The Unique History and Considerations for Insuring High-Value Collections

Insuring high-value collections is a specialized field with unique risk factors and a long history.
Categories: Personal Insurance
Mar 21st, 2018 | By: Sean Graham and Donna-Lea Billesberger

For any collector of art, jewellery, bullion, gems, or other types of high-value collectibles, each new addition is an investment of passion. Whether it is a business or personal collection, ensuring the integrity and security of each and every piece is of utmost concern for owners.

Insuring high-value collections is a specialized field with unique risk factors and a long history. Collections are insured on a “species” policy form. The term “species” dates back to the era of tall ships sailing from the coasts of Europe, hundreds of years ago. In those days, high-value items in transit were placed in the captain’s species chest for safekeeping. Each item in the chest was logged and guaranteed secure by the captain of the ship and the company that owned the ship. The ship owner would replace any items lost or stolen at sea by pirates. In much the same way, today, species insurance continues to guarantee insured high-valued items.

However, the responsibility for security and care is solely that of the owner of the items. With that said, a reputable insurer is going to be keenly interested in the security and care of valuable items both to help owners retain their valuables but also to reduce claims for preventable losses.

When high-value items are being moved, they are most vulnerable to theft and damage. It is essential that you secure adequate insurance for your collections while in transit. Keep in mind that the replacement value should reflect what your valuables are assessed at today by a professional appraiser, not the price at which they were acquired.

Having an insurance broker that deeply understands the intricacies of species coverages is key to securing simple, effective, and economical insurance. Are you a private collector, artist, jeweller, goldsmith, art dealer, art restorer, art conservator, gallery curator, or museum curator? Do you have a collection that should be covered by a species policy form?

CapriCMW is proud to bring over thirty years of experience in jewellery and fine arts insurance onto our dedicated team. Contact the members of our Fine Art and Jewellery Specialty to ensure the value of your assets is secure and protected.

Sean Graham , Team Lead, Vice President
604 484 3707 |

Carmela Carline, Client Service Manager
236 521 1675 |

Donna-Lea Billesberger, Vice President, High Value Homes & Private Collections
604 235 1856 |

This article originally appeared in the last issue of CapriCMW Risk & Business Magazine

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