1 july 2021, text: Mirjam Arnold, photo: Helvetia
Those who own works of art are well advised to insure them. That apples not only to museums and galleries, but also to wealthy individuals with private collections.
Helvetia is renowned in art circles for its reliability and high levels of expertise. Some of Helvetia’s underwriters are art historians, and all team members can boast many years of experience in the field of art insurance. This expertise is underpinned by the company’s own extensive art collection, comprising over 1,800 works by some 400 Swiss artists. While the majority of the collection is made up of paintings, drawings and photographs, it also includes sculptures. By maintaining its collection and purchasing new works, Helvetia aspires to play a key role in preserving Swiss creative artistry.
Helvetia’s customers benefit from the experience of its staff. That starts with the professional support provided in valuing the artworks that private individuals, museums, foundations and galleries wish to insure. Helvetia’s specialists can answer questions about security and provide advice on protecting artworks against burglary and theft. They can provide tips about where to have a painting professionally restored and what to watch out for when conserving an artwork. They can also give advice on proper packing and professional transportation.
In order to assess the value of an artwork as a basis for calculating an insurance premium, Helvetia’s art specialists visit the customer to take a close look at the works in question. If no proof of purchase is available (e.g. because the artwork was inherited), they assist in the search for similar works and consult with galleries and auction houses to determine the potential value. Finally, they prepare a plausibility statement, specifying a price range for the artwork. This forms the basis for calculating the insurance premium. If an artwork is partially damaged, the owner has it restored. If its value is lower after restoration, Helvetia covers the difference.
What Helvetia can’t replace is an owner’s emotional attachment to an artwork – that’s a residual risk that no insurance company can cover, but that may perhaps be precisely what makes collecting art so attractive.