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KKVG #2 Apr 2013

The 2nd Cologne Art Insurance Talk 2013 in retrospect.

Dispute over values: art and insurance
The conversation took place on 19 April 2013. Moderation: Stefan Kobel

Over 160 guests attended the event we initiated in 2012, which has now established itself as the most important interface between the art market and the art insurance industry in Germany.

The central theme of the event was the relationship between "art and values". In the introductory lecture, Dr Stephan Zilkens explained "Aspects of risk management in the art sector" against this background. Taking into account the different ownership structures, he shed light on the two core questions of the insurance industry with regard to fine art: how to specify the individual risks to which a work of art is exposed, for example in loan transactions, and how to determine a plausible insurance value, especially in view of volatile markets and changing trends among collectors of art.

These considerations by the organiser prepared for the two panel discussions moderated by the, art market journalist Stefan Kobel. Under the title "Vom Wa(h)ren Wert der Kunst" (On the Wa(h)ren Value of Art), five panellists were invited to present their experiences and views on the subject of valuation. One focal point was the so-called "prohibition of enrichment", which applied until 2008. Deviating from the actually agreed sum insured, this prohibition assured insurers that in the event of a loss they would only compensate the actual loss in value. Since then, new rules have applied in the relation of insured sum/damage sum, which has shown the necessity on the part of insurers to determine the insured sum much more precisely already at the conclusion of the contract.

Gallery owner Harry Lybke (Galerie Eigen + Art) and Dr. Takuro Ito (Auktionshaus Lempertz) spoke as representatives of the primary and secondary market for art. The perspective of the insurance industry was conveyed by Annette Niessen (Mannheimer Versicherung AG) and Stephan Schwarzl (Nationale Suisse Versicherung AG). Dr. Bernd Noack (artscout) contributed the many years of experience of an independent loss assessor.

Current market prices were identified as an essential parameter for determining the insurance value. In addition, the art experts contribute special expertise within the scope of their special fields, which may have to be supported by other experts with expert opinions for the policyholders. Special attention should be paid to the regular updating of sums insured to reflect market changes, such as the crash of 2007. Conversely, old, non-updated sums insured cannot be used as a basis for sales prices. The decisive factor in individual cases is targeted communication with the policyholder in an effort to achieve a realistic insurance value.

The second panel discussion focused on the respective interests within the specific structure between insurer and policyholder in determining an insured value. The possibility of state liability, with its advantages and disadvantages, was also discussed in this context. Dr Manfred Müller (Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg) and Dr Raimund Stecker (Lehmbruck Museum Duisburg) spoke from the perspective of the museums. Cologne gallery owner Dr. Ralf Seippel again took a stand for the art market. Dr. Bodo Sartorius (AXA Art Versicherungs AG) spoke on behalf of the insurers and Claus Gielisch (Gielisch GmbH) took part as an art expert.

Today's interest in art goes far beyond aesthetic enjoyment and includes tax considerations as well as speculation on increases in value. Where these increases in value have taken place, many exhibition houses face the problem of high premiums in the case of loans. However, the possibility of state liability does not exist in all cases, as private lenders in particular insist on commercial insurance. Loss prevention is also an issue for insurers and policyholders, as in the case of Hurricane Sandy, when art deposits were evacuated from potential flooding areas in New York as planned. In the event of a claim, even well-established artists need to be carefully assessed in order to determine the correct value between widely diverging sums.

The audience included several committed guests who expanded the content of the event early on in the discussions with questions and their own experiences. While the breaks provided an opportunity for professional exchange between guests and discussion participants, many took the opportunity to visit Art Cologne after the conference. In general, the audience showed a clear interest in continuing the Cologne Art Insurance Talk in the coming year 2014.

If you like our initiative, please motivate us with a donation to the Lehmkul Art Prize, which is awarded every two years to artists who have not yet arrived on the market. The prize is awarded every two years by a jury of recognised experts from museums, art criticism and the trade.

RDG Rotary Community Service Germany e.V.
Deutsche Bank Düsseldorf
Account no. 394120000
SORT CODE 300 700 10
Please state as purpose of payment: RC Köln-Ville, Club-No. 21929, Project 2015

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