Defective art insurance

By: Mandy Barrett of Aon South Africa

There are many reasons why art connoisseurs collect pieces of work. Whether it is to express an emotion, adorn their homes, support the arts or to find something that truly inspires them, there is no denying the fact that owning a piece of art also comes with a responsibility of protecting and safeguarding such items.

Art, collectables and memorabilia require specialist insurance because they are appreciating assets and are often irreplaceable, which means they simply cannot be catered for under a standard insurance policy. It lends itself to a different set of criteria when it comes to assessing the insurable value of these items.

Defective art is one of the top risks facing collectors. Most would interpret defective art as a defect in the condition of the piece, whether it’s Uncle David’s elbow that added an extra feature to a prized collector’s painting or a candelabra that accidentally singed the corner of a priceless carved mask, to name a few.

A defect in the condition of an art piece has an impact on the value of the item, which is why it is crucial to obtain a professional specialist valuation of the item in order to establish an informed and current value at which the item should be insured with a specialist insurer such as Artinsure.

Defective art insurance also includes defective title that covers art collectors in the event of a stolen art piece that is purchased, or alternatively a replica that was sold as an original. It is a very complex risk to consider. The illegal trafficking of cultural objects, especially from war-torn countries, is increasing and it affects everyone in the art distribution channel. It is one of the reasons why any new art purchase must be run through an international art register to ensure that you are not purchasing an illegally trafficked item that could leave you exposed to a lengthy legal battle.

Dealing with the right art specialist who has access to a network of adjusters, restorers, recovery agents in addition to a global network of intelligence and law enforcement agencies is an absolute necessity.

A professional broker with experience in dealing with the intricacies of art insurance is an invaluable investment in protecting your art portfolio.