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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
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
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.
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
- 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 (www.pineapplehill.com).
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
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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