Art Insurance should protect from traffic related accidents

On Sunday the 20th it was World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. This day not only reminded us of those who have passed away in road crashes but also of the need to do more to prevent injuries and accidents.

It is always important to share with international road safety specialists some information about our own perils. Many of these European friends are left in near disbelief when we disclose that more than 14,000 die yearly on the roads of South Africa.

These road fatalities are the result of human error, vehicle factors and also environmental factors. Whatever the cause might be – it is worth noting that these same contributing factors result in far more than only loss of life… Apart from the human loss, injury and disablement it also has a very negative economic impact on property and insurance.

Our unique road conditions and long stretches of road require special attention to the transportation of valuables and how the transportation of valuable property is protected.

Road Transport and Art Insurance

On the 30th of March 2007 I came across a vehicle accident where a family on their way to the KKNK in Oudtshoorn collided with a kudu on the road about 30km from Oudtshoorn. In their trailer they transported works of art for exhibition at the Arts Festival and were fortunate not to have suffered other more damage than the damage to their vehicle!

Some are less however fortunate. Earlier this year it was reported on this Blog that an artist couple from Bloemfontein witnessed how 73 of their paintings went up in flames shortly after striking a pothole at the foot of Oliviers Hoek Pass.

The couple Kotze believe that their vehicle, a Renault Trafic Panel Van, suffered an electrical short when they were unable to avoid driving through a large pothole. The couple were on route to the South Coast to exhibit their art at several galleries, something they do once a year.

The estimated value of the paintings is approximately R470,000 and includes works from a few other painters. Not only the works of fine art, but their baggage, documentation and camera equipment were also destroyed in the fire. They were fortunate to have had their art insured through specialist art insurer – Artinsure.

What do we need to know about Art Insurance and the Transportation of Art?

South African owners of art and artists in particular should consider what the impact of road conditions and unsafe road behaviour might be on their valuable works of art. Few artists are fortunate enough to only display their works in a specific gallery and wait for visitors to come to them. Most artists have to travel with their art or have it transported to galleries, exhibitions and art festivals across the country.

Up to 75% of damage to works of art is caused by damage directly related to the transportation of art according to Gordon Massie, Managing Director of Artinsure.

Advice and Suggestions

We would like to suggest that art owners pay close attention to the following:

• Always consider carefully the wording and requirements in the insurance policy that covers and protects your art.
• It may be a requirement that the insurer be alerted in the event that these art works are transported.
• Communicate and consult with your insurer prior to the transportation of art and alert them to your attention of moving the art.
• Your insurance premium may include a special consideration where the insured work of art may be transported regularly compared to a piece to be kept in one gallery most of the time.
• Your art insurer may require in the policy to be involved in the process and selection of Courier/ Transportation company.
• Ensure that you follow the required approval and consultation process.
• Use the professionals and don’t skimp on the materials used.

[Suggestions with recognition to assistance received from Gordon Massie, Managing Director of Art Insure]

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