Editorial: Evaluating Jeweler’s Risks of Using Zing and BriteCo

Are retail jewelers acting as insurance agents for these companies?

As a state-licensed Property and Casualty Insurance Adjuster (TDI#1300433), I want to take a few minutes to discuss the  Zing® (by Jewelers Mutual) and BriteCo™ “appraisal” platforms with you. Your role as a retail jeweler is integral to the industry, and reviewing both websites this morning reinforced what I already knew about these efforts, but I don’t think the jewelry industry is fully aware of the potential pitfalls.

Both Zing and BriteCo offer what they tout as free appraisal software that instantly produces what they call “Professional Appraisals” for any retail jeweler using their program. These companies use the information gathered to produce insurance coverage applications. What appears to be free appraisal software is actually an insurance policy application disguised as an appraisal. This raises many legal and ethical questions for the retail jeweler. While the final determination will need to come from the state Insurance Commissioner’s offices, a look at the insurance codes and statutes should raise serious concerns for any hometown retail jeweler who participates.

When a retail jeweler uses the free “appraisal” software from these companies, it’s crucial to understand what is really happening from an insurance regulation point of view. Let’s review some specific issues to ensure you are fully informed and aware.

Insurance License Required to take Insurance Applications

Although insurance regulations vary by state, most states have a very uniform application of laws regarding what constitutes an “insurance agent.” For our purposes, and since this is my home state, we will deal with Texas. The Texas Insurance Code under Title 13, Regulations of Professionals, Chapter 4001 Agent Licensing in General, Subchapter B. Acts Constituting Acting as Agent  states:



(b) ….a person is the agent of the insurer…if the person:

(1)  solicits insurance on behalf of the insurer;

(2)  receives or transmits other than on the person’s own behalf an application for insurance or an insurance policy to or from the insurer;

(3)  advertises or otherwise gives notice that the person will receive or transmit an application for insurance or an insurance policy;

In reviewing both the Zing and BriteCo websites, it is very apparent that both are

  1. Using the local retail jeweler to solicit insurance business.
  2. The appraisal documents are the de facto insurance application since they immediately generate quotes for insurance policies and
  3. The jeweler advertises that the customer will receive a quote for an insurance policy as an integral part of the appraisal.

Based on the Texas Insurance Statute under Title 13, it is a logical conclusion that jewelers who use the Zing or BriteCo software platforms act as agents for these companies. But let’s go one step further. Subchapter C of the Texas Insurance Code specifically states the insurance license requirements and what unlicensed retail jewelers cannot do.


Sec. 4001.101.  LICENSE OR CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY REQUIRED; DESIGNATED PRODUCT CERTIFICATE.  (a)  Unless the person holds a license or certificate of authority issued by the department… a person may not:

(1)  solicit or receive an application for insurance in this state; or

(2)  aid in the transaction of the business of an insurer.

Review of Zing

Jewelers who use the Zing platform are paid to sell insurance. The Zing platform specifically states:

“Your business earns $20 for each qualifying jewelry appraisal that accompanies a personal jewelry insurance application through the Jewelry Appraisal Solution.” Zing website

So, the jeweler, using the Zing platform, submits the insurance application, which requires an insurance license they don’t have. Clearly, the “appraisal” and insurance application are generated by the jeweler and sent to Jewelers Mutual through their Zing portal. Jewelers are even paid to act as agents for Jewelers Mutual, as defined by the Texas Insurance Code. Zing even promised “increased revenue” if their free “appraisal” is sent in with a completed insurance application by the jeweler:

“Increase Revenue

Appraising jewelry is completely free, and you get paid for each qualified appraisal that accompanies a completed application through the Jewelry Appraisal Solution.” Zing website

The problem is that retail jewelers are not licensed to serve as insurance agents for Jewelers Mutual. From all evidence, it appears that jewelers are acting in violation of the state insurance statutes.

Review of BriteCo

Jewelers who use BriteCo also sell jewelry insurance by the use of the BriteCo “appraisal” software. The appraisals are actually insurance applications as clearly stated on the BriteCo website:

“When you finalize an appraisal using the BriteCo Appraisal Management System, your customer will instantly receive a text or an email from BriteCo with a custom, no obligation, insurance quote.” BriteCo website

In the case of BriteCo, there is no question that the “appraisal” is actually an insurance application. Since the jeweler is aware that they are facilitating the sale of an insurance policy, once again, they appear to be acting as an agent according to the statute. Submitting the appraisal, which is immediately used as an insurance application for BriteCo, puts the jeweler in the position of acting as an insurance agent based on the Texas Insurance Code.

Legal Liability for Retail Jewelers

A test case has most likely not occurred due to the newness of these insurance applications dressed up as appraisals. As a Property and Casualty Insurance Adjuster, I would caution retail jewelers about the legal liability they may be taking on using these platforms. If indeed the Insurance Commissioners determine that jewelers are acting as agents for Zing and BriteCo, then you become liable for various potential problems, including operating without a license and any litigation that may occur from consumers having claims disputes. Something to think about.

The Final Problem: Professional Appraisals

Perhaps the most alarming issue about the Zing and BriteCo platforms is their claim to produce “Professional Appraisals.” The problem is this: To produce a professional appraisal, you need a professional appraiser. The claim that using either of these two platforms instantly turns all retail jewelers into professional appraisers is honestly absurd. There is even a serious question of conflict of interest since Zing, in particular, provides its own pricing structure through the Gemworld system. This raises the question: Is it a conflict of interest for the insurance company to set the value of the personal property they are insuring? This is a question for the Insurance Commissioner’s office, but certainly one that needs to be raised.


The bottom line is that professional jewelry appraisals require a properly trained, educated, and experienced appraiser. There is no magic software program that instantly produces professional appraisals or turns retail jewelers into professional appraisers.

The solicitation of business and the filling out of insurance applications disguised as appraisals suggest that the retail jewelers are acting as insurance agents for Zing and BriteCo.

The final determination of this is a matter for the various states’ Insurance Commissioners. However, jewelers should be aware of all of the above.

You may be putting yourself at far more risk than the insurance companies are telling you about.

That is my opinion, I welcome you to send in yours.

Robert James FGA, GG
Property and Casualty Adjuster, Texas Department of Insurance #1300433