Case Files: 5 FBI Expert Tips for Brokers on Protecting Client Collectibles

Ready to become the ultimate expert in the world of fine art & collectibles insurance? During our recent 30-minute Q&A webinar, “CASE FILES: 5 FBI Expert Tips for Brokers on Protecting Client Collectibles,” we uncovered the secrets to protecting your client’s collectibles with FBI Art Crime Agent, Jake Archer. Explore the slides and FAQ’s provided below to gain exclusive insights on ensuring authentication, managing transportation challenges, and effective strategies to enhance your fine art & collectibles insurance business. Whether your clients are private collectors, museums, or seasoned dealers, these expert tips will prove indispensable. Please note that this was a one-time event, and there is no video recording available. However, we are pleased to offer the slides and questions and answers from the session.

Get the Case Files: 5 FBI Expert Tips for Brokers Protecting Client Collectibles session handouts here:


+ Slides

Below are some of the insightful questions from attendees during our session.

Appraisals and Valuations

Q: Are there any professionals offering online appraisals now that COVID-19 has affected traditional appraisal methods?
A: While some appraisers offer online services, we believe it’s best to evaluate items in person. This allows for a thorough understanding of their condition and provenance.

Q: What is the appraisal process?
A: We are available to assist with referrals at any time! Please reach out to our underwriters.

Coverage Details

Q: How can I ensure the safe transit of collectibles belonging to others, such as from a client’s residence to an auction site?
A: If the insured is a Collector, our policy might temporarily cover newly acquired items for a limited time, up to a specific amount, giving them a chance to report the new item to us. Otherwise, we don’t cover one-time transit of collectibles.

Q: What methods are recommended for transporting and insuring collectibles during transit?
A: To safeguard your collectibles during transit, ensure clear communication about who handles them to pinpoint responsibility for any issues.

Also, engage experienced packers adept at handling items of various sizes, types, and values. Their expertise ensures tailored packaging, reducing the risk of damage en route. By employing both measures, you enhance the safety of your collectibles and mitigate potential losses during transportation.

Q: Is it possible to insure tattooed body art that is supposedly transferred to a buyer upon the individual’s demise, considering factors like age, wrinkles, and potential damage?
A: It is not legal to sell a human’s skin in the U.S., whether or not it contains a tattoo, and illegal transactions are not insurable. While there is no opportunity for an insurance product here, there may be an opportunity for the buyer to finance a film, as The Silence of the Lambs is becoming dated.

Policies and Procedures

Q: Are you open to insuring a coin dealer based in New York?
A: Currently, our appetite for coins is focused on Collectors rather than Dealers. However, we would be happy to assess any submission on a case-by-case basis, so feel free to submit!

Q: Could you provide an overview of your insurance policy?
A: Our insurance policy is a comprehensive offering, backed by industry professionals. Our coverage forms are tailored to our potential insureds: Dealers, Collectors, Museums, etc. Visit our website or reach out to us and we will be happy to give you more information! Fine Art & Collectibles Insurance Overview | Distinguished Programs

Q: How often do thefts occur due to the awareness of valuables being housed in a particular location?
A: The frequency of thefts can fluctuate significantly based on the type of item, with some being more closely monitored than others. Generally, as market activity increases, so does the incidence of theft. For instance, according to Watchfinder & Co., there was a notable 41% rise in the theft of collectible watches in 2022 compared to the previous year.

Expert Panel

Michelle Stegmann, Vice President of Claims, Distinguished Fine Art & Collectibles

Michelle brings 30 years of claims experience to the team, most of it in leadership roles. She has built and led claims departments in numerous lines of business, including construction, hospitality and representations & warranties. Before joining Distinguished, she created a major carrier’s Programs/Delegated Authority claims function, working extensively with MGAs, MGUs, Brokers, Agents and TPAs. She is an attorney licensed in New York and New Jersey and is an adjuster licensed in 13 states. Michelle graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in NYC.

Jake Archer, Special Agent, FBI Art Crime Team

Jake Archer is a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is assigned to its Philadelphia Division. SA Archer is a senior member of the FBI’s Art Crime Team and a Philadelphia Division team leader for the FBI’s Evidence Response Team. SA Archer investigates art and cultural property crime, to include theft, fraud and forgery, money laundering, and illicit trafficking. SA Archer conducts repatriations and training domestically with local partners and internationally in concert with foreign governments. SA Archer is the team lead for the Art Crime Team’s international matters involving the FBI’s Eurasia Legal Attaches, to include areas of responsibility such as Ukraine and Russia. Prior to his service with the FBI, SA Archer was an associate attorney with a private law firm in New Jersey. SA Archer earned a law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law and a master’s degree in Art History – Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies from Rutgers University. While at Rutgers, SA Archer interned at the conservation laboratory at the Princeton University Art Museum and authored a thesis about the development of care for art and artifacts subjected to the law enforcement process. SA Archer is a member of the United States Cultural Heritage Coordinating Committee and Chair of its Technology Working Group, which is based in Washington, D.C. and coordinates diplomatic and law enforcement efforts to combat antiquities trafficking, disrupt trafficking networks, and protect against the looting and destruction of cultural property around the world. 

The views expressed in the attached slides, documents and answers to questions are those of Distinguished Programs and not the FBI. The FBI does not endorse or adopt any of the views, statements or conclusions expressed herein by Distinguished.

About Distinguished Programs

Distinguished Programs is a leading national insurance Program Manager providing specialized insurance programs to brokers and agents with specific expertise in Fine Art and Collectibles, Environmental and Construction Professional, Executive Lines, Inland Marine, Real Estate & Builder’s Risk, Community Associations, Hotels, and Restaurants. Property and Liability products are distributed through a national network of agents and brokers. Serving the same core markets and partnering with the most stable and reputable carriers, Distinguished’s high-limit Umbrella programs remain the clear choice in its area of specialty for superior coverage, competitive pricing, and attentive service. Through thoughtful innovation, stemming back to 1995, Distinguished Programs fosters growth and opportunities for its brokers, carriers, and employees.

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