This spring, XL Group’s Luxury Lines team is preparing clients to protect their valued possessions from the threat of spring showers and the flooding that may follow.
According to Jennifer Schipf, Senior Underwriter in XL Group’s Fine Art business, “The insurance market is paying closer attention to their clients’ flood exposures. In previous years, the market was providing broad coverage for the peril of flood with little to no deductibles. After seeing losses from Superstorm Sandy and other storms, flood coverage is much more restricted in fine art and other policies so homeowners and collectors have to be wary that their high-value items are adequately protected.”
“According to FloodSmart.gov, the website of the National Flood Insurance Program, a one inch flood in a 2,000 square feet home can result in $20,000 of loss, a 6 inch flood in the same space $39,000. And that does not take into account if a $100,000 painting that may have been stored in the basement or if the level of flood is significant, on the wall,” said Ms. Schipf. “Artwork is not the only valuable vulnerable to flood damage. We’ve seen losses from flooding because everything from currency and securities to gold bullion was stored in subterranean vaults.”
To help avoid flood damage or a loss in value of luxury items, XL Group’s Luxury Lines team suggests taking some flood precautions:
- Know Your Value: Unlike many items found in homes that depreciate, jewelry, fine art and other collectibles often do not. “In fact, their value is more likely to grow,” said Ms Schipf. “An up-to-date appraisal can provide an accurate valuation that can help speed up the claims process. And to get the best valuations, we encourage and can even help our clients find an appraiser who has expertise in their type of collection.
- Prepare Your Property: According to Ms Schipf, XL’s property risk engineers have lent some guidance to our gallery clients to see what precautions can be taken to minimized property damage. Installing a sump pump or generator and changing on-site storage practices can do a lot in staving off flood damage.
- Have a Storage Plan: According to Ms. Schipf, customers in coastal areas should consider reserving storage space ahead of the June 1 start of hurricane season. The art community suffered considerable loss after floods hit Chelsea during Superstorm Sandy. And many warehouses in Brooklyn where art was stored were equally unprepared for Sandy’s storm surge,” she said. “Not only is it important to have a pre-arrange storage plan, it’s also important to make sure your storage facilities is truly prepared to handle your artwork. It should be climate-controlled and has camera monitoring, firewalls and floor drains, for instance. And stored artwork should certainly be kept off the floor.”
- Take Cover: “Congress’ recent passage of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) can only be increased a certain percentage,” said Ms Schipf. “Such coverage does not offer any more coverage and certainly doesn’t protect high value items. Specialty insurers provide standalone insurance protection to protect high-value collections including art, wine, coins or vintage cars, to name a few.”
Read more of Ms Schipf’s thoughts on flood preparedness in “The Rising Cost of Rising Water” on XL Group’s Fast Fast Forward.
XL Group’s Specialty insurance businesses in North America provides a variety of Luxury Lines insurance coverages including equine, aviation, yacht, fine art, and kidnap, ransom & extortion to protect high net worth private customers and their prized possessions.
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About XL Group plc
XL Group plc (NYSE: XL), through its subsidiaries, is a global insurance and reinsurance company providing property, casualty and specialty products to industrial, commercial and professional firms, insurance companies and other enterprises throughout the world. XL is the company clients look to for answers to their most complex risks and to help move their world forward. To learn more, visit xlgroup.com
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