How to choose the perfect appraiser for your property, art, antiques, jewelry, and other valuables

appraiserIf you have highly valuable, treasured property or possessions, you may need to get them appraised for insurance purposes. Many insurance carriers will insist on accurate valuation of property, art, antiques, jewelry, and other items so they can ensure the correct level of coverage and premium payment.

When you’re seeking out a good appraiser, here are some areas to consider:

Talk to your friends and colleagues

If you know other people who need to insure high-value items, talk to them about their experiences. Get recommendations on good appraisers and create a shortlist.

Look at professional qualifications

There are a variety of professional accreditations and qualifications depending on the fields an appraiser trains in. These include:

  • International Society of Appraiser’s credentials for fine art, antiques, and personal property.
  • A diploma in gemology for jewelry appraisal.
  • Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice exam for members of the American Society of Appraisers.
  • Principles of Valuation courses for members of the American Society of Appraisers.
  • Property appraisers should have one of the following designations from the Appraisal Institute — MAI Designation, SRPA Designation, SRA Designation, AI-GRS Designation, AI-RRS Designation.

There are various other exams and certifications available. Always check an appraiser’s qualifications to ensure they’re qualified to provide expert advice.

Check if they’re members of professional appraiser organizations

There are several industry bodies for appraisers. They include:

Many of these websites have membership directories for their appraisers.

Professional appraisers are required to uphold a strong code of ethics, including:

  • Providing truly independent valuation services, with no external influences.
  • Have no outside interest in the valued item, other than as providing a professional service.
  • Only carry out appraisal work in their area of expertise.
  • Consider all relevant factors when arriving at a valuation.
  • Treat and document property with the right level of care and respect.
  • Ensure personal remuneration and pay is independent of the value of property being appraised.

Interview your shortlist

When you have a shortlist of appraisers, call each one and ask questions about their area of expertise, qualifications, professional standards, and membership of industry bodies. Get a feel for what each appraiser is like and use that to decide which one would be right for your needs.

Remember that valuations change with time, many carriers will require updated valuations on a regular basis.

As always, if you have any questions about your scheduled property or how to get your property appraised, we are a phone call away!

Mary McGrath
Personal Lines Manager


Are You Protecting Your Invaluable Collections?

How to Insure Valuables Fine Art, Wine, Jewelry & MoreOver the years, you may have developed a knowledge and love of wine and picked up a few special bottles, which turned into a few more and, before you knew it, you had an extensive – and expensive – wine collection.  What would happen if there was a flood in your home or you experienced a power outage that impacted your temperature-controlled cedar wine cellar? 

From wine to art to fine jewelry to exotic cars and yachts, many people fail to recognize these items that they enjoy for their aesthetic or leisurely qualities as the valuable investments they truly are and therefore, don’t properly protect them.   

Additionally, as people do estate planning, they also often overlook outlining their plans for these non-traditional valuables, like an antique jewelry collection or Bentley.

Here are five tips to ensure you properly protect your collections:

  • Secure Specialized and Periodic Appraisals: Make sure the person appraising your items has   expertise in your type of collectible so you get the most accurate appraisalRe-appraise your collectibles every two to three years and make sure you share them with your financial advisor, insurance company, tax attorney and estate planner so they can understand the value of your collection and the potential risks and benefits within your overall portfolio as well as any implications to your charitable giving wishes or estate planning.
  • Keep a Detailed Inventory: Document your collectibles, where and when they were purchased and for how much.  Update every time a new item is added to the collection and ensure there’s a complete, properly appraised inventory at all times as well as information on where certificates of authenticity are housed.
  • Assemble a Smart and Specialized Advisory Team Early: Work with an insurance firm, financial planner, tax attorney and estate planner who have expertise protecting and planning for the issues associated with these non-traditional investments.  It’s important to do this early, as your collection could have implications on your overall wealth, taxes and estate plans as it grows or diminishes in value.
  • Properly Insure your Collectibles: Make sure you choose an insurance company with expertise in providing coverage for your unique collection and coverage options that would truly account for their value.   These prized collections often mistakenly get tacked onto an existing homeowner’s insurance policy with very limited coverage that would never provide the value they truly hold if they needed to be replaced.
  • Make an Early Succession Plan: Whether you want to hand down your fine art collection to your son, donate it to a museum or have it auctioned off for charity, be sure to work with your team to detail your plans and to get their input on how to properly include them in your estate planning. 

By treating your collectibles like your other assets, you can enjoy your passions and ensure their potential returns and risks are managed and that they’re properly protected.  This will allow you – and your loved ones –to enjoy your collections now and in the future.

Mary McGrath

Sinclair Risk & Financial Management

Mary McGrath

Preserving Your Fine Art Collection


Protecting the high-value collections in your home with appropriate insurance coverage is imperative. However, with any big investment, you’ll want to physically shield it from damage as well. Here are just a few preventive and maintenance tips to preserve your fine arts collection.

Keep your home at a consistent temperature.  The ideal climate for valuable art is between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. To maintain this temperature near your art, it is best to place the piece in a location that is clear from any outside air flow passage. Relative humidity needs to be taken into consideration as well, since too much humidity may cause mold and too much dry air can cause paintings and wood to crack. Home thermostats can be imprecise, so you may want to purchase a digital thermo-hygrometer to monitor humidity and temperatures.

Keep art out of direct sunlight. Ultraviolet rays and high-wattage lighting can cause significant damage to paintings and other high-value pieces of art. To further prevent damage and fading, it’s also a good idea to rotate your collection periodically.

Don’t store art in basements or attics. Because these areas are susceptible to dramatic temperature and relative humidity changes, this is not a good location for art, especially paintings. If you must store your art, do so in a centralized room or designated dry space, keeping the artwork face-to-back in a vertical position.

Hire a professional art hanger. Objects need to be hung correctly to ensure support and reduce the chance of falling. A professional art hanger is more likely to use the proper hardware and structural supports than a general contractor would. Also, they know where not to hang the piece. For example, art should never be over a fireplace since heat, smoke, and ash can easily ruin it.

Sinclair Risk & Financial Management offers selected programs designed exclusively for our affluent clientele and their Connecticut high value homes. These homeowners programs provide higher limits and broader coverage than standard policies and are designed for houses worth millions that often include expensive furnishings and cutting edge technology and equipment. Contact us today for more information about our Connecticut Fine Art Collection Insurance . (877) 602-2305

High-End Home Insurance: Re-examine Your Coverage After Moving

High-End Home Insurance Re-examine Your Coverage After MovingHigh-End Home Insurance: Re-examine Your Coverage After Moving

Moving homes is an exciting and also highly stressful time. It requires a lot of work, planning and organization. Not to mention years and months of planning and preparation. As you upgrade to your new, beautiful home, make sure you take the time to have it fully assessed to get the best insurance protection possible.

High-end homes require highly specialized insurance not available in the usual standard policy. Sprawling penthouses, estates, ranches, coastal retreats all require high-end insurance to protect its valuable assets. Here are few other policies to keep in mind when moving into your new high-end abode.

Fine art insurance. Over the years, you may have amassed a beautiful collection of art that now graces your home. While your homeowners insurance may include a limited amount of coverage for fine art, it most likely will not be enough in the event your collection is damaged or stolen. A fine arts floater is a crucial aspect of an over high end home insurance program. It is also an aspect that can be easily overlooked.

Wine collection insurance. The same principles of insuring fine art apply to a high end wine collection. There are a number of mishaps that can occur, including losses due to a mechanical breakdown of heating, cooling or humidity control equipment or fire, theft flood and breakage.

Jewelry insurance. Jewelry is another overlooked item that is often inadequately insured in high end homes. What began as a few heirloom pieces has slowly increased in value over the years to be a beautiful, sentimental and substantial collection.

Fine art, jewelry and wine collections also must be periodically assessed to insure they are sufficiently insured to cover their current value. Insuring your gold jewelry for example, on a price assess 10 years ago, wouldn’t cover replacement costs in the market today.

Sinclair Risk & Financial Management offers selected programs designed exclusively for our affluent clientele and their high value homes. These homeowners programs provide higher limits and broader coverage than standard policies and are designed for houses worth millions that often include expensive furnishings and cutting edge technology and equipment. Contact us today for more information. (877) 602-2305

Private Client Services: Steinway to be sold to Private Company

Private Client Services Steinway to be sold to Private Company for $438 millionPrivate Client Services: Steinway to be sold to Private Company

According to Reuters, private equity firm Kohlberg & Co. is acquiring 160 year old piano and musical instrument maker Steinway Musical Instruments Inc. for approximately $438 million. Steinway has evolved to become an American icon synonymous with handmade grand pianos. The company previously declined to sell itself six months earlier.

Steinways are one of the most iconic piano makers. And as a result they don’t come cheap. An average Steinway can cost anywhere between $40,000 to $100,000 for a full-size concert piano. Even buying a used one can be difficult. For an investment piece such as a Steinway, you want to be sure you are getting a quality instrument. Experts recommend that any interested buyers should have the piano inspected by a technician. A technician inspection can cast anywhere from $75 to $150 for a consultation, but its money well-spent to ensure you are getting a good return on your investment.

What you invest in to furnish your home can also have significant insurance needs. Oftentimes, your jewelry, fine art, exotic car, wine collection or custom Steinway piano won’t be covered by standard home insurance policies in the event of a disaster or damage. If you have a high value home, you want to make sure you are protected inside and out against any exposures and liabilities.

At Sinclair Risk & Financial Management, our Connecticut Private Client Group Insurance is tailored for the specific needs of our highly valued clients. We have access to particular markets that enable us to craft custom Wallingford homeowners insurance and Wallingford auto insurance programs that reflect the true value of your property, your risk profile and your personal circumstances throughout the world. Contact us today for more information about our private client services.

Fine Art Insurance: FBI’s Top 10 Art Crimes

Fine Art Insurance FBI's Top 10 Art CrimesFine Art Insurance: FBI’s Top 10 Art Crimes

Iraq National Museum. In 2003, 10,000 artifacts were taken by U.S. Department of Defense contractors who used them as gifts or bribes. Seven to ten thousand remain missing.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Two men dressed as Boston police entered the  museum during St. Patrick’s Day, tied up the night guards, and stole 11 paintings, including a Rembrandt, Dega, Manet, and Vermeer worth up to $500 million. The paintings have yet to be recovered.

Oratory of San Lorenzo. Two thieves removed a painting by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, estimated to be worth $20 million, from its frame in October 1969.

Apartment of concert violinist Erica Morini. A Stradivarius violin, known as the Davidoff-Morini Stradivarius and made in 1727. The violin is worth $3 million.

The Van Gogh Museum. Two thieves stole two of Van Gogh’s paintings, together valued at $30 million. The two were convicted for the theft but the paintings have yet to be recovered.

Ashmolean Museum. A thief broke into the museum on New Year’s Eve 1991 and stole a Cezanne landscape painting valued at $3 million.

Gallery, West Hollywood, CA. Burglars stole two oil paintings by Maxfield Parrish- the paintings, two panels of a series, were cut from their frames and valued at $4 million.

Museu Chacara Do Ceu, Rio De Janiero. Four paintings by Salvador Dali, Henri Matisee, Pable Picasso, and Claude Money were stolen from the museum- no value has been established.

Art Gallery of New South Wales. A self-portrait by Dutch Master Frans Van Mieris was stolen in Sydney Australia- estimates value the painting around $1 million.

Private Home in Houston. A masked man stole an oil painting by French Impressionist Pierre Auguste Renoir, estimated $1 million.

Two of the FBI’s top art crimes involved pieces that weren’t stolen from national museums or exhibits. They were stolen from private homes. As an art collector, you hope that will never happen to you, but it is essential to be prepared. Make sure to protect your fine art and jewelry with a policy from Sinclair Risk & Financial Management. A Fine Arts Floater Insurance policy is one of the most important, yet most overlooked, aspects of an overall financial program. Contact us today for more information about our Fine Art Insurance programs. (877) 602-2305

How to Protect Your Fine Art Collection

How to Protect Your Fine Art CollectionHow to Protect Your Fine Art Collection

Major storms such as Hurricane Sandy are continuing to increase in frequency and severity. It’s a wake up call for art collectors and planners. As these extreme storms threaten their collections, art collectors need to be vigilant about devising emergency evacuation plans and inventory management systems for valuable works of art.

How to Protect Your Art Collection

If you have a valuable art collection, you should have an inventory management system that is regularly updated. Take Hurricane Sandy, after the storm, there were owners who didn’t have an updated inventory list. Consequently, they didn’t know what they had and couldn’t claim a loss. If you’re not sure, high and ultra-high net worth client can work with an art advisor to organize and update data on their collection. Talking to an insurance agent who specializes in coverage for high net worth clients and high end art insurance can also help you better prepare for any impending natural disasters.

Art losses from Hurricane Sandy are estimated to reach $500 million, according to the New York Times. A significant portion of damages hit Chelsea’s collection of art galleries and works in New York City. The estimates for repair include structure damage on the galleries, as well as evaluating any restoration work that could be done on pieces that the water had touched.

Art insurance prices previously had been falling for several years due to stiff competition and a low level of claims. Now, however, as the number of severe storms begins to rise, and the industry grapples with claims from Hurricane Sandy, the prices could begin to fluctuate higher.

At Sinclair Risk & Financial Management, we have access to particular markets that enable us to craft custom art Insurance, as well as homeowners and auto insurance programs that reflect the true value of your property, your risk profile, and your personal circumstances throughout the world. We’d love to sit down with you and discuss more about How to Protect Your Art Collection & properly insure it. Contact us today for more information. (877) 602-2305.

Art Insurance: Protect Your Valuables with Private Client Coverage

Art-Insurance-Protect-Your-Valuables-with-Private-Client-CoverageArt Insurance: Protect Your Valuables with Private Client Coverage

Superstorm Sandy caused devastating wreckage across the East Coast. As businesses are beginning to recover their losses and rebuild, the art industry has been hit particularly hard.

Fine art insurers are facing claims up to half a billion dollars for artwork destroyed when waters flooded the Chelsea district of Manhattan, where many New York art galleries are located, according to Reuters. One insurer expects to pay out $40 million in claims, and brokers and underwriters say the total loss could reach $500 million.

The value of high net worth coverage can be seen in the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. Despite the damages, up to 60 percent of individuals who qualify for high new worth policies remain with standard insurance carriers, leaving them exposed and underinsured. Art insurers previously expressed concerns that art storage warehouses had accumulated too many costly pieces in a single location, exposing them to significant losses if the facilities flooded or caught fire.

Part of the issue is a lack of knowledge about an item’s worth. Many homeowners amass collections of art, antiques, jewelry, and other collectibles, but are unaware of how much their collections are actually worth. To protect your collectibles, an appraiser should assess your collection every few years, so you have reliable, updated reports on how much everything is worth.

Standard homeowners policies do not cover valuable art collections, jewelry, or any high worth collectibles. To make sure you are covered in the event of damage, you need an additional floater or high net worth policy to get adequate protection.

At Sinclair Risk & Financial Management, we have access to particular markets that enable us to craft custom art Insurance, as well as homeowners and auto insurance programs that reflect the true value of your property, your risk profile, and your personal circumstances throughout the world. We’d love to sit down with you and discuss more about the special programs we can develop just for you. Contact us today for more information. (877) 602-2305


How to Insure Valuables: Fine Art, Wine, Jewelry & More

How to Insure Valuables Fine Art, Wine, Jewelry & MoreHow to Insure Valuables: Fine Art, Wine, Jewelry & More

As Hurricane Sandy rolls past the east coast, residents are grieving over the loss of their valuable possessions. Even as families pack up their luggage and travel to different destinations, they often leave their home and their valuables susceptible to theft. Although your home is covered by homeowners insurance, your valuable possessions inside may only be covered by a small amount. Valuables may mean many different things to many different individuals, some find the value in sentimental objects and some find it in monetary objects. However regardless of your definition of valuable, you need to be aware and educated with the best ways to insure your valuables.

Nobody wants to see their fine art, wine, jewelry, exotic car, or silverware stolen only to find out that it cannot be replaced. Because general homeowners insurance does not cover very much of these valuables, you will need to speak with an agent and purchase additional coverage. The most common policy on how to insure valuables is the personal articles floater (PAF). Although PAF varies with every carrier, it generally means it is a separate or supplemental policy added to your homeowner policy in order to protect your valuables against theft or damages.

When purchasing a PAF you will need to create an inventory which includes the name of the item, a picture and its monetary worth. In order to compute the item’s value you may have an appraiser look and examine it. Although this may seem costly, it will ultimately it will be very beneficial in the event of a loss. This will ensure you scheduled value of the possession when filing a claim.

There is also blanket coverage which is often recommended for smaller possession, such as a less valuable piece of jewelry. If you do decide to purchase blanket coverage instead you do not need your possessions to be appraised. However, blanket coverage does not guarantee that you will be covered for the full amount you purchased the item for.

Sinclair Insurance welcomes the opportunity to sit down with you and tell you more about the special programs we can develop just for you. At your convenience, please feel free to call us at 203.265.0996, email us, or return the form on this page.

Fine Art Insurance: Investing in Fine Art

Fine Art Insurance Investing in Fine ArtFine Art Insurance: Investing in Fine Art

For the past few years, the economy has been trickling into an unfortunate depression. Many people from all socioeconomic classes are frantic to find different avenues to flourish in. Many have turned to collectibles, hoping to get a good return in their investment. Although collectibles have always been notable and prosperous assets, it is no longer the same as it was before.  Unlike most unstable markets, such as gold, sports memorabilia, and fine jewelry; fine art is proving to be rather profitable investment. Fine art collectors both new and experienced should not carelessly go into the industry without a few tips on choosing the right investment. Regardless of the consistent profitability, purchasing the wrong art piece can easily turn this into a bad investment.  Here are a few tips ensure a good investment.

Firstly, spend a substantial amount of time researching and educating yourself; look through art magazines and art history books. You may also want to hire an art consultant that is both knowledgeable of the industry and understands your artistic preferences. Secondly, visit as many art galleries, art museums, and art expos as possible. Once you have acquired sufficient knowledge of the industry as well, you can start to feel the pulse of new, up and coming artists. Next, start “window shopping.” While you certainly want to look for pieces that you love, also take into consideration of the types of pieces with a good return in your investment. During this economy, it is reasonable to be selfish with your money, as many of these pieces can range from $10,000 to $250,000.

The best investments are original pieces from notable, well established artists. Whether you plan to sell the artwork in the future, original pieces will always have value. In order to avoid purchasing reproductions, assess and confirm that the piece is original.

How to evaluate the authenticity of a fine art piece:

  • Signatures- Search for the artist’s birth/death dates.
  • Hand-signed and numbered
  • Certificates of Authenticity
  • Aside from original pieces from notable artists, oil paintings also have a good return in an investment. However, there are paintings that hold more value than others.

How to evaluate a fine art valuable oil painting:

  • Portraits
  • Attractive women in dresses
  • Age- the kind of canvass and nails used may indicate the age of the artwork

Regardless of the “type” of artwork you purchase, ensure that it is off good quality. Quality includes color saturation and condition and the differences in this may substantially increase/decrease the price.

If you are an owner of fine art, we’d like to discuss how to protect your investment for the next generation and beyond. Please call us today for fine art insurance at 203.265.0996, email us, or return the form on this page.