In a world where natural disasters are on the rise, protecting your high-value art collection is more crucial than ever. According to the Wall Street Journal, 45% of homes are at risk due to climate-related incidents, making it imperative for collectors to have emergency plans in place. Here are essential steps to prevent and prepare for potential disasters:

Prevention and Preparation:

  • Document your Collection: Inventory and photograph valuable items, storing documentation off-site.
  • Identify Risks: Predict possibilities and likely threats, including natural disasters, accidents, technology problems, and security breakdowns.
  • Gather Supplies: Establish vendor contacts, gather necessary supplies, and create an action plan with priority removal items.
  • General Preventions: Install safety measures like monitored smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and secured storage for valuables.

Disaster-Specific Precautions:

  • Hurricane Preparedness: Designate secure areas, back-up generators, and protect against water intrusion.
  • Wildfire Prevention: Create defensible space, maintain structures, and consult wildfire mitigation experts.
  • Earthquake Readiness: Secure objects, affix furniture, and prepare seismic shut-off valves.
  • Apartment Precautions: Record emergency contacts, empower building staff, and review plans with management.

Advanced Preparations

  • Establish Relationships: Connect with art handling firms, conservators, and build a response team.
  • Respond Action Items: Activate the plan, move collections if needed, and protect against damage.

Post-Event Recovery:

  • Assess Damage: Evaluate impacts and protect the collection.
  • Contact Authorities: Inform staff, conservators, and insurance advisors for further actions.
  • Emergency Plan Design: Create a comprehensive plan, inventory, and reassess regularly.

By following these guidelines and investing in robust emergency planning, you can safeguard your priceless art collection from unforeseen disasters and mitigate potential risks.

SOURCE: a March 19, 2024 online lecture by Rand Silver, Senior Vice President and Chief Risk Officer, at Treadwell insurance company located in NYC. The lecture was sponsored by the Appraisers Association of America.