LAS VEGAS, Nev., Feb. 15, 2000 – Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO), a leading provider of information about property and liability risk, and the Art Loss Register (ALR), the world's largest private computerized database of stolen art works, have joined forces to combat art theft.
A strategic alliance announced today at the 2000 Insurance Fraud Management Conference here adds the heft of the ISO ClaimSearch industrywide antifraud database of claims information to ALR's database and art expertise in an all-out campaign to recover hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of stolen paintings and other art objects and collectibles, and to deter would-be art thieves.
Under the agreement ISO will forward to ALR information on claims for lost or stolen works of art, antiques and other valuables from its ISO ClaimSearch system of 140 million records of property, liability and auto claims filed with insurers. Information ISO reports to ALR will be treated as proprietary information not to be divulged or shared with any person or firm, except parties involved with a given claim investigation. ISO will obtain prior approval from insurers whose claims information it forwards to the Art Loss Register.
Created in 1991, the London- and New York-based ALR, with a database of 100,000 unique and rare stolen valuables, including paintings, sculptures, baseball cards – and even rare cars – has been responsible for the recovery of more than $100 million in stolen art. ALR is able to systematically track down art – that in some cases has been long missing – by searching auction houses and sales catalogues and responding to police leads and underwriters' inquiries.
For instance, acting on a query by an insurance underwriter, ALR was instrumental last year in recovering a 100-year-old painting by French impressionist Paul Czanne, Bouilloire et fruits, that was stolen from a private collection in 1978. Following its recovery, the rightful owners sold it for nearly $30 million.
Searches prompted by requests from art dealers and museums have doubled in the past two years – reflecting growing demand for due diligence among buyers and sellers of art.
ALR registers reported claims for destruction losses, including fire, to recover items that have been fraudulently removed only to reappear on the market later.
ISO ClaimSearch is a single source of liability, property and motor vehicle insurance claims that professionals use to check for patterns of fraud across lines of insurance and types of claims. ISO ClaimSearch is a repository of more than 140 million claims records that provides claims information in real time across any combination of data fields.
David Shillingford, ALR's marketing director for North America, said the owners of valuables everywhere stand to benefit from ALR's alliance with ISO. "We have always received the high-value art losses through specialist adjusters, but we needed to find a systematic way of collecting every art and antique loss from all subscribing insurers. With information from ISO ClaimSearch, we have the obvious solution – a vast new source of claims information from the most complete property insurance claims database in the world."
ISO's senior vice president in charge of claims information, Richard P. Boehning, hailed the strategic alliance as a major advance in the property/casualty industry's crusade against a $20 billion-a-year insurance fraud problem.
"ALR's excellent reputation in the art world was key in our decision to enter into this agreement," said Boehning. "By combining ALR's art expertise and loss information with ISO's vast all-claims database and state-of-the-art technology capabilities, ISO's commitment to fight fraud has taken a giant step forward.
"In time, the continuing success of ALR's and ISO's fight against art theft is sure to deter future thieves by impeding the potential resale of stolen art and antiques," said Boehning.
ALR's principal focus is on recovering stolen art and antiques and aiding in their return to owners. In addition, by serving as a central checkpoint, ALR can assure good title to purchasers and lenders.
Other goals include assisting law-enforcement agencies and others to identify stolen or looted art works, including items seized from Holocaust victims.
The 2000 Insurance Management Fraud Conference, sponsored by ISO and the National Insurance Crime Bureau, is the insurance industry's preeminent event for claims professionals – field or home-office claims managers, special investigation unit managers and supervisors, insurance attorneys and third-party administrators. The conference offers valuable information for professionals responsible for developing, implementing and evaluating fraud-management and prevention programs.
ALR is the largest private international computerized image database of stolen art works, antiques and collectibles.
ISO is a leading source of information about property and liability risk. ISO provides statistical, actuarial, underwriting and claims information and analyses; consulting and technical services; policy language; and information about specific locations for a broad spectrum of commercial and personal lines of insurance. In the United States and around the world, ISO serves more than 2,900 insurers and reinsurers as well as agents, brokers, self-insureds, risk managers, insurance regulators and other government agencies.