The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies has created the Fine Art Practice, bringing together the expertise of its fine art resources worldwide in underwriting, loss prevention, appraisal and claims to respond to the evolving needs of its personal insurance clients with large and valuable collections.
Melissa Lalka, vice president and worldwide fine art manager for Chubb Personal Insurance, has been appointed to lead the effort. Lalka has more than 15 years of underwriting experience, including the management of Chubb’s largest fine art accounts.
“For decades, Chubb has helped protect the valuables of its clients, many of whom are among the world’s top private collectors of art,” said Kathleen Tierney, chief operating officer of Chubb Personal Insurance. “Melissa’s appointment and the creation of the Fine Art Practice will help Chubb continue to offer the services and insurance our clients have come to expect, even as their needs evolve with the ever-changing art market.”
Lalka said art collectors are becoming more sophisticated in building and leveraging their collections. “Many more clients are amassing vast collections of works from established artists, as well as emerging talents, from around the world through traditional and online art markets,” she said.
“Our clients are appreciating both the aesthetic and investment value of their art. Increasingly, they are using the works as collateral to finance other purchases. Some clients even have turned their homes into private museums, while others frequently lend out their works for public viewings or put them into storage. Each situation creates a unique web of complex risks that we need to help our clients manage through a variety of loss prevention and insurance solutions.”
The Fine Art Practice has access to Chubb’s global fine art resources, including 20 fine art and collector specialists in the United States, as well as underwriting and claims professionals. Most of the fine art specialists have degrees in art and worked at museums, galleries and auction houses before joining Chubb. All of them have completed an intensive proprietary training program through Chubb to become fine art specialists.
The fine art specialists provide consulting and other services to clients who have a Chubb Valuable Articles policy. The specialists have extensive knowledge in assessing risks in homes, offices, galleries, art warehouses and other locations where collections may be kept. They can provide fire protection and security recommendations and general conservation and preservation advice. They also offer referrals to the Masterpiece Protection Network , which is comprised of independent experts in appraisal, collection management, conservation and restoration, shipping, storage and security.
Chubb’s relationships with these experts, as well as many auction houses and art dealers, also can be helpful in the event of a loss. “By being able to connect with some of the world’s leading authorities on art, we are able to settle some very complex claims fairly and efficiently,” said Lalka. “In some cases, it involves assisting in the restoration of a great work so it may be enjoyed by future generations, rather than simply paying for a total loss.”
Chubb’s Valuable Articles policy provides worldwide coverage for fine art, as well as collectibles, such as jewellery, furs, silverware, musical instruments, stamps and coins. The policy includes coverage for breakage, mysterious disappearance and newly-acquired items, as well as inflation protection.