A New Jersey appeals court refused to grant cover for a loss of $4 million worth of opals ruined inside a safe that had to be opened with a blowtorch.

The claim was made against the company that sold the safe and were involved in the day long effort to get the safe opened when it was returned to them.

Coverage was excluded for ‘personal property in the care, custody or control of the insured’. The owners of the jewellery in the safe ceded the care, custody and control of the safe and its contents to the insured to enable them to open the safe.

The opals were damaged while the safe was in the insured’s possession at their warehouse where they worked on the safe. The fact that they used an independent contractor to do so while the safe was in their care, custody and control did not make any difference. The exclusion applied.

The case is Harleysville Insurance v Mega Security.