How Secure is Your Gold?
The search for a “safe haven” leads many to buy gold, but keeping it secure is another problem.
Gold is often considered a barometer for what is happening economically, politically and even culturally. “For the first time on record, investment has been the largest component of gold demand for two consecutive quarters… this has been in no small part due to demand from Western investors across the spectrum from retail to institutional and for bars, coins and ETFs,” according to the World Gold Council.
In addition, The Economist noted that in 2016, the price of gold surged over 15%, making this its best start to the year in over three-and-a-half decades. The most likely contributing factor to gold’s rally according to the World Gold Council and The Economist is market turmoil: “the US election, the UK referendum on EU membership and the possible implications of the “Brexit” outcome.” All this uncertainty has powered gold demand to 579 tonnes for the first half of 2016, compared to 2.6 tonnes recorded during the same period last year.
When things are in turmoil, the natural tendency for individuals and businesses is to turn to something secure and stable. Gold itself is considered by many as a kind of “insurance for investment portfolios”. Its liquidity is appealing during a financial crisis and unlike investments in the stock market, gold is tangible. You can touch it, trade it, store it or ship it. You can also steal it.
According to the FBI and North Carolina investigators, early on a Sunday morning in March 2015, an armored truck courier picked up a total of 275 pounds of gold - worth about $5 million- in Miami, Florida. The truck headed north on Interstate 95 to a shipping destination in Attleboro, Massachusetts. That same evening, the armored truck stopped along a dark stretch of highway.
Three armed robbers pulled up in a white minivan and confronted the security guards at gunpoint. The guards exited the truck without their guns. The thieves tied the guards’ hands behind their backs and made them walk into the nearby woods. The thieves then cut the padlock on the truck’s trailer and offloaded five-gallon, unmarked buckets containing 10 gold bars worth approximately $4.9 million. The bars weighed between 25 and 27 pounds each. One curious thing about the robbery was that the thieves left behind another $5 million in silver, supposedly because the silver shipment weighed about 75 times more than the gold haul.
...gold is highly portable and requires a relatively small area to securely store it."
As noted in the example above, gold is highly portable and requires a relatively small area to securely store it. For individuals, there are several options for storing your gold once you take possession of it. Most people prefer to store their gold at home, because they worry about the difficulty of accessing their gold in the event of an economic crisis. They also feel that physical possession is the only way to ensure true ownership. CEO and Founder Mike Maloney, author of Guide to Investing in Gold and Silver (http://goldsilver.com/books/) is quoted as saying, “If you can’t hold it, you don’t own it.”
Gold’s high value and high density opens up all sorts of storage possibilities. The most obvious consideration to address is the storage space. American Gold Eagles are sold in 1 oz. increments and when ordered in large quantities are shipped in tubes containing 20 coins. A single tube of Gold Eagles fits into the palm of your hand and is about 3.5” in height with the approximate diameter of a dollar coin. For example, 60 – 1oz. gold coins are a bit over $100,000 US and can easily fit inside the cardboard tube of a roll of paper towels and weighs a little over four pounds. A million dollars in gold would only weigh 40 pounds or so and could be easily carried off by one person without much effort.
On the other hand, keeping a significant amount of gold in your home can be risky if you don’t take the right precautions to protect your investment. Just as when storing any valuable or cash in your home, it is important to keep your precious metals safe from theft, fire or other catastrophic events.
- Buy and appropriately-rated safe for the home
- Install a central station home alarm
- Don't share the safe combination or home alarm codes with anyon
- Keep all purchase receipts or records of sale
Fortunately, the current property market – and more directly, the specialized specie market – offers the necessary capacity and the valuation and risk management guidance to go along with it. Available with policy limits of up to $300 million at XL Catlin, specie coverage is tailored to the needs of individual investors as well as financial institutions, metals and mining companies, metals traders, refineries, transporters and storage facilities.
Financial protection against loss is the key benefit of purchasing an “all-risk” specie policy, but it is not the only benefit. Today’s insurance market recognizes the value of minimizing losses with upfront loss prevention. Many carriers will work with their clients – businesses and individuals - to advise on safety, security and storage issues, provide guidance on valuation, and review transportation contracts to lessen contingent risks. Should a loss occur, carriers will ensure claims are handled by managers and adjusters experienced in preserving the value or recovery of gold and other precious metals.
XL Catlin provides specialist fine art insurance for galleries, museums and a range of businesses in the art world, as well as individual collectors. We also provide insurance for a wide range of collectibles and valuables, from antiques and jewelry to coins and stamps. For more information visit www.xlcatlin.com.
About the Author
David Scully is an Underwriter of Fine Art & Specie Insurance at XL Catlin. He is based in London and has been with XL Catlin since 2005. David can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org