Reality Behind the Dream Of Your Own Cozy B&B

Branding Winners

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Prepared for the September 20, 2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper.

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Irreplaceable Heirloom? Or Insured Valuable?

Your fine art is insured, of course it is. And so is

your china and your solitaire. After all, you have homeowner’s


Not necessarily. When your painting is scarred, your Limoges plates

are dropped, and your diamond solitaire works loose and rolls down

the drain, you may be out of luck — and out of insurance.

"People don’t really understand the limitations of a homeowners’

policy. They don’t understand that — for fine art and china —

breakage isn’t covered, scratching and marring isn’t covered, and

for jewelry it doesn’t cover the loss of a stone," says Mary

Herring, executive vice president of Bollinger Inc. in Short Hills.

With a staff of 30, she runs the personal insurance division and has

80,000 clients.

The Spalding Associates division of Bollinger Inc. sponsors a free

seminar, "Insuring Your Fine Arts," on Sunday, September 24,

at 3 p.m. at the Marsha Child Contemporary Gallery of International

Art, 220 Alexander Street. The speaker will be Peter D. Neagd,

claims manager of Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company in Hartford,


Reservations are requested; call 888-452-2200, extension 110.

Even theft coverage on homeowners policies is not guaranteed, says

Herring. "Often homeowners has a $1,000 limit for theft on


jewelry, furs, or silverware. Business property on premises, including

computers, traditionally has a limit of $2,500 on premises and $250

away from the premise." Here are some strategies for better


Schedule valuables on a separate policy to protect from

theft, damage, and other loss. You will need to prove the value of

each piece of art, china, silverware, or jewelry, perhaps with a


perhaps with an appraisal, or even by agreement with your insurance


Insure for "true value" to allow for appreciation.

What you paid for the item may not be its true value, which is what

it would cost you to replace the item. Say you bought a painting five

years ago from a little-known artist, and that artist’s work is worth

more now. "The policies from the Fireman’s Fund and Chubb and

some other companies will cover up to 150 percent of the value without

your having to do anything," says Herring.

In another instance, if you insured your silver five years ago when

silver prices were low, and then it is stolen when silver is high,

the insurance company would pay for the current value of your


up to 150 percent of the insured value. All without your having to

prove anything. "They know the different artists and brands of

china and appreciation values," Herring says.

Insure for "agreed value" to allow for


Companies that sell policies on the basis of "agreed value"

will not change that value, no matter what the fluctuations of the

market or the condition of the item. In contrast, other companies

may adjust the value later on — to your disadvantage.

For instance, you might insure an item for $100,000 and send in the

appraisal to prove that. But if you have a loss 10 years later, your

insurer might argue that the item had depreciated and insist that

you settle for a lower amount. Meanwhile, you have been paying


on the full amount.

Plan for buying sprees. Consider what will happen to your

new purchases. "If you acquire a piece of fine art in Europe,

what happens to it before you get it home?" asks Herring. With

some firms, you must specifically insure each item. Others will


insure new items for 25 percent of the total scheduled value for 30

days in order to give you time to send in the information.

She tells a sad example from among her own clients. "I had

been after this man to insure his inherited silverware. He didn’t.

Then he had a break-in and his silverware was stolen. He had $2,500

on his policy, but he was out $30,000 in replacement cost. From


to generation, his family had never known what it was worth."

"We always advise clients to take a household inventory, to take

a videocam, walk around the home, talk about the items, and put the

tape in a safe deposit box," says Herring.

Insuring fine arts is not very expensive, she claims, and the costs

vary according to the construction of the home and the geographical

area. "At higher values, you can negotiate a rate and put in


for security and alarms." The cost for insuring $22,000 of


valuables in a suburban location: about $90 per year.

Top Of Page
Reality Behind the Dream Of Your Own Cozy B&B

If your life’s dream isn’t to write the great American

novel, chances are it is to run a cozy little inn, claims Kathryn

Triolo, co-owner of the Pineapple Hill Bed & Breakfast in New Hope.

"Next to being a novelist, it’s the number two dream profession.

Everybody asks us what we do after 11 o’clock. They think once


is done we go play for the day," she says.

On Thursday, September 25, at 6 p.m. she will teach a course full

of tips on how to decide between pursuing your inn-keeping fantasy

or starting to plot out your book instead. It will be at the Learning

Studio at 4250 Route 1 North. Cost: $49.95. Call 609-688-0800.

In 1994, Triolo and her husband, Cookie Triolo, bought the


inn, part of which dates from 1780. They have since added five rooms.

Both are former employees of Continental Insurance. He took advantage

of retirement after 26 years with the firm and she was offered a


when the company was sold to CNA.

Running an inn is not a job for those who like to come home and put

their working persona behind them. The Triolos live in a cottage in

the back of the inn’s six-acre property. "We’re always in reach

— 24/7," says Triolo.

The course will give potential innkeepers an overview of just what’s

involved personally and professionally, so those intrigued by the

idea can make an informed decision. "In class we talk a lot about

lifestyle and personality profile," says Triolo. She lists a few

of the necessary traits:

Do-it-yourselfers only need apply. Having watched lots

of "This Old House" reruns is a definite plus. "We learned

how to do everything. I can lay floors; I can put in tile. I just

fixed my first toilet yesterday. One minute you’re taking a


the next minute you’re plunging a toilet, the next minute you’re


an old glass window, then you’re baking muffins."

People who need people are the luckiest innkeepers in

the world. "You’ve got to be good with people. Reading body


and knowing when a couple wants to be intimate and left alone and

knowing when they really are interested and want you to talk"

is very important, says Triolo.

It’s best not to be a material girl. Triolo cautions that

for those finicky about having their possessions touched and


moved or — horrors — broken need to think again about living

in a house full of strangers paying for the privilege to paw over

your stuff.

Go with the flow is now your mantra. "You have to

be comfortable being reactionary. You really can’t plan your day too

much." Old buildings require lots of last-minute TLC. Flexibility

is required to manage the property and the guests residing within


Triolo has taught this course at the Learning Studio in


twice before and also lectures annually at the four-day "Inn


conference in Cape May that promotes vocational discernment for


innkeepers. A non-profit group, the Midatlantic Center for the Arts,

sponsors the conference.

She has an MBA from La Salle University in Philadelphia and a BS in

computer science from Rowan University and used her programming skills

to create the inn’s website (

Recently innkeeping has lost most of its Mom and Pop quality. To be

successful nowadays requires business savvy. "Over the last few

years, inns have gotten to be big business. You’re talking upwards

of $100,000 to $125,000 a guest room for purchase," says Triolo.

These healthy prices foster a need for creative financing, another

topic she covers in the course.

The class will also touch on the business basics necessary. Triolo

will review the legal distinctions between bed and breakfasts, inns,

and hotels and the applicable government regulations including zoning

rules and accessibility for the handicapped.

Triolo says people who enjoy cooking and hosting parties sometimes

believe running an inn would be a good job, but food preparation turns

out to be a relatively small part of the job. Cookie Triolo, a former

Navy cook, produces most of the food. "He doesn’t get at all


if there are 20 people," she says.

The Triolos have arranged their own division of labor. She devotes

one hour of marketing per week per room, a job that has grown along

with the size of the inn. He takes care of the landscaping.

Working out how to split the chores with a spouse or partner can be

an issue. But Triolo believes that operating an inn singly with no

reliable back up may be worse. "I know people who are single and

operating larger inns — it’s just a real struggle."

With innkeeping come some jobs that are simply up for grabs. The


have loaned black socks to young men loath to propose marriage wearing

white ones and have ironed shirts for rumpled job applicants.

But running an inn has given Triolo some surprises, such as how much

the guests have affected her. "You wouldn’t think that of people

you only know for two days." She has been led on a tour of the

inn by an architectural historian guest who revised the construction

dates of an addition made in the first half of the 1800s and has


thank you notes from couples who conceived children while visiting.

But hearing Triolo’s realistic appraisal of the innkeeper’s profession

can sometimes cause intense reactions. After her first presentation

at an "Inn Deep" conference, she explains, "a woman came

up and demanded her money back. She said that after listening to me

she didn’t want to be an innkeeper anymore. The people that were


it were trying to be very nice. They said `Ma’am, we probably just

saved you a million dollars’."

— Caroline Calogero

Top Of Page
Branding Winners

Successful Branding: How to Make Your Product a Winner"

is the topic for Francine M. Lytle, vice president of marketing

and strategic services at Gianettino & Meredith Advertising Inc.,

who speaks at the state chapter of the American Management Association

at the Somerset Hills Hotel in Warren on Monday, September 25, at

6 p.m. Cost: $40. Call Diane Scarpulla at 908-231-0984 or


Lytle, whose agency is based in Short Hills, will discuss how great

brands are manifested and realized through experiences that are


at least in part, by advertising. Other parts of a brand experience

are created by packaging at point of sale, through relationship


on the Internet, through word-of-mouth (termed "organic


and through company behaviors and belief systems.

Using tools from account planning, brand archeology, and marketing,

plus hypotheses from cognitive anthropology, cultural anthropology,

and E-branding, she will tell how to turn products into winners by

clearly identifying their user ("the experience"), brand


message"), and community ("the relationship").

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