Art storage: have you chosen wisely?


Nick Brett

With the number of storage facilities on the increase, how do you choose the best place to keep your art?

Nick Brett, CEO of AXA ART, warns that not all storage facilities are equal.

“One off the perks of the job is that you do get to go out and see art in situ,” he says. “I’ve been to many different storage facilities in my time, and some are absolutely fantastic, whereas others are very messy, with poor housekeeping and cigarette butts outside the back door. You have to be very careful when making your choices.”

In order to ease the process, AXA ART has led a market wide initiative called GRASP (global risk assessment platform) which is used to rate storage facilities objectively. The scheme has been running for nearly seven years and has become widely used and recognised within the fine art insurance industry.

“The market takes it very seriously, as do the storage facilities, because they know if they get a good score they’re going to attract business – so this is really a win-win situation that’s helping to drive standards up.

“When considering where to store your art, you can always ask the facility if they have had a rating from GRASP, and if they have they will tell you.”

Another important factor to consider when storing art is that of accumulation: each insurer will only have a certain amount of business they are willing to write per storage facility, in order to protect themselves against massive losses focused on one location.

“There are now some places where it is getting harder to find capacity,” warns Brett. “If you’re a prudent insurer you don’t want to have too many eggs in one basket and you always want to be able to be sure you can afford to pay a claim.

“We have a maximum exposure we are comfortable with for any one location and once the number gets to a certain limit we speak to clients and tell them we are full at that location, but we can suggest other locations that are of a similar quality and hopefully not too far away.”

Fortunately, the number of storage facilities is on the increase, giving collectors more choice than ever for the safe storage of their art. Just be sure to pick wisely, choosing a facility with a good GRASP rating, and one for which your insurer has spare capacity.