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That's My Picasso
by Robert Franco | 2007/03/27 |

This a new one for me. With the real estate market slowing down, and by extension the title industry, innovative new sources of revenue are being sought out to compensate. In New York, one title agency has decided to pursue a collateral market for insuring title to valuable works of art. Liberty Title Agency has recently formed Liberty Art Title Agency to offer their clients "fine art insurance."

Liberty will serve as an authorized independent agent of ARIS Corporation to market and sell ATPI(R), fine art insurance, in New York. ARIS is the only insurer to offer true title insurance for the fine art market. The company received regulatory approval for the insurance in New York in May 2006. Fine art insurance is expected to do for fine art what title insurance originally did and continues to do for real estate, that is, create liquidity and standardization of the transaction for an industry which is largely unregulated and which relies on laws created for different industries to resolve art ownership disputes.

Liberty Title Agency, LLC, was launched six years ago and now has offices in Manhattan, Uniondale and Westchester, New York. The company recently passed $25 billion in closings. "We at Liberty Title understand the title issues which our clients face with real estate and by extension appreciate the need equally to protect their art collections against ownership disputes. We firmly believe that we can help our real estate clients navigate the title issues they face with their art collections," stated Madden.

It would be very interesting to know what the premium would be for a $60 million Picasso, like the one pulled from an auction at Christie's last November over a claimed ownership dispute. The painting, Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto, was claimed "sold under duress in Nazi Germany" and an heir of a former owner filed suit to recover ownership.

Like anything of value that can be subject to law suits resulting from disputes of ownership, whether it is art or real estate, title insurance helps create a stable market and provides buyers and sellers with confidence which increases the item's value. It will be interesting to see what other new opportunities present to the title industry in a time while title insurance sales are likely to continue to decline.

Robert A. Franco

Source of Title Blog ::


Categories: Opportunities, Title Industry

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Source of Title Blog

Robert A. FrancoThe focus of this blog will be on sharing my thoughts and concerns related to the small title agents and abstractors. The industry has changed dramatically over the past ten years and I believe that we are just seeing the beginning. As the evolution continues, what will become of the many small independent title professionals who have long been the cornerstone of the industry?

Robert A. Franco



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