Contents Consulting’s Founder and CEO, Tom Kirkpatrick, served as a joint presenter for the session “Art Off the Wall,” at the PLRB Large Loss Conference in Tampa, FL on October 28 and 29, 2021.

Together with his co-presenters, Heather Becker, Owner of The Conservation Center in Chicago, and Sharkey Bowers, a Forensic and Structural Engineer at JS Held, Tom explored a hypothetical, but very possible complex claim situation: a valuable painting falls off the wall of a home, damaging a valuable sculpture below. The situation requires the coverage and valuation expertise of an art claim consultant, an art conservator, and a cause and origin engineer to unravel.

Using this hypothetical situation, Tom, Heather, and Sharkey explored key issues including: 

  • What caused the loss? Was it the windstorm taking place, as suggested by the homeowner, improper installation of the painting, or the vibration from either the pile driving or loud band music emanating from adjacent properties?
  • Was the loss caused by the actions of a third party against whom subrogation might be possible?
  • How are high-value art pieces generally insured and how do those coverages vary?
  • Given the outcome of the cause and origin investigation, would the insured perils of a Homeowner’s Policy cover any of these causes of loss, or would specific insurance of the art be required for coverage to be available?
  • Are the art pieces physical total loss or are they able to be conserved?
  • If physically repairable, does the cost of conservation plus any diminution of value result in the art becoming an economic total loss?

The seminar received high reviews from the enthusiastic attendees and hopefully lived up to the audience’s expectation from Tom’s opening comment: what happens when an art claims consultant, an art conservation expert, and a forensic engineer walk into a bar to discuss a claim?