Giant loonie museum heist raises insurance questions

Giant loonie museum heist raises insurance questions | Insurance Business

Giant loonie museum heist raises insurance questions
A giant golden loonie named the “Big Maple Leaf”, weighing 100-kilos and with a face value of $1 million, was stolen from a Berlin museum using a wheelbarrow and a ladder on Monday at 3am.

The coin, which could fetch $5 million at today’s gold prices, was issued by the Royal Canadian Mint and was lifted from the more than century old, Bode Museum.

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German police speculate the three centimetre-thick, car tire size-wide coin will get melted down and will never be recovered.

AXA Art’s vice president and director of claims management, Colin Quinn, said these types of heists happen relatively frequently and the indemnity would be for the purchase or original loan price, not what it was currently valued at.

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“As part of the loss adjusting expense, most carriers will assign an investigator to work with law enforcement to be kept apprised of the state of the investigation or if there’s anything they need from the insured,” Quinn said. “They will interview key people at the museum like security, review some of the cameras as well - the carrier will usually bear that cost.”

Museum and cultural institutions insurance is usually sold by brokers, according to Quinn.

“They ask a detailed description of the item and its value, what precautions and security you have in place? What intentions you have once the item is not on public view? Where should it be placed to prevent anyone from gaining access? What is the current state of the security at the museum itself? How many personnel do you have?” Quinn said.

The coin in question was one of six issued by the mint and was on loan to the Bode Museum from its owner who purchased the giant loonie. Five of the promotional gold coins were sold while one remains in a vault in Ottawa.

“This is a world-class museum and I’m sure they’ve taken all the precautions that a very high end museum would take,” Quinn said. “Even with the best mitigation and some of the best security that technology allows, something like this can occur which is one of the reasons they have insurance.”


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