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

More from Risk & Insurance

Cyber Liability

Fresh Worries for Boards of Directors

New cyber security regulations increase exposure for directors and officers at financial institutions.
By: | June 1, 2017 • 6 min read

Boards of directors could face a fresh wave of directors and officers (D&O) claims following the introduction of tough new cybersecurity rules for financial institutions by The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS).

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Prompted by recent high profile cyber attacks on JPMorgan Chase, Sony, Target, and others, the state regulations are the first of their kind and went into effect on March 1.

The new rules require banks, insurers and other financial institutions to establish an enterprise-wide cybersecurity program and adopt a written policy that must be reviewed by the board and approved by a senior officer annually.

The regulation also requires the more than 3,000 financial services firms operating in the state to appoint a chief information security officer to oversee the program, to report possible breaches within 72 hours, and to ensure that third-party vendors meet the new standards.

Companies will have until September 1 to comply with most of the new requirements, and beginning February 15, 2018, they will have to submit an annual certification of compliance.

The responsibility for cybersecurity will now fall squarely on the board and senior management actively overseeing the entity’s overall program. Some experts fear that the D&O insurance market is far from prepared to absorb this risk.

“The new rules could raise compliance risks for financial institutions and, in turn, premiums and loss potential for D&O insurance underwriters,” warned Fitch Ratings in a statement. “If management and directors of financial institutions that experience future cyber incidents are subsequently found to be noncompliant with the New York regulations, then they will be more exposed to litigation that would be covered under professional liability policies.”

D&O Challenge

Judy Selby, managing director in BDO Consulting’s technology advisory services practice, said that while many directors and officers rely on a CISO to deal with cybersecurity, under the new rules the buck stops with the board.

“The common refrain I hear from directors and officers is ‘we have a great IT guy or CIO,’ and while it’s important to have them in place, as the board, they are ultimately responsible for cybersecurity oversight,” she said.

William Kelly, senior vice president, underwriting, Argo Pro

William Kelly, senior vice president, underwriting at Argo Pro, said that unknown cyber threats, untested policy language and developing case laws would all make it more difficult for the D&O market to respond accurately to any such new claims.

“Insurers will need to account for the increased exposures presented by these new regulations and charge appropriately for such added exposure,” he said.

Going forward, said Larry Hamilton, partner at Mayer Brown, D&O underwriters also need to scrutinize a company’s compliance with the regulations.

“To the extent that this risk was not adequately taken into account in the first place in the underwriting of in-force D&O policies, there could be unanticipated additional exposure for the D&O insurers,” he said.

Michelle Lopilato, Hub International’s director of cyber and technology solutions, added that some carriers may offer more coverage, while others may pull back.

“How the markets react will evolve as we see how involved the department becomes in investigating and fining financial institutions for noncompliance and its result on the balance sheet and dividends,” she said.

Christopher Keegan, senior managing director at Beecher Carlson, said that by setting a benchmark, the new rules would make it easier for claimants to make a case that the company had been negligent.

“If stock prices drop, then this makes it easier for class action lawyers to make their cases in D&O situations,” he said. “As a result, D&O carriers may see an uptick in cases against their insureds and an easier path for plaintiffs to show that the company did not meet its duty of care.”

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One area that regulators and plaintiffs might seize upon is the certification compliance requirement, according to Rob Yellen, executive vice president, D&O and fiduciary liability product leader, FINEX at Willis Towers Watson.

“A mere inaccuracy in a certification could result in criminal enforcement, in which case it would then become a boardroom issue,” he said.

A big grey area, however, said Shiraz Saeed, national practice leader for cyber risk at Starr Companies, is determining if a violation is a cyber or management liability issue in the first place.

“The complication arises when a company only has D&O coverage, but it doesn’t have a cyber policy and then they have to try and push all the claims down the D&O route, irrespective of their nature,” he said.

“Insurers, on their part, will need to account for the increased exposures presented by these new regulations and charge appropriately for such added exposure.” — William Kelly, senior vice president, underwriting, Argo Pro

Jim McCue, managing director at Aon’s financial services group, said many small and mid-size businesses may struggle to comply with the new rules in time.

“It’s going to be a steep learning curve and a lot of work in terms of preparedness and the implementation of a highly detailed cyber security program, risk assessment and response plan, all by September 2017,” he said.

The new regulation also has the potential to impact third parties including accounting, law, IT and even maintenance and repair firms who have access to a company’s information systems and personal data, said Keegan.

“That can include everyone from IT vendors to the people who maintain the building’s air conditioning,” he said.

New Models

Others have followed New York’s lead, with similar regulations being considered across federal, state and non-governmental regulators.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Cyber-security Taskforce has proposed an insurance data security model law that establishes exclusive standards for data security and investigation, and notification of a breach of data security for insurance providers.

Once enacted, each state would be free to adopt the new law, however, “our main concern is if regulators in different states start to adopt different standards from each other,” said Alex Hageli, director, personal lines policy at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

“It would only serve to make compliance harder, increase the cost of burden on companies, and at the end of the day it doesn’t really help anybody.”

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Richard Morris, partner at law firm Herrick, Feinstein LLP, said companies need to review their current cybersecurity program with their chief technology officer or IT provider.

“Companies should assess whether their current technology budget is adequate and consider what investments will be required in 2017 to keep up with regulatory and market expectations,” he said. “They should also review and assess the adequacy of insurance policies with respect to coverages, deductibles and other limitations.”

Adam Hamm, former NAIC chair and MD of Protiviti’s risk and compliance practice, added: “With New York’s new cyber regulation, this is a sea change from where we were a couple of years ago and it’s soon going to become the new norm for regulating cyber security.” &

Alex Wright is a U.K.-based business journalist, who previously was deputy business editor at The Royal Gazette in Bermuda. You can reach him at [email protected]