National Jeweler Network

Market Developments

When lightning strikes, what will it cost you?

By David Sexton

July 28, 2014

David Sexton, CPCU, is the vice president of loss prevention consulting at Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company. He can be reached at 800-558-6411 or

There are 20 million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes each year in the United States, according to the National Severe Storms Laboratory. Between these frequent strikes, downed power lines and normal utility-switching operations, power surges can pose a real threat to your jewelry business in the summer months.

Regardless of their cause, power surges can spell disaster for your computer systems, credit card readers, cash registers, fax machines, copiers and even your heating and air-conditioning systems. Depending on the damage, it could force you to close your store for a few days.

To protect your electronic equipment, take these five steps to help avoid a power surge that could leave you speechless:
-- Use a surge protection device (SPD) that is properly sized and grounded for the particular equipment.

-- Install SPDs as close as possible to the equipment you wish to protect, and avoid using extension cords.

-- Be sure that the cable between the equipment and the SPD is short and straight to minimize the resistive path of the circuit to ground.

-- Schedule a time for a licensed electrician to evaluate your business. An electrician can:
-- Assess your business’s grounding for compliance;
-- Check outlets for proper polarity and an equipment ground conductor impedance;
-- Determine if the grounding system is robust enough to fulfill the function of the SPD--i.e., proper wire size and tightness of connection;
-- Determine specific action required to bring the grounding network to both compliance and
to the level of performance.  

-- If a power surge or outage affects the functionality of your security alarm system, contact your insurance agent and monitoring station to report the issue.

The threat of electrical surges can’t be totally eliminated, but by following these tips you can reduce possible damage and prolong the life of electrical equipment and systems.

To learn more tips to help protect your business, visit Jewelers Mutual’s Safety and Security page at or connect with a Jewelers Mutual agent at 800-558-6411.