Lost in Lloyds: A conservator in corporate America

Sharon D. Blank

Abstract

Although perceived as a pioneer, the author, perhaps more honestly, has accidentally wandered into a career as a Loss Adjuster specializing in Fine Arts. Much discussion could be focused on the increasingly narrow employment opportunities for Conservators in these days of shrinking budgets and appreciation for the arts, as well as the necessity of positioning ourselves to adapt to wider tasks, but that will not be thrust of this talk.

A Loss Adjuster is assigned by the Insurance Company to assist in settling a claim presented by the Insured. There are perhaps ten adjuster in the United States specializing in Fine Art Claims (Yep, an even smaller field than Conservation). Discussion will center on the special concerns of Conservation’s intersection with the Insurance industry. Conservators, both in museums and private practice, are inevitably involved when a claim is made for damage to high value artworks, collectibles or the decorative arts. Thrilling subjects such as Loss of Value, and the question of at what point an artwork is completely lost, as well as maintaining integrity when faced with these issues will be raised. Join the author in wrestling with the disparity between nonprofit and commercial concerns evidenced by the differing needs and values of dealers, collectors and museums when confronted by a damaged artwork.