What's Happening?

Correctly insuring art and collectables



The art and collectables industry has undergone somewhat of an evolution amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with the industry taking the viewing and purchasing of artwork onto digital platforms. This has also opened the market from a global perspective, allowing art enthusiasts from anywhere in the world to participate in the growing art craze.

According to the Africa Wealth Report 2021, the global top-end art market is currently valued at around US$80 billion, with African art accounting for around US$1.2 billion of it. Irma Stern’s painting entitled Arab Priest sold for R52 303 600, the highest value ever achieved for a South African artist. Some of the best-known local artists include:

  • Gerard Sekoto (South Africa)
  • Maggie Laubser (South Africa)
  • Irma Stern (South Africa)
  • Ben Enwonwu (Nigeria)
  • El Anatsui (Ghana)

It casts an ascetic spotlight on the growing value of art and collectables that are seemingly recession and pandemic proof. However, many costs and responsibilities come with owning art and one of these costs is insurance. “There is a wide disparity between insuring everyday household items and insuring art, collectables and antiques.  In most cases prestige art collections are unique and cannot be replaced, which lends itself to a different set of criteria when it comes to assessing the insurable value of these items,” says Mandy Barrett of Aon South Africa, insurance brokerage and risk consultants.   

“Given the complexity around correctly scoped insurance covers for these appreciating assets, art and antiques are insured on an agreed value, according to a professional valuation certificate. Artinsure is a specialist art and antique insurer that is well positioned within the community in addition to utlising the knowledge and expertise of an esteemed panel of local and international restorers.  The fact that Artinsure leverages off expert valuators across the globe that is supported by a substantial information network enables them to professionally manage the insurance needs of your appreciating asset,” says Mandy.

The art environment includes auctioneers, antique and art dealers, artists, restorers and conservators, museums, specialist packers and shippers, thousands of private and corporate collectors, organisers of local and international exhibitions, as well as monthly and annual fairs.

Art collectors, whether individuals, corporates, auctioneers, antique or art dealers require appropriate broker intervention to make sure that their priceless assets are properly covered against loss or damage.  “The value of an art piece is determined by among other things the condition of the object, the value of pairs and sets, trends in the market, the size of the collection and the measures that are applied to protect the item or items.  All of these factors need to be weighed up to ascertain that your art and collectables are covered, adequately,” explains Mandy.

“It’s all about providing a true value proposition based on a working knowledge of the art business.  The increasing number of South Africans voyaging into the world of art collections necessitates the need for world class insurance solutions,” concludes Mandy.