Protecting your art and collections in a digital age

AIG Private Client Group’s Muys Snijders is leading strategies to support brokers and clients through the art market’s changes.

Some spend a lifetime figuring out what they’re passionate about, and others like AIG’s Muys Snijders discover their calling almost instantly.

As Head of Fine Arts and Collections Services, Muys formed her love for the arts while growing up in Limburg, a remote pocket of Holland bordering Belgium and Germany. The town had a single art museum, where Muys spent her high school years giving guided tours in English, Dutch, French and German.

“There was a new show at least once a year, and I’d prepare so much for those tours – writing down everything I would say in all of the different languages, since I was actually still learning some of them,” Muys recalls.

Her curiosity and passion for the arts is evident throughout her life and career; Muys went on to study art history and archeology at Holland’s Leiden University before spending the next two decades in London and New York City at a leading British auction house, where she took on various roles, including leading sales and client strategy.

Since joining AIG’s Private Client Group (PCG) in 2021, Muys has led a team of seasoned experts to oversee risk management for the company’s insurance portfolio of art, jewelry, cars, wine, and collectibles.

A key part of her role is to work closely with brokers – and proactively keep them informed on the range of services PCG offers to meet the unique needs of private investors, collectors, and other clients.

“What most people fail to realize is what comes with building a collection – the maintenance, the costs, the planning, the recordkeeping, the appraising,” says Muys, who advises brokers on ways to help clients maintain, restore, and mitigate risks to their collections.

“AIG is really here to educate, to connect, and to protect clients’ one-of-a-kind pieces.”

Mitigate risks in a world where art meets digital

Muys is leading efforts to grow PCG’s Fine Arts and Collections Services business. This includes investing in technology and developing services to support brokers and clients, as consumer tastes shift and as the art world continues to grow its presence in virtual spaces.

“The art market is going through a digital transformation,” Muys says.

For example, the pandemic has accelerated the rise of online art sales and digital viewing rooms. This has spawned greater access and transparency into an otherwise opaque market, where data related to transactions and pricing has traditionally been less visible.

With art increasingly viewed and sold online in public domains, insurers like AIG can access sales data from public domains to supplement claims and other sources of data that underwriters currently use to better price risks.

When a broker is looking to insure a piece of art or collection on behalf of their client, a PCG team will typically come onsite to assess potential risks and advise how the owners can strengthen protections for their items – for example, through a carefully-crafted plan to move a piece of art in the event of an emergency or by connecting clients with a network of experts to restore a damaged item or replace a loss.

“We understand that many of the works of art in our insureds’ collections are irreplaceable,” Muys says. “Our team is incredibly proactive in protecting clients’ most cherished pieces.”

Tailor services to meet the changing needs of clients and brokers

Anticipating further changes ahead in the art market, Muys adds, “PCG plans to invest in digital tools based on artificial intelligence to help underwriters stay ahead of trends and ultimately better price risks within a client’s insurance policy.”

This is because AI-powered systems can collect and interpret data, such as sale prices and other data related to artworks sold at online auctions, viewing rooms and other public domains.

Having the tools to draw such insight, Muys explains, can help art insurance experts like PCG advise brokers and clients on where the art market is headed. In addition, the information can help insurance experts identify potential gaps in insurance coverage and determine how best to price the risks.

Ultimately, no matter how niche the item or collection, PCG works closely with brokers to help clients find the right solutions to mitigate risk and insure items in the event of loss.

“Brokers can set up clients in the best possible way,” Muys says.

“We work with our clients and our brokers every step of the way to find the best solutions.”

 

Special thanks to Pen + Brush for opening its doors to AIG for this story package. Video footage, which includes Deborah Jack’s 20-year mid-career retrospective, was captured at this New York City-based non-profit art gallery, which has supported female artists and gender equity in the arts for more than 128 years. For more information, please visit Pen + Brush’s website.

AIG Private Client Group is a division of the member companies of American International Group, Inc.

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