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Last month, the theft of four paintings worth £81m from the Emil Buerhle collection in Zurich and two Picassos from a nearby cultural centre two days earlier led to claims by brokers that there would be a sharp rise in premiums.

But Charles Hamilton-Stubber, director of art insurer Aon’s private risk management team, told ATG that while premiums for museums and foundations might rise following the thefts, private collectors had no cause for concern.

“We have not seen rates increasing on fine art insurance for private collections insured separately from general household insurance,” he said. “Those smaller collections aligned under a client’s general household insurance may have seen some increase, as these rates are seeing a rise at the moment.”

Better security can help keep premiums down, advises Raoul Greasely of Brett & Randall Insurance Broker’s Private Client division: “Good physical security involves installing a RedCare alarm system linked to the police, a close circuit television system, locking windows and deadlocks on all entrance/exit doors.”

Additional precautions, respected by underwriters, can lower premiums further, says Mr Hamilton-Stubber: “Clients should ensure they have an up-to-date valuation and inventory of their collection. Several companies, including Sotheby’s Valuation department and Gurr Johns Ltd, now offer sophisticated inventory software that can track the location and value of individual works, a worthwhile investment for collectors.”

He also suggests having a rescue plan in the event of a fire, including consideration of how long a fire engine would take to arrive and provision for the swift removal of property to secure temporary storage.

By Anna Brady