Art insurance scheme could get a do-over

Numerous complicated requirements seen as barriers preventing art exhibitors from picking up insurance

Art insurance scheme could get a do-over

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

A Japanese art insurance scheme covering foreign works may be redesigned to ease the stringent requirements that prevent many museums from applying.

The “Indemnity for Works of Art” system was launched by the Agency for Cultural Affairs in June 2011, aiming to reduce costs and increase access to exhibitions that showcase foreign works of art. More than 1,000 art galleries and museums across Japan are eligible for the insurance.

The scheme covers up to ¥100 billion (US$881.4 million) in “wall-to-wall” damages, or those incurred during transportation or setup of the exhibition housing the artwork, The Mainichi reports.

It also covers up to ¥95 billion (US$837.3 billion) for natural disasters or terrorist attacks that might damage or destroy the artwork.

The Agency for Cultural Affairs said that upon the scheme’s launch in 2011, 10 applications per year were expected. However, enrolment fell short, with only four to five applications each year from 2011 to 2015, and only two in 2016.

To be eligible for the scheme, the exhibition must be available to the public, last for at least 21 days, and must not be for profit. The value of the exhibited artwork must be also above ¥5 billion.

A Cultural Affairs Agency report showed that around 200-300 foreign art exhibitions are held in Japan each year, but only 20% of these are appraised to be worth over ¥5 billion. Due to the high threshold value and complicated application process, many exhibitors do not opt for the art insurance scheme.

Hiroya Murakami, deputy director of The National Museum of Western Art and one of the scheme’s formulators, suggested lowering the estimated value for eligible exhibitions to ¥100 million to make the insurance accessible to more exhibitors.

“It is necessary to make it easier for regional museums that focus on smaller-scale exhibitions to enrol,” said Murakami.

The Cultural Affairs Agency will conduct a survey of various art exhibitors to gather ideas on how to improve its art insurance system.

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