Chubb Responds to Growing $6-Billion-a-Year Art Theft Problem

. February 20, 2008

Art collectors beware: Before making a purchase, make sure it is not among the reported $6 billion in stolen works that are on the market each year.

Says a leading art attorney: “You can save yourself a lot of aggravation and money by doing your homework first.”

To help its customers face a challenge by a theft victim or estate to their ownership of a work, the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies is introducing new services and coverage. Prior to purchasing a work, donating or loaning it to a museum or bequeathing it to an heir, Chubb’s personal insurance customers can take advantage of a new art title due diligence service. Co-founded and managed by art attorney Jonathan Ziss, Art Title Advisors, LLC, will check public and private databases and contact its network of art world and law enforcement sources to determine whether a work may have been stolen. The firm will issue an Ownership Rights Protection Report(SM), which an owner can use to show that he or she took reasonable care to assure a clean title.

“Even if someone else can claim title to the work, you will have a greater chance of retaining it if you can prove to a court that you had good reason to believe it was not stolen,” said Ziss.

In the event a customer faces an art title dispute, Chubb is adding defective title defense coverage to its homeowners and valuable articles insurance policies, without an additional premium charge. Where available, Chubb will reimburse a policyholder up to $100,000 for the reasonable legal costs incurred due to claims for lack of title or defective title to an artwork covered under the policy. Chubb also can refer claimants to a panel of leading art attorneys it has established.

“Chubb has created a unique, comprehensive and cost-efficient way of resolving a growing problem for our art collectors,” said Dorit Straus, worldwide fine arts manager of Chubb Personal Insurance. “There is a vast number of works in circulation that were looted by the Nazis or from national historic sites around the world or were cut off the walls of museums, galleries, auction houses and collectors by a sophisticated worldwide network of thieves. Unfortunately, many purchasers, including renowned art collectors and museums, neither have knowledge nor the resources to conduct the due diligence on their own. We’re making it easy for them to do a thorough job — and we can back it up with coverage and counsel to help them retain the work following a dispute.”

Chubb is a leading provider of property and casualty insurance for fine homes, luxury cars, valuable articles and yachts. Additional information on Chubb’s personal insurance products and services can be found on the Internet at www.chubb.com/personal.

Member insurers of the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies form a multi-billion dollar organization providing property and casualty insurance for personal and commercial customers through 8,500 independent agents and brokers worldwide. Chubb’s global network includes branches and affiliates throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Australia.

Web site: http://www.chubb.com/personal/

Category: Fine Art News

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