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AXA Art Warehouse Survey Finds ‘Great Art in Bad Places’

"A lot of great art is stored in really bad places," said Christiane Fischer, chief executive officer of AXA Art Insurance.

NEW YORK—”A lot of great art is stored in really bad places,” said Christiane Fischer, chief executive officer of AXA Art Insurance.

New York–based AXA Art Insurance recently underwrote a detailed survey of fine-art storage facilities in the United States. It was conducted in the first half of the year by Global Risk Partners, a London-based consulting firm that specializes in risk assessment.

Since then, Global Risk Partners has moved on to examining fine art storage facilities in “all of Europe and the U.K.,” submitting reports and recommendations to AXA, Simon Mears, a consultant with Global Risk Partners, told ARTnewsletter. “It’s an ongoing process, making initial surveys, reporting back, then resurveying the same facilities every 12 months to see if they have maintained their standards or implemented our recommendations,” Mears said.

Although AXA does not insure fine-art storage facilities, the company is still exposed to risk from the warehouses, said Fischer, “because many of our clients—collectors, museums, dealers, trusts and estates—house their art collections” in such places.

Storage sites are rated on a traffic-light scale, with green lights for art storage warehouses that met expectations in 75 percent of all of its management and building security categories, yellow for those that needed improvement in certain areas and red for those that fell below acceptable standards in most or all areas. Those ratings “will affect our underwriting,” Fischer said. “Premiums may be higher for certain facilities that don’t meet all our criteria, and we may not insure a collection in some warehouse facilities.”

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