May 31, 2009 19:45 ET

Collectors, the 2008 Hurricane Season Has Officially Begun

AXA Art offers a reminder to take pre-emptive preparation measures to Protect Art and Collectibles

NEW YORK, NEW YORK--(Marketwire - May 31, 2009) - In its initial outlook for the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June through November, NOAA's National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center reported that "Global weather patterns are imposing a greater uncertainty in the 2009 hurricane season outlook than in recent years. Forecasters say there is a 70 percent chance of having nine to 14 named storms, of which four to seven could become hurricanes, including one to three major hurricanes."

While industry predictions can be unsettling, putting a plan in place can help prepare one for the worst and save lives and valued possessions.

"At the onset of a storm, ensuring the personal safety of you and your loved ones are paramount," said Christiane Fischer, CEO of AXA Art's North American operation. "For collectors, the proper implementation of a few timely precautions can help protect what sometimes translates into millions of dollars in assets," Fisher concluded.

The mitigation of hurricane damage to art and collectibles, not unlike general property protection, includes doing everything possible to alleviate total destruction and being prepared to take immediate action should damage occur.

Leveraging past experiences from Katrina and Rita and armed with information gathered from conservators and its worldwide team of experts, AXA Art assembled a checklist with key elements in hurricane catastrophe planning to aid collectors:

1. Fine art inventory: maintain a list of valuable artworks with descriptions, values and gallery receipts, prepared well in advance. Include emergency telephone numbers of your insurance agents/brokers, insurance company (note your policy number), conservators, art storage facility and local freeze dry facilities. Keep an extra copy with your insurance agent.

2. Protection of documents: secure important documents in water and fire proof safes or storage boxes. Keep additional copies at a separate secure location.

3. Art storage: plan in advance to make arrangements for art transportation to an arts storage facility or create art storage crates for your home.

4. Reinforced home: protective shutters and roof hurricane clips in place, outside furniture securely bolted, tied down, or stored indoors.

5. Emergency supplies: stock up on flashlights, fans, dehumidifiers, hurricane lamps and oil, matches and coolers. If you have an emergency generator, please make sure it is above possible high water levels.

6. Cameras: such as waterproof instant cameras, to take pictures and document the damage.

But what do you do if your Rodin bronze is standing ankle-deep in water or your favorite Rosenquist print got scratched? Damage control is a matter of foresight and more than often swift, smart action. Putting wet art works on paper into a freezer until professional help arrives is only one of many relevant tips provided by AXA's specialists who strongly recommend preparing a list of conservators specializing in the respective collection focus (whether works on paper, Asian sculpture or textiles) with telephone numbers.

About AXA Art

International reach, unrivalled competence and a high quality network of expert partners distinguish AXA Art, the only art insurance specialist in the world, from its generalist property insurance competitors. Over the past 40 years and well into the future, AXA Art has and will continue to redefine the manner in which it serves and services its museum, gallery, collector and artist clients, across Asia, America and Europe - with a sincere consideration of the way valuable objects are insured and cultural patrimony protected. For more information, visit

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