The US hurricane season runs from early June through the end of November. Hazards from these storms come in many forms including high winds, tornadoes, storm surges and flooding. At the onset of a storm, the most important concern is ensuring one's personal safety and that of loved ones. However, for collectors, having a disaster plan in place for collections can serve to protect prized possessions and valuable art and collectibles.
With information gathered from conservators and its worldwide team of expert partners, AXA ART has assembled a guide for collectors including a checklist with key elements in hurricane catastrophe prevention. Below is an excerpt from our Hurricane Disaster Plan Article for Collectors.
*Note to Dealers and Galleriest: Please download our Hurricane Disaster Plan Article for Dealers & Gallerists.
1. Prepare your home by adding protective hurricane shutters, hurricane glass windows, and roof hurricane clips. Install a fortified, waterproof storm closet—custom-made or purchased. Avoid taping windows. This can increase potential damage to your property as well as increase the risk of harm to yourselves and others.
2. Do not store fine art or furniture in your basement or attic.
3. Prepare and maintain a fine art inventory file with images of each work, name of artist or maker, title, dimensions, media, and year. Include invoices for each item. Protect your documents by securing important papers in water- and fire-proof safes or storage boxes. In addition, keep a copy of all documentation at a separate, secure location.
4. Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers which includes those of your insurance agents/brokers, insurance company (note your policy number), conservators, art storage facility, art transport company, and local freeze dry facilities. Also include the details for an emergency generator and fuel facility, a Hurricane or Disaster Recovery Company (to pump out water, for example) as well as a Contractor to do emergency repair work. Periodically check the numbers to see if they are still valid. Remember that cell phone towers are sometimes inactive for a period after large storms. Therefore, store these numbers in your cell phone contacts but keep a hard copy of the list in a fire- and water-resistant protective cabinet. Keep an extra copy with your insurance agent and another in your emergency kit.
5. Consider a hurricane evacuation plan for your art collection. Contact local art storage facilities that could potentially provide secured storage space prior to the arrival of the tropical storm or hurricane. In the absence of a hurricane evacuation plan, install a HVAC climate control system with a back-up generator, which can protect against rising humidity levels that can damage artwork.
Above: Hurricane Rita as it started making landfall on the Gulf Coast on September 23, 2005. Credit: NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, from the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC.
This announcement is advisory in nature and is provided for informational purposes only. It is offered as a resource to be used by insurance advisors and insureds in maintaining an appropriate loss prevention program. No liability of any kind is assumed by AXA ART by reason of the information contained in this announcement.