A complex claim we recently completed showed how the full scale of our services, beyond the restoration of specialist contents, was very much needed. The specialist skills and experience of our team, alongside the requirements to ably manage such a claim from start to finish, are all paramount to ensuring work is confidently completed.
The property in central London had damaged contents caused by the collapse of chimneys within the building. This resulted in artworks and furnishings being affected by soot and cement dust. It housed a world-class collection of over 8,000 items, comprising oil paintings, furniture, sculptures, personal papers, books, antiques, rugs, ethnographica and jewellery. As this was a well-furnished property with a valuable collection, we were one of the first organisations to help in assessing the issues.
Such claims require more than our restoration services to get the expected resolution required. We offer:
Organisational and project management skills
With such a vast and eclectic collection, each of the 8,000+ items needed to be documented, appropriately packaged and to be removed from the property quickly and efficiently. Being able to project manage such a task, formulate a plan and ensure it is well-organised is vital.
The scale of this complex claim where a large proportion of the claim involved specialist contents restoration was not something to be fazed by. We have worked on many large-scale claims so have experience in how to approach such projects and finding the solutions needed to progress the claim is important.
It is vital with any claim, particularly with complex claims that clear, accurate and comprehensive documentation is produced. Knowing exactly what each item is, from what location and in what room it was originally on display and where it is now stored are essential.
Condition and recommendation reporting
Insurers and loss adjusters need to receive information on the condition of each item, alongside recommendations for cleaning and restoration costs for each piece and the collection as a whole to progress the claim. Being able to present an accurate indication of the restoration costs involved is important. Furthermore, it is crucial to develop an understanding of the most practical way to work with the insurance and loss-adjusting contacts for how best to manage the costs involved.
Specialist contents restoration
The majority of soot damaged pieces were the type of items we regularly undertake the restoration of. However, the eclectic nature of this collection included more unusual items, such as artworks made from food and organic materials, mixed media sculptures and fine French fans, all requiring restoration. Because our team had the ability to take on the vast range of contents and manage the quantities involved, this meant items were not being sent to multiple specialists all over the country.
Surge team facility
With such a large volume of items requiring specialist restoration, we were able to bring in a ‘surge team’ of additional conservators to assist in the restoration of such a large quantity in a more timely manner.
Typically with complex claims, there are often many stakeholders involved requiring different levels of information and updates throughout the claim process. Being able to understand each stakeholders’ requirements and how best to liaise with each individual is important.
There are often times when individuals can get fraught and overwhelmed with the scale of such projects and understandably so. In such instances, we act as the mediator as well as the organisation to find quick resolutions which are agreeable to all involved.
Stakeholder culture and requirements
Linked to communication, in this instance, there were a number of cultural differences and expectations from the claimant and associated staff. It is important to understand how the High Net Worth (HNW) and Ultra HNW operate; what is important to them and the extremely high standards they operate to, as well as the roles and interests of each of their staff. Tailoring the way we operate to meet their requirements was important to be able to move the project forward.
When there is such a large collection of items of all types and sizes, it is important they are carefully packaged, boxed, labelled and removed from the property efficiently. Having a system in place to enable this to be undertaken swiftly and thoroughly is important.
Once the 8,000+ items had undergone their restoration and were complete, it was not practical to deliver such a quantity back in the volumes they were removed. This client was very particular in the way items were returned, when and in what order. Some items were not to be returned but instead sent to another property owned by the client. Care was needed to ensure the logistics of delivering the items was thought-out, organised and clearly communicated.
Similarly, it was very important that we had a facility to store such a large quantity of items. We kept a meticulous record so we knew what each box held within each larger container as well as where each item was displayed in the property originally.
With complex claims, it is inevitable that there are likely to be problems somewhere in the process. Being able to provide a resolution to such problems, regardless of how they come about, is important.
In addition, the exacting requirements of the HNW and Ultra-HNW bring with them unusual requests and tight deadlines. Being able to accept this and respond accordingly, while remaining realistic, is important.
There is a balance of ensuring the key stakeholders are updated so they feel comfortable knowing how things are progressing but not overwhelmed with detail when it isn’t needed nor of interest. In addition, being able to address concerns and apprehensions along the way is important. This is particularly so when the claimant has personally collected many of the items over the years and has a strong connection to specific items, making them both valuable and sentimental.
“Thank you so much to you and all your colleagues for all your invaluable help and expertise in restoring all the valuable possessions, artworks and sculptures to their former glory following the soot ingress event…”
“I know we had very high standards and requirements and that the volume of the house contents was exceptionally large which made for some interesting logistical problems along the way, but in the end, we managed to complete it all thanks to your wonderful facilities and team…”
“We are most grateful to you for having persevered to the end which seemed an almost impossible task at the outset. You were always at hand to guide us through a very anxious time. We are extremely thankful for the wonderful service you provided.”