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Personal Risk Management

Keeping your outdoor sculpture in pristine condition

A Conversation Between Chubb’s Maggie Reynolds, Senior Fine Art & Collections Specialist and Rosa Lowinger, Principal of RLA Conservation

Step 1: Schedule Ongoing Maintenance
Maggie:
To preserve the beauty and integrity of the works, caring for outdoor sculptures needs to be an ongoing process. Protective measures should include seasonal upkeep for changing weather and inspections by a conservator to see if the works require cleaning, waxing, or other maintenance. Rosa sees sculpture as a growing part of residential value with bespoke gardens showcasing works by artists like Plensa, Lalanne and Koons, along with traditional pool and fountain installations. Her view on maintenance is simple – it is a part of owning the piece.
Rosa:
You have a Maserati parked in the driveway and it gets washed and detailed once a week, but then you have a $1M sculpture that gets looked at maybe once a year.  Car maintenance, house maintenance, and pool maintenance may be priorities, but outdoor sculptures should have scheduled maintenance with a specialist as well. Delicate finishes, patina, and paint can be damaged by a lack of care, and incorrect repair and corrosion can mean a loss in value. Also, location affects how many times a year you should have a sculpture looked at. Stainless steel pieces with salty coastal exposures in places like Malibu or Amagansett would do best with quarterly conservation at a minimum. And household staff can be trained for simple upkeep and awareness in between professional visits. My firm, in fact, often trains staff for clients.

Step 2: Be Aware of Water
Maggie:
Chlorine and fertilizer run-off from landscaping are not your friends! We tell our clients that works should be properly elevated to prevent water from pooling at the base, which can lead to corrosion of metal and paints, fissures in the stone or damage to electrical components. And, you’ll need to be aware of irrigation systems and spray spatters, as well as water from pools and fountains located near a sculpture.
Rosa:
You are usually better off having a piece on some kind of foundation, like a concrete pad, that is professionally installed. You should also pay close attention to where the sprinkler heads are located. I recommend situating them near the outdoor art, with the spray pointing away from the piece.

Step 3: Don’t Mix Art and Weed Whackers
Maggie:
Landscapers and irrigation specialists should be aware of the need to hand trim vegetation and redirect sprinklers to avoid damage to outdoor sculpture. They should also be instructed to advise the art collector immediately if there are any problems such as faulty water sprinklers or encroaching plants. A bed of mulch or other barrier around sculpture can be used to keep the sculpture clear of machinery as it is easy to damage a sculpture with debris which can kick up from a lawnmower.
Rosa:
Yes, this is what I refer to as a little bit of landscape adjustment – and a respectful conversation between conservator and a landscape company is often helpful. I recommend not landscaping right up next to a sculpture and being careful about other materials close to the artwork. You don’t want mulch near steel, as it holds moisture, and avoid gravel in hurricane-prone areas, which can cause damage to the surface of the pieces if kicked up in high winds.

Step 4: Keep an Eye on Trees
Maggie:
Give your art some breathing room. We recommend our clients consult a licensed arborist to ensure that nearby trees are healthy and to clear any overhanging branches which could potentially fall on outdoor sculpture. Fewer branches overhead also means fewer bird droppings, which should be cleaned off sculpture regularly to prevent damage.
Rosa:
Expanding further on this idea, if the sculpture is on grass, you do want to keep the tree branches from overhanging the sculpture, but having some trees located near the sculpture gives birds a place to perch, potentially protecting the work from nest building and bird droppings. You must be mindful of the droppings which can etch metal and staining stone over time.

Step 5: Secure the Sculpture
Maggie:
Give your sculpture the best home by choosing a level location with proper grading on your property, taking into consideration the size, weight, material and movement of the particular piece. Structural surveys and base or support construction should be provided for proper drainage. Professional installers who are versed in weight distribution and seismic installation understand the vulnerabilities of sculpture and have the equipment needed to move and secure large and heavy outdoor objects.
Rosa:
It is also key to remember that with certain artists, like Alexander Calder or Robert Indiana, you have to work with their foundations for installation and conservation permissions.

Step 6: Consider the Weather
Maggie:
Carefully consider the climate and conditions for your outdoor collection. Clients should consult with a conservator to confirm whether a sculpture can withstand the elements where they want it to be installed. If your sculpture is located in an area with exposure to hurricane force winds, you could consider installing a prefabricated impact-rated solution or use a non-abrasive protective wrapping. If extreme weather is possible, consider making plans for a professional shipper to move your sculpture to a secure location.
Rosa:
In truth, we see flaking paint from everyday exposure much more often than severe damage from a hurricane. And if a piece is already in place with environmental exposures, spot treatments and cleaning are a must. I have clients with sculptures by artists including Louise Nevelson and Mark di Suvero where they have had to do treatments twice a month due to an extremely volatile location.
Indoor/outdoor fabric like the line from Sunbrella can be used to safeguard your sculpture from flying debris, although you need to remember to remove it immediately after the storm.
Every sculpture is unique, and every location is unique. There are different exposures in the front of the house versus the back of the house, and each piece can require a separate solution. For example, say you have the same sculpture composed of shot-blasted stainless steel with a velvety mat finish in two slightly different locations. One sculpture is installed about 5 ft from the water’s edge exposed to spray from waves and boats. The other piece is about 30 feet from the water with a protective hedge. The one closer to the water may need monthly upkeep while the other will require work only twice a year.
Personal Risk Management

Protecting your sports trading cards and memorabilia

There’s little doubt the pandemic created a massive boom for sports trading cards and memorabilia. In fact, 23 of the 24 most expensive sports card transactions of all time occurred over the past 15 months, according to Sports Illustrated.

Whether you’ve been collecting since childhood, are just getting started, or you recently found an old stash of baseball cards in your attic, we’ve got tips and suggestions to help you protect your collection.

How can you keep your treasured collection protected for generations to come?
Frame it. Protect your memorabilia by placing them in quality display cases or frames. Acrylic cases are popular because they are cheaper than glass, less likely to break, and offer the added benefit of UV protection. If you are framing a piece, use a professional framer who specializes in sports collectibles and uses acid-free materials.

Store it. Baseball cards should be stored in appropriate card savers, sleeves, or holders. Avoid using non-recessed screw-down holders that could flatten and damage the cards, and never, ever laminate your cards.

Protect it. Keep your items away from direct sunlight and fluorescent lighting so they don’t fade, and maintain constant temperature and humidity levels. Even baseballs should be kept away from light sources, as light can fade inked signatures and deteriorate leather. Also, avoid storing your valuables in basements and other areas of the home that may be prone to flooding.
rope
Personal Risk Management

Tips to Help You Dock Your Boat Safely

Just like parking a car can cause stress for some, so can docking a boat, especially if you’re a new boater or purchased a new boat. But close quarters don’t have to mean scratches and scrapes on your boat. Take a look at these tips to help you keep your boat in good condition when you pull in and out of the dock.  

As you approach the dock:

1. Use your VHF ratio to get mooring directions from the dockmaster before you approach the dock.

2. Identify the wind and current directions and understand how they will affect your boat’s positioning as they can push you faster than you expected or help you dock slowly and easily.

3. Have a backup plan in the event your first approach needs to be aborted.

4. If possible, approach the dock against the current, which will give you more control over the boat’s motion.

5. Ensure thrusters and/or joystick piloting controls are on and ready for use. Try testing them prior to entering the marina.

6. Approach the dock with a plan, communicate it to those onboard, and clearly delegate any tasks you would like them to perform. Assign these tasks – like who will handle each line – and the order in which you want them done well in advance. Ensure your crew can hear you from where you will be giving commands.

7. Take it slow and steady. That way, if you accidently hit the dock, you’ll do so gently.

8. Make sure your passengers understand that arms and legs can get pinched between the boat and dock – so they should keep them inside the boat while docking. If your boat is coming in faster than planned, use the fenders – not your passenger’s hands – to protect your boat.

9. Keep all passengers in the boat until the docking is complete and the boat is secure. Jumping out of the boat before it’s secure can cause the boat to turn abruptly and you may miss your docking spot.

Once you’ve docked your boat:

1. Use bow, stern, and spring lines to tie your boat to the dock and make sure they are protected from chafing. Using fenders will help keep your boat from getting scratched or damaged. If you have snubbers, make sure they are in place as well.

2. Allow the engine to cool down for at least five minutes.

3. Pump the holding tank and add tank treatment to keep it in good shape.

4. Make sure your automatic bilge pump, alarms, and clocks are on, and equipment such as running lights, VHF, and stereo are off. You won’t want to come back next time and find you have no battery left.

5. Connect the shore power cable, ensure it is clearly led above the water, and has enough slack to allow the boat to move in its slip. Protect it from chafing. Turn your battery charger on.

6. Confirm that your logbook has been filled out, signed, and dated.

7. Flush your outboard motors with freshwater.

8. Close any opened thru-hull seacocks or ball valves.

9. Take one final sweep to ensure everything is secure, hatches are closed, and sails/canvas are properly furled. For sailing vessels, ensure the jib/genoa is fully furled with at least two complete wraps of the sheet around the headstay.

Following these simple steps will help ensure you, your passengers, and your boat return to dock safely and unharmed after a great day out on the water.  Operating a boat safely is a skill, so practicing docking will help to make your future trip’s end an enjoyable one.  

speedboat
Personal Risk Management

The Three “P’s” of Marine Fire Safety

When spending time with friends and family on your boat or yacht, everyone’s enjoyment and safety should be your top priorities. As the frequency of recreational marine fire-related accidents has increased, so have the injuries and deaths associated with them. To keep yourself, your family, and your friends safe while aboard your boat or yacht, it’s important to abide by safe boating practices, particularly fire safety, so you can enjoy your time on the water and make it back to the dock for your next adventure. 

Below, we’ve outlined the three “P’s” of marine fire safety every boater should follow.

Prepare

Prevent

  • Install smoke and CO detectors in the cabin and other enclosed compartments.
  • Install automatic fire suppression system in the engine room. This might also save you money on your insurance premiums – contact your broker or agent for details.
  • Inspect the wiring on battery terminals and breaker panels on high-amperage circuits. If necessary, obtain an electrical inspection or survey.

Protect

yachts
Personal Risk Management

What to Consider When Choosing a Marina, Yacht Club, or Other Facility

Whether you’ve just purchased a boat or yacht or have had one for years, where you keep it when you’re not using it is almost as important as the vessel itself. That’s why it’s so essential to do your due diligence before choosing a marina, yacht club, or other facility. Below are a few things to consider.

1. Reputation. The boating community is very small and vocal. Ask other boaters or locals what they think about the facility you’re interested in and search online for reviews.  

2. Location. Consider the location of the marina itself, as well as the location of your slip at the marina. Make sure your slip is protected from wind, waves, and vessel traffic. Wave action can do a lot of damage to moored vessels, as can other boats if they don’t have enough room to maneuver. How close is your slip to the open water? If the facility is in an exposed location, do they have wave attenuators installed to protect boats?

3. Slip length, space, location, and depth. The more room you have to maneuver, the better. For example, if your boat has a 10’ beam and the marina offers you an 11’ wide slip, it will be challenging to get the boat in and out without contact between the boat and the dock. If your vessel is difficult to maneuver in tight quarters, look for a slip toward the end of the pier. If your vessel has a deeper draft, ensure you can get in and out of the marina and your slip at low tide.

4. Availability of dock utilities and facilities. While some marinas may have a lower slip fee, they may not have the facilities to let you pump out your engine head, get gas, or haul out. Here are some features to look for:

  • Fuel docks with well-maintained above-ground tanks
  • Consider a facility with Wi-Fi, which can come in handy (you may not need phone and cable TV these days)
  • Utilities such as water and electricity/shore power are also convenient and important for preventative maintenance

5. Yard maintenance services. More sophisticated facilities will offer services, such as:

  • Spring commissioning, dry storage, and winterizing
  • Haul-out and drop-in services (with capabilities for hauling large boats). Check to ensure your vessels beam and tonnage can be tolerated by the facility’s lift in the event an emergency haul-out is needed.
  • The ability sell, service, and repair your engines, and that the work is performed by reputable, well-qualified technicians. This is very important as outboard engines, specifically, have become highly computerized and require authorized, highly trained service technicians to work on the motor.
  • Pressure washing (available throughout the season)
  • Gelcoat or fiberglass repairs
  • Qualified electronic service technicians
  • Painting, varnish, or bright work
  • Wash, wax, and detailing
  • Bottom painting
  • Yard space for DIY yard service and repair, including access to water and electricity. Check to make sure you can (a) work on your own vessel, and (b) hire your own labor if needed.

6. Maintenance of the facility. If the facility doesn’t take care of its buildings and area, how will they care for your boat? If there is trash on the ground, overflowing trash cans, or the docks are in disrepair, consider looking elsewhere. Also consider the safety, stability, and condition of the docks, cleats, and power pedestals when evaluating a marina—premium facilities often have lighted docks.

7. Storm preparation plans. Consider asking these questions:

  • What is their plan should a windstorm or hurricane come through?
  • What services do they provide, such as haul-out capabilities, to help you protect your watercraft?
  • Will the boats that are less protected from the open water be moved to different locations of the marina before a storm?
  • Do you have the proper gear needed to protect your boat (fenders, lines, removing canvas, charged battery for bilge pumps, etc.)

8. Security. Unfortunately, it is fairly easy for small boats and the equipment inside them to be vulnerable to theft. When considering a marina, look for gates, security cameras, lighting, and security guards. The more security that the facility has, the better.

9. Availability of life-saving equipment. Make sure that the facility is equipped with items to help individuals should they be in any life-threatening danger, including CPR equipment, fire extinguishers, life jackets, and egress ladders.

10. Insurance. Evaluate the insurance of the facility and any insurance requirement that they might have for you.

11. Other available services and amenities. If you’re interested in additional features such as events, dining, clubhouse, or recreational areas, you’ll want to review those amenities when evaluating a marina or yacht club as well.

Consider all these factors when choosing your next marina or yacht/boat club, so you can maximize the time you enjoy being at the dock and out on the water. 

Personal Risk Management

Your Essential Pre-Departure and Boating Safety Checklist

Before you head out on the water for the first time this season, it’s important to make sure you and your boat are completely prepared. That’s why we’ve put together the following checklist for you to follow for a safe boating season, starting day one.

1. Take a safety course. Whether you’re a new boater or a seasoned boating veteran, it’s always a good idea to brush up on boating safety. Here are a few places to find courses:

2. Schedule a vessel safety check. Before you launch your boat this year, you can get a free vessel safety check from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadron. A Vessel Examiner will inspect your vessel, make recommendations, and discuss certain safety issues to ensure you’re ready for a safe boating season. For more information, visit:

3. Check your vessel and equipment. Make sure your boat is safe and operating at peak efficiency before you get out on the water. You’ll want to:

  • Know where important equipment is located, such as life jackets or throwable flotation devices, a horn or sound-producing device, fire extinguishers, a carbon monoxide detector, and flares or other visual distress signals.
  • Make sure your boat horn can emit a four-second blast that is audible for half a mile and attach a whistle to each personal flotation device.
  • Check the electrical systems and lighting equipment, including navigation lights, to make sure they’re working correctly. Bring a flashlight with extra batteries, just in case.
  • Check the bilges and pump them dry if water is present.
  • Make sure your boat drain plug is inserted.
  • Keep a basic toolkit on board for emergencies.
  • Keep an inventory of spare parts such as fuel and oil filters, spare belts, oil, and coolant.

4. Make sure you have enough life jackets for everyone aboard. Check your state laws to see what’s required, and replace them when they are no longer usable. For more guidance on the different types of life jackets and PFD’s, click here.

5. Check the boat’s ventilation. If you smell fuel before ventilating, run the blowers for several minutes and recheck before starting. If you still smell fuel, shut down the engine and look for the source of the leak. Make sure this is repaired before you head out on the water.


6. Check the weather report. Before you depart shore, make sure the weather will cooperate with your plans. Check the weather forecast for your navigation route and destination.  


7. Share your float plans. It’s important that someone who’s not with you knows where you’re headed. So, share your plans with a family member, friend, or the U.S. Coast Guard.


8. Welcome friends and family aboard but insist they know the rules. Make sure all guests board and exit the boat when the engines are off, and stay away from the propellers when they’re on or idling. Give each guest a floatation device and familiarize them with the boat’s operations and safety equipment. Discourage them from swimming in the marina, as stray power in the water could be an electrical shock hazard.


9. Keep important papers on the boat. Make sure you have your vessel’s paperwork, radio and boating license, fishing permit, and any charts for the areas you intend to visit on board before you head out.

10. Carry everyday essentials. You’ll want to keep these items on board, every time you go out: 

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • First-aid kit
  • Extra clothing
  • Hand sanitizer and masks
  • Mirror
  • Cell phone with a charger
  • Binoculars
  • Rechargeable battery brick

11. Take these steps before you start the engine:

  • Run the blower for at least four minutes, if you have one.
  • If you have an outboard engine, ensure the motors are down and in a sufficient amount of water.
  • For dual charging systems, check that the selector switch is in the proper position.
  • Make sure the entire vessel has power.
  • Check your fuel, engine oil, and coolant levels and top them off as needed.
  • Check to ensure belt tension is taut.
  • Ensure the raw water intake valve is in the open position.

12. Make sure cooling water is flowing once the engine has started. Check your oil pressure and water temperature and attach the kill-switch lanyard, if you have one.

13. Pay attention at all times. Always keep a lookout for what others on the water are doing and be respectful of buoys and other navigational aids.

14. Follow docking and anchoring procedures. Be sure to have at least one anchor with plenty of rode (at least 7:1 rode to depth ratio) set up and ready for use, and bring two or three extra dock lines. Once set up, visually inspect each line for chafe or wear and replace them if necessary. Use a minimum of two fenders when docking or towing.

Personal Risk Management

Best practices when creating accounts for online use

Chubb has been made aware of several recent cyber attacks against insurance agencies, brokers and carriers. To help protect confidential information, unique passwords should be used on each system you access. If the passwords you use for Chubb platforms are not unique to Chubb or are used elsewhere, please reset them to a new unique password as soon as possible.

Please keep in mind the following other best practices when creating accounts for online use to keep your data safe, and to reduce cyber risk:

  1. Use unique passwords on each system you utilize. If needed, a password manager can help to make using different passwords on different systems easy.
  2. Avoid using your business email address for websites accessed for personal use. Instead, create or use a personal email account. If these sites are compromised, your business email address could be used to access key corporate or partner systems.
  3. Reset your password at least every 90 days to avoid risks that your account will be accessed inappropriately.
  4. Always enable multi-factor authentication when it is available. When used properly, multi-factor authentication will stop inappropriate account access.
  5. Never open attachments or click on links from unknown or suspicious senders. Hackers craft email attachments that are designed to trick you into opening or clicking links.
Personal Risk Management

Tips for staying safe this new year

While 2020 probably wasn’t what you had expected it to be, 2021 is a new year and a great time to think about new goals and opportunities. So many things have changed for all of us: More people are working from home, some have moved from urban areas to the suburbs, and others are planning new home renovations. Whatever your goals are this year, we’ve got a few tips to get you started:

Talk to your insurance agent about your coverages.
Make sure all newly purchased or acquired items of significant value, like jewelry, collectibles, or other precious items, are reflected in your policy. Ensure all household drivers are listed on both your auto and excess policies, and that any significant changes or improvements to your home have been made to your policy. If you are planning upgrades to your home, contact your agent or broker ahead of time.

Keep your home healthy.
Create a calendar of regular maintenance tasks like changing air filters and smoke detector batteries, having your chimney cleaned or your roof inspected, fertilizing your lawn, cleaning your dyer and dryer vent, pruning trees and shrubs, etc. Don’t wait until something unfortunate happens to be reminded – stay one step ahead!

Evaluate the safety and security of your home.
Consider having an in-depth telephone diagnostic with the Ackerman Group to evaluate your personal security procedures, enhance your security at home, and deal with identity theft. This consultation is available at no additional charge to Chubb PRS clients. As a Chubb client, you also have access to complimentary or discounted rates on background investigations for new and existing personal employees through the Ackerman Group.

Promote safe driving with teens.
At Chubb, we understand that nothing can be as stressful or as freeing as letting your teens drive on their own. If you have new or inexperienced drivers in the family, now is a great time to take steps to help protect them from harm, help them avoid accidents, and encourage them to develop the right kind of driving behavior. We can help with articles, videos, and our Chubb at the Wheel™ driving app, available for both Apple and Android devices.

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