The Value in Stolen Art

A homeowner returns after an evening out and finds that her home was robbed. Among the many items missing is an expensive piece of art passed down for several generations in her family. After filing a police report and a claim with her insurance company, the insurance company contacts an appraiser to help them determine the value of the painting at the time of the loss so that their insured can be paid. In my career as a fine art appraiser at Enservio Select, I am often presented with these circumstances. Arriving at a value is just one part of the service we provide. I will also complete a brief search to make sure the work was not previously stolen. The implications of previously stolen work are far reaching and, if not discovered, can financially affect both the insured and the insurance company. Continue reading

April Showers Bring…Increased Theft Claims?

Now that it’s April, apart from April showers and warmer temperatures, many Americans start thinking about the April 15th tax deadline that’s rapidly approaching. Not so coincidentally, the month of April typically sees a spike in the number of homeowner claims filed. You can probably guess the other time a similar increase in claims occurs – around the holidays later in the year. 

Presumably consumers panic when it comes time to pay their tax bills as well as get anxious about the need for extra cash around holiday time. A smaller spike occurs around August/September when tuition bills are traditionally due.  Continue reading

Diamonds are Forever (Unless They’re Stolen…)

Necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings … these are all hallmark gifts in a typical romantic relationship. And, within the extensive world of fine jewelry, there is one common thread: diamonds. Few engagement rings are without diamonds, and it’s hard to imagine a tennis bracelet without diamonds galore. Diamonds are largely known as costly, a girl’s best friend, and a gift that will last forever. In other words, this stone gets a lot of hype.  Continue reading

(Not) Home for Christmas: Holiday Burglaries and How to Avoid Them

It’s that time of year again! Lights are up everywhere, we’ve witnessed a couple of instances of snow (at least the northern section of the country), and December break is slowly but surely starting to kick in for students of all ages. For many families, having everyone back together for the holidays plus end-of-year deadlines having just been conquered, often equals a well-deserved vacation. But while you’re lounging on a Caribbean shore, tropical drink in Continue reading

Springtime is the Best Time for Increasing Home Value

You know why people get frantic about Spring cleaning? It’s not because everyone has a genetic disposition to have their homes cleaner and looking presentable as the calendar touches upon March 21. It’s because of peer pressure and learned behaviors.

That’s right. A clean house and yard are attractive. But more than that, they are likely worth more on the Continue reading

Kinks in the Insurance Claims System Persist Despite Available Solutions

Wild weather and wild fires continue across the country and it seems 2011 is on its way to becoming one of the worst years on record for catastrophic loss to U.S. homes and businesses. A recent story in the Alabama Press Register examining recovery efforts from the April tornadoes that struck the Birmingham, Mobile and Huntsville areas illustrates how large loss catastrophes expose persistent kinks in the insurance claims process – specifically in the handling of contents and settlement payments. Contents inventories often pose the biggest obstacle to swift and accurate settlements, which is evident from the following statement from an insurance carrier spokesperson quoted in the article: Continue reading

Insurance Coverage in FarmVille?

Insurance & Technology recently covered the news that Farmers Insurance has partnered with Zynga, the San Francisco-based company behind the FarmVille Facebook game, for a promotion in which players can receive Farmers “protection” for their virtual crops. FarmVille, a real-time farm simulation game is extremely popular on Facebook. Some reports estimate the game has more than 60 million monthly active users. According to the article, Farmers’ goal is to show off their online presence and their understanding that social media is changing the way people interact. In that vein, they wanted to lead the way with an innovative take on how to reach new prospects and connect with them on a one-to-one level. Continue reading