Continuing education class for Insurance Professionals

On April 17, 2012 I held two continuing education classes for insurance professionals hosted by Dry Concepts, at their spacious offices, located at 4190 South University Drive Davie, FL 33328, Tel:(954) 370-7778.

As usual both sessions were filled to capacity and in all, over sixty individuals attended the two three hour sessions, one held in the morning and the other after lunch. The course material addressed both technical and ethical topics, mostly unfamiliar to most attendees and was the source of much animated discussion among them. I usually incorporate a few hands-on demonstrations into the talks demonstrating the cleaning of oil paintings and the repair of works of art on paper. Attendees  find my classes a pleasant way to fulfill their CEC requirement and further their knowledge on how to handle claims which involve art and collectibles.

Continuing education credits are required by the State of Florida for insurance professionals in order to maintain their licensing as adjusters and agents.  For the past number of years I have been presenting specialized course material, which I developed for classes such as the ones held at Dry Concepts every few months.

Dry Concepts offers a full range of cleaning and restoration services in addition to offering continuing education classes on a number of related topics including mold remediation, cleaning of rugs and appraising. Contact them for a full class schedule and to make a reservation for an upcoming session.

We at ConservArt understand the complex issues relating to fine art and collectibles: it’s our business. In a highly specialized field like the conservation and restoration of works of art, we have the skills and resources to interact with the most sophisticated art expert or collector. With knowledge, logic and tact, difficult claims are routinely resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.

 Link to YouTube video

Open Letter to an Insurance Company Adjuster

The Insurance Company you work for has built a reputation of honor and reliability and continues to spend a great deal of effort and treasure to maintain and further this public perception. You do your best to perform your work conscientiously, keeping the best interests of your employer in mind and would do nothing intentionally to damage your employer’s reputation by short-changing your policyholders.

Your job in adjusting a claim is to make the claimant whole after a casualty by returning their property to the condition prevailing prior to the event, or if that isn’t possible to compensate them according to the terms of their policy.

Fire and flood claims are made up of numerous different physical items, some structural, others related to personal property. For reconstruction you will use a general contractor and check their quote against a current RS Means Construction Estimate Guide, the standard of the industry.

For personal property that isn’t replaced, you employ a variety of specialists who have the expertise to perform the needed tasks. A clean-up contractor to handle the general contents, a dry-cleaner for clothing, experienced specialists for cleaning upholstered items, oriental carpets, fabric wallpaper, murals, faux painting, antique furniture, computer equipment, family photographs and albums, paintings, sculpture, art glass, collections, etc., etc.,

An experienced clean-up contractor is worth his weight in gold, he can be an adjuster’s best asset and secret weapon. He will be aware of the limits of expertise that his employees can provide and will refer items that require specialized handling to firms which have the needed knowledge to provide this extra level of care.

Less experienced clean-up contractors will tackle just about anything and while they may have the best of intentions, invariably they will cause damage because they are unaware of what they don’t know. Using such service providers can be problematic and dangerous for an Insurance company. Inappropriate treatment will result in irreparable damage and result in additional liability and expense for the insurer.

Similarly, hiring firms to provide estimates without checking their credentials and using their quotes as the benchmark for settling a claim is both unfair and unethical. An adjuster cannot claim ignorance and a use the desire to save money for his employer as justification for shortchanging an insured. The figure does not compensate the insured for the true cost of returning their possessions to pre-casualty condition, therefore it cannot be considered as full compensation according to the policy.

There are different degrees of preparedness for any task. The janitorial staff at a museum are never the same people who clean and maintain the collection. Paper towels and Windex are not the proper way to care for the Mona Lisa.

Fortunately, for the field of restoration for works of art and historical objects, there is a directory of qualified and peer reviewed service providers maintained by the American Institute for Conservation.

The Directory is searchable by geographic location and field of specialization. All individuals listed operate in accordance with the Code of Ethics of the AIC and provide state of the art services to Museums, collectors, Insurance Companies, dealers and consumers. One must question why any qualified service provider would not be listed in this Directory and conversely, if they aren’t listed, are they qualified?

Ask yourself if in case of litigation, would you be able to justify using someone not on this National List, or the figures provided by such an individual, as a meaningful benchmark?


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Posted on:
May 2nd, 2012

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Emergency Restoration of Fine Art, Cultural Property and Collectibles – a Specialist’s Point of View

My name is George Schwartz. I’m a professional conservator – art restorer, in private practice since 1963. Emergency and Insurance Claim related work has become an important part of my business over the years and I have become very familiar with balancing the Ethical, Legal and Technical issues that so often become a mine-field and delay or prevent the amicable resolution of claims.

I’m licensed by the state of Florida as a continuing education instructor for CE 3-24C – Adjuster Optional Courses and you can find out more about me and the services I provide by visiting my website

A search on any search-engine will result in many companies, that claim expertise in this field. The purpose of initiating this discussion is to inform fellow members of this Group, of the differences between “restoration” firms and Professional Conservators.

This is not meant to be a promotion for one Group or another. Both of these types of service providers fulfill needed roles, but if you need one kind and hire another, you will likely encounter problems.

In future posts, I will explore the differences, the advantages and drawbacks of one Group over another, the pitfalls to watch out for and how to identify the right service provider for the particular project for Claim you are handling and what you can expect when hiring each.

I hope you will join in with your comments.


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Posted on:
August 18th, 2009

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