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Protecting Fine Art from Natural Disasters

Protecting Fine Art from Natural Disasters

This year’s Hurricane season is expected to be the most active since 2012. A total of 14 named storms, eight hurricanes and three major hurricanes are forecast and the tally has begun.  During Memorial Day weekend in the US, Tropical Storm Bonnie already made its way up the east coast, days before the official June 1 start of the hurricane season.  As we move into Labor Day weekend, Gaston and Hermine are churning away in the Atlantic. 

Whatever the rest of 2016 hurricane season dishes out, XL Catlin’s Fine Art & Specie insurance experts want their clients to be well prepared for it.  To help protect fine art and other valuables, XL Catlin’s experts have developed some easy guidance — XL Catlin’s Protecting Fine Art from Natural Disasters toolkit — to protect valued possessions from severe weather threats, especially the winds and floods that accompany them.

According to  Jennifer Schipf, Senior Underwriter in XL Catlin’s Fine Art business, “The insurance market is paying closer attention to their clients’ flood exposures. In previous years, the market was providing broad coverage for the peril of flood with little to no deductibles. After seeing losses from Superstorm Sandy and other storms, flood coverage is much more restricted in fine art and other policies so homeowners, galleries, dealers,  and other collectors have to be wary that their high-value items are adequately protected.”

“Artwork is not the only valuable vulnerable to flood damage,” said Ms. Schipf.  “We’ve seen losses from flooding because everything from currency and securities to gold bullion was stored in subterranean vaults.”

 

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Artwork is not the only valuable vulnerable to flood damage. We’ve seen losses from flooding because everything from currency and securities to gold bullion was stored in subterranean vaults.”

 

To help avoid flood damage or a loss in value of luxury items, XL Catlin’s Fine Art insurance team suggests taking some precautions:

  • Know Your Value: 
    Unlike many items found in homes that depreciate, jewelry, fine art and other collectibles often do not. “In fact, their value is more likely to grow,” said Ms. Schipf. “An up-to-date appraisal can provide an accurate valuation that can help speed up the claims process. And to get the best valuations, we encourage and can even help our clients find an appraiser who has expertise in their type of collection.”

  • Prepare Your Property: 
    According to Ms. Schipf, “XL’s property risk engineers have lent some guidance to our gallery clients to see what precautions can be taken to minimize property damage. Installing a sump pump or generator and changing on-site storage practices can do a lot in staving off flood damage.”

  • Have a Storage Plan: 
    According to Ms. Schipf, customers in coastal areas should consider reserving storage space ahead of the June 1 start of hurricane season. “The art community suffered considerable losses after floods hit Chelsea during Superstorm Sandy. And many warehouses in Brooklyn where art was stored were equally unprepared for Sandy’s storm surge,” she said. “Not only is it important to have a pre-arranged storage plan, it’s also important to make sure your storage facility is truly prepared to handle your artwork. It should be climate-controlled and have camera monitoring, firewalls and floor drains, for instance. And stored artwork should certainly be kept off the floor.”

  • Take Cover: 
    Specialty insurers, like XL Catlin,  provide standalone insurance protection to protect high-value collections including art, wine, coins or vintage cars, to name a few.

For more detailed guidelines and guidance, download XL Catlin’s Protecting Fine Art from Natural Disasters.

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