Markel launches online collectors policy

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Markel UK, the specialist insurer, has launched a new art and collectables product to provide a broad range of cover for private individuals, companies and commercial, municipal and not for profit organisations with collections and investments in art and artefacts.

The collectors policy is uniquely available through Markel UK’s online broker trading platform and provides brokers with a simple and easy to use product which meets a wide range of clients’ needs. Brokers will be able to complete the online proposal process in two minutes, without requiring specialist art and collectables knowledge.

Explaining why Markel chose to launch the policy now, Richard Norman, technical line manager of art and collectables, said: “We have seen an upsurge of interest from individuals and companies in art and collectables, partly as art and collecting have become more popular generally and partly because with investment returns low and volatile, people have been looking at alternative asset classes which have the potential to combine return with enjoyment.”

Markel’s collectors product provides protection against accidental damage, theft, damage in storage or transit and exhibition cover. These types of specialist protection are not typically available under household or workplace general contents policies.

“Collectors haven’t been well looked after by existing household or workplace policies, which aren’t really designed to look after collections,” said Norman. “In particular, the standard basis of cover being replacement cost simply doesn’t work for unique art or collectables and they’ll normally require evidence of forced entry, won’t cover pilfering and can’t handle large single item losses.”

While traditionally individual pieces in collections have needed a value to be agreed between insurer and insured prior to inception, sometimes requiring the use of specialist valuers, the Markel policy will incept at fair market values with the option for an agreed value basis of cover, subject to supporting information.

The policy can cover collections with values of up to £10 million and provide quotations for collections with a total value of up to £150,000 without referral to underwriters.  Minimum premiums start as low as £100 with nil excess for private individual collectors.

“As interest rates continue to offer negligible returns and equities remain volatile, there has been a developing interest in art and collectables from private collectors as well as corporate collectors and investors,” said Norman.

“Brokers need to be able to offer their corporate and private clients cost effective cover for their collections and our online broker product gives them the ability to do that without having to become art experts.

“Our policy gives brokers an attractive new line of business and our simple, online proposal process means that the risk is easily and quickly bound. Our established claims service includes access to a panel of expert loss-adjusters and advice on restoration and transport, which can get damaged pieces back to their owners as quickly as possible.”