Fine Art Insurance

Restoring Memories

Chubb's fine arts team takes pride in returning a treasured piece of art to a Philadelphia-area family.
By: | April 10, 2017 • 3 min read

The story begins with a man in New Jersey lining up a pool shot. He draws his cue back too far and punches a hole in a painting on his host’s wall.

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The pool shooter, one Robert Grant, owns up to his miscue by buying the painting from his friend. He pays between $50 and $100 for it; the passage of time has obscured the exact amount.

Turns out the painting is an original by Norman Rockwell, who produced more than 300 illustrations for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post back in the first half of the 20th Century.

This painting, one of Rockwell’s earlier works, depicted a farm boy catching a nap against a tree and went by the title “Taking a Break” among others.

The billiards blunder occurred back in the early 1950’s. In 1976, thieves broke into Robert Grant’s Cherry Hill, N.J. home and stole the painting.

Chubb Insurance wrote a policy on the painting though and paid off Robert Grant’s claim, for $15,000. Under the terms of the policy, the title on the painting transferred to the insurer when the claim was paid.

Fran O’Brien, division president, North American Risk Services, Chubb

Decades went by, give or take a few years.  One day, according to the New York Times, Robert Grant’s son John got an introduction to Robert Bazin, a retired FBI agent, who agreed to take up the search for the lost painting.

The elder Grant passed away in 2004. Besides missing their father, the Grant family evidently still felt the loss of a favorite family possession quite keenly.

Bazin contacted the FBI, which put out a press release in 2016, asking for information on the painting’s whereabouts. An art dealer who wishes to remain anonymous contacted the FBI and handed it over.

“The work was in the collection of a dealer who didn’t realize there was an issue with the provenance,” said Laura Doyle, an assistant vice president and North American Collections Management Specialist with Chubb.

“There are often occurrences where we can’t bring it back, but when we are able to, it is an important part of our service.” — Fran O’Brien, division president, North American Risk Services, Chubb

Doyle, a graduate of the University of Richmond, holds a certificate in fine arts appraisal from NYU.

According to Fran O’Brien, division president, North American Risk Services for Chubb, there was a clause in Grant’s insurance policy that allowed for the title for the painting to revert to the Grant family if they agreed to pay back the $15,000 they got for the original claim.

Laura Doyle, assistant vice president and North American Collections Management Specialist, Chubb

Done deal; and so it came to pass that the Grant family reclaimed a painting, once purchased for less than $100 and now worth possibly as much as $1 million.

Chubb in turn, donated the $15,000 to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass.

It’s a great story, and Chubb’s O’Brien said there are some good lessons to be taken from it.

Owners of art collections should consider insuring them with a valuable articles policy, rather than relying on their home owner’s policy, she said.

“Even with modest collections, they should be thinking about a valuable articles policy, whether it’s hundreds of millions or $100,000, it’s important to know that there is a better solution out there,” O’Brien said.

A good fine arts policy solution also includes support from fine arts specialists who can give advice on the safest way to store and display valuable art works.

Keeping a Modigliani above the dining room table might make the owner warm and proud, but probably isn’t the best idea, particularly if it can be seen from the street.

That protection can be as specific as an individual asset alarm for particularly valued pieces. Insurer support can also include advice on confirming the chain of title ownership for a piece that has changed hands a number of times.

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“We advise that collectors request information on provenance, which would detail any prior owners and art galleries or auction houses where the work was sold,” Doyle said.

This fine arts insurance story had a very happy ending, because the Grant family got the painting back. But it often happens that treasured pieces of jewelry or art are never seen again.

“Part of our business is to restore memories,” said Chubb’s O’Brien.

“There are often occurrences where we can’t bring it back, but when we are able to it is an important part of our service,” O’Brien said.

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

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Risk Management

The Profession

Verizon’s risk manager David Cammarata loves when his team can make a real impact on the bottom line.
By: | May 2, 2017 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

I was a financial analyst with the N.J. Casino Control Commission.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

I was told at a Christmas luncheon in 2003 that I was being promoted into a new job.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

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I think the risk management community is getting a lot better at utilizing big data and analytics to manage risk. Significant improvements have been made, but there is still much more room for improvement.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

I think that the insurance and brokerage communities need to really start thinking about what this industry is going to look like in 10 years. They need to start addressing how they are going to remain relevant. I think that major disruptions to existing business models will occur and that these disruptions combined with innovation and technological advances may catch many of today’s industry leaders by surprise.

David Cammarata, assistant treasurer, risk management and insurance, Verizon Communications Inc.

R&I: What was the best location and year for the RIMS conference and why?

San Diego, any year.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

I think the advent of cyber risk and cyber insurance. For several years it has been, and it continues to be, the main topic of discussion at industry meetings.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

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I think the most scary scenarios include a nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological event, a widespread global health epidemic and/or a widespread state sponsored cyber shutdown.

R&I: How much business do you do direct versus going through a broker?

We do almost all of our business through a broker.

R&I: Is the contingent commission controversy overblown?

No. It’s a conflict.

R&I: Are you optimistic about the U.S. economy or pessimistic and why?

Optimistic because hopefully President Trump’s policies (lower taxes and less regulation) will be pro-business and good for the economy.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

My dad, who passed away many years ago. He was very influential during the formative years of my career. He taught me how important integrity and reputation were to your brand and he had a very strong work ethic.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

I would have to say raising two awesome kids. My daughter is graduating from James Madison University this year as co-valedictorian. My son is finishing his sophomore year at Rutgers and has near perfect grades. But more importantly, both of my kids have turned out to be really good people.

R&I: How many emails do you get in a day?

A lot.

“I love it when the risk management organization is able to contribute in a way that makes a real impact to the corporation’s overall objectives. On several occasions we have been able to make real contributions to the bottom line.”

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

“My Cousin Vinny.” That movie makes me laugh no matter how many times I watch it.

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?

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My dad used to take me to a place called Chick & Nello’s. It was an Italian place that did not have a menu. They came to your table and told you the two or three items they were making that day. The food was out of this world.

R&I: What is your favorite drink?

Iced tea. The non-alcoholic kind.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

I can think of several places but for me it would be a tie between India and Italy. India just has such a different culture and way of life and Rome has breathtaking historical sites.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

Well, one of the best thrill rides I’ve been on was Kingda Ka at Great Adventure. It feels risky but probably isn’t all that risky. I flew in a prop plane with my brother-in-law one time … that felt kind of risky. I have also parasailed, does that count? I think it definitely has to be driving on the N.J. Turnpike day in and day out.

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

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What about the Fukushima 50? I don’t think I could have done what they did.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

I love it when the risk management organization is able to contribute in a way that makes a real impact to the corporation’s overall objectives. On several occasions we have been able to make real contributions to the bottom line.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

I don’t think they really know. My children see me as dad; others just see me as an executive with Verizon.




Katie Siegel is a staff writer at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]