3 Reliable Art Insurance Companies
By now everyone has heard of the infamous story where billionaire Steve Wynn poked his arm through his Pablo Picasso painting, Le Rêve, during a viewing with Steve Cohen, Nora Ephron and Barbara Walters in 2006. Wynn was just about to sell it to Cohen for $139m but the sale immediately scuttled after the “oopsy”.
Wynn had art insurance (Lloyd’s of London) and since the artwork had been reappraised at $85m he sought the difference of $54m. The insurance company denied coverage at first but they finally gave in and compensated the collector after a long law suit that ended in a settlement.
Wynn had purchased the painting in 1997 for $48.5m so his art investment had stayed in tact all those years. And as luck would have it, Cohen eventually came back in March 2013 and bought the painting from Wynn for a whopping $155m via a private sale that the New York Post leaked. (Moral of the story: Wynn was able to triple his investment even after a $54m devaluation.)
The majority of collectors don’t experience such resistance from their insurance carriers. Art insurance policies are competitively priced and offer more benefits then insurance companies that do not specialize in art. For a few hundred dollars you can get coverage of up to $1m or more on your art collection. Not too shabby (unless of course, you’re Steve Wynn with a multimillion dollar collection with a premium in the 6 figures). For that extra peace of mind you also get broader art coverage. Plus, at such a nominal cost it’s friendlier on your wallet.
The 3 most popular and reliable art insurance companies that collectors and clients using are:
AXA Art Insurance – major sponsor at Art Basel and most of the big art fairs around the world.
CHUBB – clients have said they have great coverage even years after damage was found.
Lloyd’s of London – a 300-year-old insurance market. Steve Cohen’s insurance company that initially resisted paying him the $54m owed for art damage but gave in later.