In most trades, valuing stock in the event of a claim is no problem. The value of stock is what you pay for it including the cost of delivery and storage. If the stock is lost, destroyed or damaged, the policy should have a “business interruption” or “loss of profit” which covers loss of income.
However, many insurers are wary of insuring antiques dealers, antiques centres and auctioneers because the stock is “second-hand” – not a phrase that I am comfortable with but it is what it is. Additionally, the value of an item is somewhat variable – often depending on what someone is willing to pay and how many people are wanting to bid.
Our experience with antique dealers is that quite often they have no specific purchase price for some items, for example where they have been brought in as part of a house clearance. Working with loss adjusters, we have generally been able to arrive at a satisfactory compromise. Where values are higher – in the fine arts area – the valuation is much simpler as the item(s) will have generally been photographed and catalogued.
For auction houses, in addition to the valuation of items, the problem is that the auction house does not actually own the item(s) but they are what we refer to as “goods in trust”, it is important that the policy is properly worded to include that term. The usual solution is to look at the auctioneer’s valuation and agree on a figure halfway between the upper and lower auction estimate. On occasion, this can lead to a dispute between the property owner – buyer or seller depending on when in the auction stage the insured event occurred – the auction house and the insurer. This is where the services of an experienced insurance broker are invaluable as we can negotiate with insurers, loss adjusters and all other interested parties.
Again, a “business interruption” or “loss of profit” section to the policy will cover loss of income such as auction fees.
A specialist trade needs a specialist insurance broker and our 20+ years of experience provides the security that you need, leaving you to carry on with your business free of worries.