests to the precise gemological characteristics and gives all details the carrier needs to properly insure an item of jewelry.

The JISO/ACORD Jewelry Insurance Standards depend on the expertise of trained and certified jewelers and appraisers. Because insurance companies assume a financial risk when they issue insurance, it only makes sense that the insurance industry should protect its interest by certifying a program that trains jewelers and appraisers in the appraisal criteria important to insurers.

 The Certified Insurance Appraiser™ course is the only jewelry appraisal training course sanctioned by the insurance industry.


What about other appraisals? Insurance companies will use any appraisal they receive, even the ones I’ve provided.

It’s true that there are other appraisal standards and forms, some better than others. But that’s a big part of the problem. For the insurance industry the question is, “Which standard can we truly rely on to properly insure the item of jewelry?” While past experience may tell you that insurance companies do indeed take any appraisal, that is changing — and fairly quickly.

JCRS also offers basic jewelry training for insurance professionals — agents, CSRs, underwriters, and claims adjusters. These agents know how to distinguish good appraisals from those that aren’t. These agents represent companies you know, such as State Farm, Allstate, Farmers, Nationwide, AAA, Chubb, American Family, SAFECO, The Hartford, Travelers, Zurich, and many others.

The point? Agents everywhere want to know where they can send their customers for a reliable JISO/ACORD jewelry appraisal.

There is only one kind of jeweler or appraiser who can provide that kind of appraisal — a Certified Insurance Appraiser™ who has been trained to JISO/ACORD standards. Once you earn the CIA™ designation, insurance agents will be able to refer their customers to you with confidence.


My customers are happy with my appraisals. Why should I change my way of doing things?

Detailed and reliable information is so important to jewelry insurers that some companies are offering incentives for customers to submit appraisals that meet the JISO/ACORD standards. For example, JIBNA Personal Jewelry Insurance offers significant premium discounts to clients who provide such appraisals. As word of this gets around, jewelry buyers will start asking for JISO/ACORD appraisals.


I’m a jeweler with a successful business. Why should I care about appraisals, the insurance industry, and jewelry insurance?

If you’re not interested in doing appraisals, that’s fine. But customers need an appraisal to purchase insurance. So, if you don’t, can’t, or won’t provide the appraisal, your customer will have to go to someone else who does, can, and will — probably your competitor.

Most everyone who purchases fine jewelry will purchase insurance to protect it against loss, damage, or theft. When a jewelry customer goes to purchase insurance, the agent will need important details about the item. These details are factored into the underwriting process and help determine premiums.

Customers want to be insured for the true amount and not overpay based on an inflated appraisal. Insurance companies also want to know that they are properly insuring the item so that a fair and accurate settlement can be paid in the event a claim is filed.

Thus, your jewelry customer and his/her insurance agent and company rely on your expertise. Those jewelers who have earned the CIA™ designation, which meets the criteria of the JISO/ACORD Jewelry Insurance Standard, are able to provide appraisals the insurance industry and its customers can count on. A trusted jeweler becomes a source for repeat and referral business from customers and insurers alike.

At the same time, a CIA-written appraisal is a big value-add for your customers. Because some insurance companies offer significant premium discounts for such appraisals, you have an extra way to save your customers money.


If your Certified Insurance Appraiser™ Course is so good, why haven’t I heard more about it in jewelry industry publications and literature?

Jewelry industry publications seem not to regard insurance as a subject of direct interest to jewelers, so they’ve been lax about covering what jewelry insurers need. But more enlightened jewelers have indeed taken the initiative to learn about writing appraisals to insurance industry standards. Many others have yet to make appraisals for insurance purposes a high-priority business opportunity.

Furthermore, jewelry industry publications seem to be reluctant to provide fair and balanced coverage to the issue of appraisals, especially those for insurance purposes.

Incidentally, the CIA™ course has been offered since 1994.


Which insurance companies endorse the CIA™ course?

As a matter of practice, insurance companies do not give endorsements; instead, they encourage various initiatives through a network of industry organizations. Within the insurance industry, ACORD is the recognized standards organization that oversees various practices, processes, forms, and technology standards. The CIA™ course was written into and included as part of the ACORD standards in 1998. The ACORD jewelry standards are now overseen by JISO, an insurance industry trust.


If I take your CIA™ course, can you help me get appraisal jobs from insurance companies?

There seems to be a general misunderstanding among jewelers that insurance companies are the requesters of a jewelry appraisal. Actually, the request for an appraisal usually starts with the customer and often at the suggestion or request of the customer’s insurance agent.

An insurance company needs to know about the item being insured before it can issue coverage. But the process starts when the customer contacts an insurance agent. In turn, the agent prepares an insurance application that includes information about the customer and the item to be insured. The agent then forwards that information to the insurance company. The process for evaluating the risk and issuing coverage for the item is called underwriting.

Thus, the best way to get appraisal jobs is to market your services to your customers and the insurance agents in your community. There are only a few hundred insurance companies nationwide, but hundreds of thousands of agents. And depending on the size of your community, there could be several hundred insurance agents who are potential users of your appraisal services.

Our CIA™ course includes a specific unit called "Marketing Your CIA™ Skills." We also provide our graduates with a variety of marketing support materials that help promote their Certified Insurance Appraiser™ training. While we cannot guarantee that insurance professionals will be knocking on your door, our instruction aims at teaching attendees how to market their skill and expertise to get immediate payback from new clients. If you’re a CIA™ who provides appraisals that comply with JISO/ACORD Jewelry Insurance Standards, JCRS will provide that information to our insurance industry students, as well as both insurance professionals and consumers who visit our Web site.


Why should I spend $1250 plus travel expenses just to take the CIA™ course?

The fee and expenses are a very small investment compared to the potential return you will get as a result of your CIA™ certification. For example, referrals from an insurance agent could yield a series of customers who not only need appraisals for insurance purposes (for which you will charge a fee), but also create good will that will likely generate additional jewelry sales. One or two customers should easily cover your costs for obtaining valuable CIA™ certification.

Certified Insurance Appraisers™ make up a very small and select group of jewelry professionals, thus giving you a competitive advantage over the many other jewelers who have few or no jewelry credentials at all.


Why should I spend four days in classroom training? Why isn’t a correspondence or Internet course available?

The technical nature and detail of the material covered in the CIA™ course is best appreciated in an interactive classroom environment. Experience has shown that jewelers have a multitude of questions about the insurance industry that cannot be anticipated and only come to light during classroom discussion. We assume jewelers know their business and are taking the course to become knowledgeable about the insurance business, an endeavor that is best served through classroom training.

The classroom experience incorporates role-playing and other participatory exercises in which jewelers assume the roles of underwriters and adjusters in learning the intricacies of jewelry insurance and the importance of their appraisals.


Where did you get my name and address?

Our programs are available to all jewelry professionals who meet course pre-requisites. We use a variety of widely available industry sources to locate pre-qualified jewelers, so we can encourage and invite them to take advantage of our unique training program.