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In 4 weeks, the year will be over - more than 9 months ago, the Russians invaded Ukraine and did not expect the people there to fight for their freedom - hence the title of the exhibition at Campus M in Cologne "Worth Fighting For", which underlines the independence of Ukrainian culture. Until 14 December, the exhibition is open daily (including Mondays) from 10:00 - 18:00.
The reinsurers are currently making coverage against classic property damage in Ukraine impossible and are not prepared to give their clients, the primary insurers, capacity. One wonders how the Ukrainian companies and the subsidiaries of large European insurers protect their equity cover without reinsurance? Munich Re, Swiss Re and others, including Cologne Re, are probably not prepared to work out constructive solutions. Management's fear of their shareholders of being asked to pay damages because of expected adverse effects on results may be too great. Mutuals could have an easier time of it ... . Insurance cover is a must for a prospering economy in reconstruction. And it would be an indictment to force the coverage of these risks back on the state. Excessive regulation and compliance, however, is precisely what leads to this. Today, top managers are 99% concerned with protecting their own skin and only 1% focused on business opportunities. The figure may be wrong - but the trend is correctly described.
Paris is taking over from London - at least in the auction and art trade. Many are already there and now also Esther Schipper, who has found rooms near Place Vendome. Brussels is not bad either - exaggerated export and import restrictions like in Italy or Germany, although based on the same EU rules, do not exist there.
A bit out of the way is Bagnols sur Ceze, roughly west of Orange or north of Avignon. It's been 50 years since paintings were stolen from the museum there - pretty much all the Impressionist favourites: Bonnard, Boudin, Cezanne, Dufy, Matisse, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir and Vuillard. Nine years later, the house was hit again and once more a Renoir changed hands. There were hardly any safeguards - inspections took place from time to time and the insurance companies could not yet write the word art insurance. This only began systematically in the early 1980s. The paintings have not been recovered to this day - an association is now taking care of them and hopes that, on the anniversary of the theft, the heirs who call themselves rightful owners will come forward with something so that Bagnols can shine again and we have something to look at. We are keeping our fingers crossed.
We wish everyone a happy first week of Advent with inspiring impressions. The art world is in Miami to see if the templates of the auctions in New York lead to stable sales. There are also important auctions in Germany - let's see, maybe signs will be set.
Yours, Stephan Zilkens and the team of Zilkens Fine Art Insurance Broker GmbH in Solothurn and Cologne