Speaking Of: Art Losses

While art losses may make for great movie moments such as those that appeared in movies like “The Thomas Crown Affair” and “Entrapment,” the reality is that a fine-art loss and claim can be caused by something as simple as a finger poke. To learn more about the claim process, memorable art losses, and the effects of art theft on insurers, Claims’ Eric Gilkey spoke with Colin Quinn, national director of claims for AXA Art Insurance.

What are the hurdles in the claim process that are unique to your industry?

The fine art and collectible insurance industry was developed to specifically address the issue of protecting the financial investments of collectors and to make them whole in the event of a damage or loss. We are mindful that collecting also represents a person’s passion, and this consideration carries over into our philosophy on claim handling. Fundamental to our claim processing function is the input and collaboration of in-house art experts. Our claim professionals are experts who focus only on art and collectibles.

Given the competitive nature of the industry, it is essential that we provide our insureds with superior claim service that distinguishes us from our competitors. To ensure that this high level of professional service is consistent we have introduced quality control initiatives, including a post-claim settlement questionnaire. At the conclusion of every claim, the insured is contacted and asked a number of questions concerning the level of professionalism, timeliness, and courtesy. While the process is time-consuming, it allows us to gauge our clients’ satisfaction with our adjusters and immediately correct any lapse in the quality of claim handling.

One claim at AXA involved a priceless painting that was accidentally thrown away by its owner. What other memorable claims have you encountered?

During our 40 years of experience insuring art and collectibles, we have handled claims from an array of incidents, ranging from common accidents to the most unexpected circumstances. For example, we have dealt with a rare 15th- to early 16th-century Cinnabar Lacquer Dish from the Ming Dynasty, which was damaged after being knocked down by a housekeeper’s elbow. We resolved a claim with a De Chirico painting, “Piazza d’Italia,” which was destroyed by an out-of-control demolition wrecking ball that pierced through the wall of an adjacent sitting room and through the center of the painting.


Speaking Of: Art Losses | PropertyCasualty360.

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