Chubb Offers Solutions to Art Ownership Disputes

February 22, 2008

Chubb Corp. has taken the opportunity afforded by the latest thefts of high profile paintings, to offer some new coverage and advice on how to cope with potential ownership disputes involving art works.

Chubb, an important player in the field, initially warned potential art collectors to: “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.” Potential buyers can “save a lot of aggravation and money” by doing their “homework first,” advised an attorney.

To help its customers, Chubb 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,” said the bulletin.

“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 ReportSM’, 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,” Ziss explained.

If a tile dispute arises, Chubb said it “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.”

Dorit Straus, worldwide fine arts manager of Chubb Personal Insurance, called the new coverage “unique, noting that it is a “comprehensive and cost-efficient way of resolving a growing problem for our art collectors. There is a vast number of works in circulation that were looted by the Nazis,” he continued, “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.”

Source: Chubb Corp. –

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