It’s your money ・ Hurricanes, flooding, fires. Buying a home?

It’s your money. ・ Hurricanes, flooding, wildfires. Buying a home? Approach your investment with care and due diligence.

Buying a home involves an enormous amount of money, and few people do it often enough to be experts. Given the realities of climate change, the process is now set against a backdrop of radical uncertainty about the very ground you will live on and the air you will breathe.

Given all that, you owe it to yourself to call on every dispassionate expert you can find and grab all available data on any risk you are taking on.”

There is a case for optimism here, where the world comes together and manages to turn the (rising) tides. So if you are a positive thinker or can afford a big loss, by all means bet one of your biggest assets on that possibility.

Otherwise, ask yourself this: Just how much more science and weather will it take before ever larger numbers of people decide to settle in or retire to places that pose less risk? And once they do, do you want to be trying to unload your property in a danger zone so you can afford to join them?

You’re Buying a Home? Have You Considered Climate Change?”, Ron Lieber, The New York Times, 2 December 2016

Research and understand highly pertinent issues such as those that follow below. Examine flood zones, flood insurance, fire zones, and the term Wildland Urban Interface (WUI, indexes the conversion of wildland to developed territory).

In the context of wildfires, a cornerstone of risk evaluation is a metric called the Wildland Urban Interface, or WUI. WUI indexes the conversion of wildland to developed territory. WUI indicates an explosion in wildland development over recent years.

According to the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) measurement framework, the conversion rate from wildlands to urban development has grown to 4,000 acres per day or close to 2 million acres per year.

The explosion in WUI development increasingly puts homeowners, firefighters and communities at risk of wildfire – a risk that is only growing across the United States as the globe warms and aridification worsens. Since the 1980s, large fires in Northern California have increased by 60 percent. Some forests in the Pacific Northwest have seen a 5,000 percent increase in annual burned land

According to the  2017 Verisk Wildfire Risk Analysis, more than 2 million of the 4.5 million homes at high or extreme risk of wildfire are in California.

We should start by learning which regions are most at risk. Many people assume that most WUI lands fall in the western states. The large eastern and southern states have the most land in the WUI. In 2016, Kansas and Oklahome saw over a million acres burn – that’s an area bigger than the state of Rhode Island. 

The so-called “fire season” has continued to lengthen over the past several decades, and that, since 2000, climate change has been attributed to adding 9 additional days of high fire season. The environmental context facing designers and developers is thus increasingly risky.

We Should Plan Homes to Minimize the Threat of Wildfires,” Jesse M. Keenan and Alice Hill, Newsweek, 21 October 2017

Services & infrastructure

Sources & uses of municipal services such as flood- and fire-prevention, -recovery, and related maintenance services.

How much does the locality (village, town, county, parish, state) pay for public services such as roads, pumps, fire services, drinking water, sewage, etc. Where does the money come from. 

Sources & uses of flood- and fire-prevention and -recovery service funds

How are flood- and fire-prevention and -recovery services financed and funded. How long will flood- and fire-prevention and -recovery services be affordable. How is “affordable” defined.

Home-purchase finance

If you plan to finance a purchase with a mortgage, examine how banks and insurance companies are currently managing flood- and fire-prone properties in their portfolios. What are the trend lines? What steps are being taken by banks and insurance companies vis a vis such properties to protect their balance sheets over the long term.


Examine how insurance companies are managing flood- and fire-prone properties in their portfolios. What are the trend lines? What steps are being taken by insurance companies vis a vis such properties to protect their balance sheets over the long term.

What are current premiums? Is the appropriate insurance provided by private companies, by the government? How much will you receive in case of a disaster? Will you receive the full market value of the damaged property?

Sources & uses of energy

Energy matters. Know sources and uses of energy. A house designed and built for low energy unit intensity offers multiple advantages.

Sources, uses, costs, & quality of water

Water matters. Know sources, uses, costs, and quality of water.

Building materials

Building materials and construction matter. Know how and of what materials the house is constructed. Is the house built for fire resilience? Is the house built for flood resilience?

Access & transportation infrastructure

Access matters. How is the neighborhood served by transportation. Can you get to work / school / the doctor’s and dentist’s office / the grocery store and shops / all those important places by foot, bike, bus, train? Must you drive a car? (Think of the CO2 emissions that are exacerbating both the floods and the fires.) Are there multiple lines of access? One road?

Climate change

Research climate change and its effects in your geographical area of interest.

A team & teamwork matter

Develop a team of experts, whom you can trust and consult and with whom you can work together, in your geographical area of interest.

As you delve into these questions, here are links to articles, and there are many more, that provide information, insight, perspective and links to further sources of information.


You’re Buying a Home? Have You Considered Climate Change?”, Ron Lieber, Your Money | The New York Times, 2 December 2016

Flooding Risk Knocks $7 Billion Off Home Values, Study Finds,” Laura Kusisto, The Wall Street Journal, 25 August 2018

Your coastal property has already lost value to sea rise. This site can tell you how much”, Alex Harris, Miami Herald, 25 July 2018

Fire Weather Outlooks (updated daily), NOAA’s National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center, Fire Weather Outlooks

Why does California have so many wildfires?”, Kendra Pierre-Louis, The New York Times, 9 November 2018

Forced Out by Deadly Fires, Then Trapped in Traffic,” Jack Nicas, Thomas Fuller, Tim Arango, The New York Times, 11 November 2018

Jesse M. Keenan in Newsweek: time is now to evaluate design risk, enhance resilience against wildfires,” Travis Dagenais, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 24 October 2017

We Should Plan Homes to Minimize the Threat of Wildfires,” Jesse M. Keenan and Alice Hill, Newsweek, 21 October 2017

North Carolina, Warned of Rising Seas, Chose to Favor Development,” John Schwartz and Richard Fausset, The New York Times, 12 September 2018

Perils of Climate Change Could Swamp Coastal Real Estate,” Ian Urbina, The New York Times, 24 November 2016

Underwater. Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate,” Union of Concerned Scientists, 2018

Del Mar stands firm against ‘planned retreat”, Phil Diehl, The San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 May 2018

Can Miami Beach survive global warming?”, David Kamp, Vanity Fair, 10 November 2015

Rising seas, distressed communities, and ‘climate gentrification’: Jesse M. Keenan talks Miami in Vice, Scientific American,” Travis Dagenais, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 14 August 2017

California Today: Now Comes the Insurance Challenge,” Mike McPhate, The New York Times, 11 October 2017

Climate change and commercial real estate: How resilient is your portfolio?” Jeffrey Kanne, Carlos Madex-Madani, Sam Bendix, Institutional Real Estate, Inc., 1 June 2017

Settling post-catastrophe insurance claims: What agents should know,” Bernice Ross, Inman, 5 September 2017

High Ground Is Becoming Hot Property as Sea Level Rises,” Erika Bolstad, Scientific American, 1 May 2017

Wildland-Urban Interface: Key Issues,” L. Annie Hermansen-Báez, Jennifer Seitz, and Martha C. Monroe, Joint product of InterfaceSouth of the Centers for Urban and Interface Forestry, Southern Research Station, U.S. Forest Service and the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS). Published March 2009.

Key findings from the 2017 Verisk wildfire risk analysis,” Arindam Samanta, Verisk, 12 July 2017

The Wildland-Urban Interface in the United States,” Susan I. Stewart, Northern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Evanston, IL (, Volker C. Radeloff, Department of Forestry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Roger B. Hammer, Department of Sociology, Oregon State University

art, real estate, luxury, & global risks

“Humanity has become remarkably adept at understanding how to mitigate conventional risks that can be relatively easily isolated and managed with standard risk-management approaches. But we are much less competent when it comes to dealing with complex risks in the interconnected systems that underpin our world, such as organizations, economies, societies and the environment.

“There are signs of strain in many of these systems: our accelerating pace of change is testing the absorptive capacities of institutions, communities and individuals.

“When risk cascades through a complex system, the danger is not of incremental damage but of “runaway collapse” or an abrupt transition to a new, suboptimal status quo.”

See: “The Global Risks Report 2018, 13th Edition” | World Economic Forum (WEF); Strategic Partners: Marsh & McLennan Companies, Zurich Insurance Company; Academic Advisors: National University of Singapore, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, University of Pennsylvania

#art #artmarket #collectionsmanagement #data #analytics #risk #riskanalysis #riskmanagement #riskmitigation #climaterisk #insurance #insurancerisk #realestate #commercialrealestate #culturalrealestate  #culturalheritage #luxury #resilience #CO2

art, real estate, luxury, & billion-dollar storms | the new normal?

The superstorms and wildfires of 2017 cost the US $306 billion.

As the temperatures of the oceans rise, the increasing temperatures will increase how strong hurricanes can become.

As global temperatures continue to rise, things will get more costly.

The new normal?

There are proactive steps you can take to protect and enhance the value of your tangible assets.

See: “Billion-Dollar Storms: Is This the New Normal?” | Deborah Acosta, The New York Times, 29 January 2018

#art #artmarket #collections #collectionsmanagement #artrisk #insurance #insurancerisk #realestate #commercialrealestate #culturalrealestate #realestaterisk #GRESB #GlobalRealEstateSustainabilityBenchmarks #climaterisk #financialrisk #CO2 #resilience #luxury #smartluxury


art, risk management, & “rolling disasters” as the new normal

There is worry in the insurance industry that “rolling disasters” may become the new normal, the effects of climate change that many scientists believe have resulted in dryer conditions in the west coast and more intense hurricanes in the east coast. “Climate change is a great concern to the art insurance industry, particularly because of the hurricanes we are seeing,” Quinn said. Both AXA and Chubb are active in promoting research in climate change, recognizing that catastrophic natural events may prove to be an annual occurrence.

Insurers are concerned especially over works of art in private homes.

Insurers in areas such as California may seek to limit their risks. The extent of the damage in regions of California affected by the recent wildfires, for instance, may well increase the cost and limit the availability of fine art insurance.


As Natural Disasters Loom, What You Should Know About Insuring Your Art” | Daniel Grant, The Observer, 18 January 2018

#art #artmarket #collections #collectionsmanagement #insurance #fineartinsurance #climaterisk #risk #riskmanagement #fire #wildfire #hurricanes #flooding #risingseas #luxury #smartluxury #resilience #realestate #CO2 #H2O

The Getty | a Type 1-rated complex, designed & built to resist fire

The Getty Center in Los Angeles performs.

The New York Times and Reuters highlight how the Getty Center has been designed and built to provide resilient stewardship and protect its art holdings, even in a fire- and earthquake-prone area.

The Getty’s design, “and a plan developed with insurers eager to keep the valuable collection safe” [the Getty works with commercial property insurer FM Global], help protect the art from damage.

The Getty’s architect, Richard Meier, built fire resistance into the billion-dollar complex, said Ron Hartwig, vice president of communications for the J. Paul Getty Trust. These hills are fire prone, but because of features like the 1.2 million square feet of thick travertine stone covering the outside walls, the crushed rock on the roofs and even the plants chosen for the brush-cleared grounds, “The safest place for the artwork to be is right here in the Getty Center,” he said.

Within that lovely milky travertine skin, the buildings have reinforced concrete walls and automatic fire doors that can trap fires in sealed-off areas. A carbon-filtered air conditioning system pushes smoke out instead of letting it in, and the internal sprinklers — whose pipes remain dry until needed, to avoid damaging accidents – stand ready to douse flames.

Should any fire move within one of those compartmentalized areas, it can’t get anywhere,” said Michael G. Rogers, director of facilities at the Getty. Since water supplies can be cut off in a disaster, The Getty has its own million-gallon water tank buried under the parking garage. The result is a complex that is rated Type 1, the highest level of fire resistance.


Why the Getty Center’s Art Stayed Put as Fires Raged Nearby” | John Schwartz and Gilbert Gates, The New York Times, 12 December 2017

California’s Getty museum survives wildfire, ready for quakes” | Suzanne Barlyn, Reuters, 8 December 2017

The Getty Center

#Getty #GettyCenter #art #museums #collections #collectionsmanagement #stewardship #scholarship #conservation #preservation #resilience #fire #smoke #particulatematter #airfiltration #design #architecture #RichardMeier #engineering #California #LosAngeles #luxury #urbanluxury #smartluxury #realestate #commercialrealestate #culturalrealestate #insurance


a helpful guide to settling post-disaster insurance claims

If you have sustained a major loss from Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, or from a flood, tornado, earthquake, or fire, here is a useful guide to follow.

The guide was prepared by Bernice Ross with information from Scott Friedson. Mr. Friedson is a public insurance adjuster (PA) and the CEO of Insurance Claim Recovery Support. Ms. Ross sustained over $100,000 of damage to her house from the Northridge earthquake in 1994.

what does a public insurance adjustor do?

‘a good PA will be your advocate with the insurance company and will negotiate on your behalf to settle your insurance claim’”

Be safe.

Immediately notify the insurance company that you have a claim.

“By filing your claim right away, you are more likely to settle your claim quickly and to find a quality, local contractor. The sooner your claim is settled, the faster you can get your life back to normal.

“To file your claim, contact your local agent, call the special 800 number the company sets up, log into your online account or visit a mobile claims center.

“Flood insurance is separate from your homeowner’s policy and can be issued through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). If you have purchased flood insurance, your insurance agent will generally assist you in beginning the filing process.

“Unfortunately, if your home was flooded and you did not purchase flood insurance, you have no coverage. Nevertheless, there may be government assistance programs available. Visit and for more information.

“The good news is that if you purchased “comprehensive” coverage on your vehicle insurance and your vehicles sustained flood damage, they should be covered.”

Establish the pre-loss and post-loss condition of your property.

Pictures, videos, documentation.

Know whether your policy requires you to mitigate damages.

To mitigate damage = to take steps to prevent further damage

Find out what the provisions for “loss of use” and “displacement” are in your policy.

When you contract to have work done, it is recommended that you only work with vetted local contractors who are willing to warrant their work.

Examine your policy: Do you have “cash” or “replacement value”?

cash value” policy – pays on the depreciated value of your property

replacement value” policy – provides you with the full cost of replacement

Avoid lawsuits.

Avoid bad apples.


Settling post-catastrophe insurance claims: What agents should know” | Bernice Ross, Inman, 5 September 2017

#Harvey #HurricaneHarvey #Irma #HurricaneIrma #hurricane #tornado #flood #catastrophe #insurance #claims #realestate #art #risk #resilience


“blockage” & the valuation of damage to art for an insurance claim

Ronald D. Spencer, Chairman of the Art Law Practice at the New York law firm of Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP, addresses the issue of the valuation of loss or damage to art for an insurance claim. He specifically addresses the use of, and questions the appropriateness of the use of, “blockage” and “blockage discounts” as applicable standards for interpreting the loss valuation provisions of an insurance contract.

The insurance coverage amount is the maximum amount the policy will pay. This amount provides the basis for calculation of insurance premiums. Most insurance claims do not involve claims for the full coverage amount.

The methodology used by the insurer to value a damage claim is a relevant variable for the insured. Most art insurance policies are vague, however, on the valuation method, “providing, simply, that in the event of disagreement on the value of the loss, the insured and insurer will each retain their own appraisers, and if the appraisers do not agree on the value of the loss, the dispute is to be submitted to an umpire or arbitrator, whose decision will be final.”

New York’s Bruce Silverstein Gallery suffered loss on October 29, 2012 caused by flooding during Hurricane Sandy. The gallery had an “All Risks Fine Art Dealers Floater” insurance policy with a “Basis of Valuation” provision stipulating that “consigned property shall be valued at the Agreed Net Consigned Value Plus 10%.” The concept of “blockage” was applied by the umpire representing the gallery’s insurance company. This was the first time the concept of “blockage” for art sales, which first arose in 1972 in the context of art valuations for estate tax purposes, was applied to an art valuation for purposes of calculating a loss for an insurance claim.

When valuing the loss of many artworks, the concept of “blockage” values works as they could be sold on one particular date, the date of the disaster (or death, in the framework of estate sales) on which the loss takes place. Blockage discounts the present value of the works of art based on future streams of income from sales over the period of time it would require to sell the art.

The application of blockage is considered to be consistent with USPAP Standard 6 which provides that when a large mass of property is to be valued as of a specific date, the appraiser is required to take into account that the value of the whole may be different from that of the individual parts.

Mr. Spencer observes that “by choosing to apply a blockage discount to an insurance loss valuation, an umpire, in effect, is deciding that the insurance loss should be determined by the price a bulk buyer of the art at the date of loss would be willing to pay.”

He observes, further, that “the art owner should understand that the result of a blockage discount for the owners’ insurance claim is that the more art the owner has lost, the less the insurer will pay per item—the larger the volume of art lost, the greater the blockage discount for each piece.”


Think Your Art Is Adequately Insured? Here Are a Few Insider Strategies to Help Minimize Your Risk” | Ronald D. Spencer,, 8 September 2017

#art #artmarket #artcollections #collectors #galleries #insurance #fineartinsurance #blockage #blockagediscount #risk #hurricane #Sandy #Harvey #Irma #NewYork #Houston #MiamiBeach #appraisals #valuations #finance #tangibleassets #contractlaw



artists & collectors: develop a straightforward emergency plan

Develop a straightforward emergency plan. This advice for artists and collectors is suggested by Anne Rappa, Senior Vice President, Fine Art Insurance, with Huntington T. Block, the oldest and largest managing general underwriter of Fine Art Insurance in the United States.

Such plans are created based on very simple pieces of information. Such information includes contact information for conservators and art storage facilities and assessments of needed physical protections. Gather the information together and write it down.

Isaac Kaplan of Artsy writes: 

“Anne Rappa, senior vice president with fine arts insurer Huntington T. Block, urged anxious artists and collectors to look to museums for guidance, namely by developing a straightforward plan—such as compiling conservator or art storage facility contact information and assessing what physical protections are needed for the work. And, she stressed, be sure to write everything down.

“’When you use the words ‘disaster mitigation’ or ‘disaster planning,’ it sounds complicated,’ Rappa said. “But those plans are created based on very simple pieces of information that are culled together and put in one place. It’s the advanced thought that is so important.”

“One simple tip, she said, for artists and art owners facing water damage: Buy some blotting paper.”


Miami Artists and Museums Brace for Hurricane Irma” | Isaac Kaplan, Artsy, 6 September 2017

#art #artmarket #insurance #fineartinsurance #Irma #HurricaneIrma #Miami #Houston


Irma, Art, & Hurricane Preparedness in “South Florida’s Gold Coast”

Miami and Miami Beach are home to many significant collections of art.

Art Basel Miami Beach, the largest contemporary art event in North America showing about $3 billion in works, has been situated in Miami Beach since 2002.

Some of the works of art are housed in residences maintained in any of the more than 400 luxury condo towers that have been developed since 2011. Some are kept in single family homes. Of course, works of art are also to be found housed in museums, both public and private, and in cultural centers.

Marion Maneker of Art Market Monitor, writing from the 2017 Global Auction House Summit presented by Invaluable, reports:

“At the Invaluable Auction House Summit in Boston, Thomas Burns from Fortress Fine Art Storage and Simon Hornby of Crozier both addressed the problems with hurricane preparedness in South Florida’s Gold Coast.

“Burns says his teams have been working all week to move their clients art into Fortress’s facility and prepare the building for an unprecedented blow. “Starting Tuesday we were inundated with clients who were completely unprepared,” Burns said. It turns out major works are in place without insurance and the insurance companies have placed a moratorium on new insurance in the area this week.

“Fortress has a program that allows collectors to put their works in storage in June when they leave the area. The big question is how many have had their works moved back to the beach houses so early in the season.

“Hornby pointed to the fact that art insurance carriers were slow to engage these kind of hurricane preparedness programs waiting until this Tuesday to call for logistical support. By then, it was already too late to add capacity amid the jammed traffic and fuel shortages caused by the massive evacuation taking place.”

Meanwhile, workers at the Faena Hotel Miami Beach have been working to fortify the bullet-proof glass that protects Damien Hirst’s life-size, gilded with 24-karat gold sculpture of the skeleton of a mammoth. Entitled “Gone But Not Forgotten” (2014), the sculpture was acquired at auction in 2014 for $15 million by Ukrainian-American Len Blavatnik. “Gone But Not Forgotten” was then installed in the garden of the Faena Hotel Miami Beach ahead of the opening of Faena Forum in 2016. Mr. Blavatnik is owner of Warner Music Group and a partner, with Argentine entrepreneur and developer Alan Faena, in the Faena Forum.

Mr. Hirst explains the sculpture of the mammoth as “an absolute expression of mortality, but I’ve decorated it to the point where it’s become something else, I’ve pitched everything I can against death to create something more hopeful.”

“The mammoth comes from a time and place that we cannot ever fully understand. Despite its scientific reality, it has attained an almost mythical status and I wanted to play with these ideas of legend, history and science by gilding the skeleton and placing it within a monolithic gold tank. It’s such an absolute expression of mortality, but I’ve decorated it to the point where it’s become something else, I’ve pitched everything I can against death to create something more hopeful, it is gone but not forgotten.”


A Miami Transformed by Wealth Braces for the Storm” | Michael Smith and Katya Kazakina, Bloomberg, 8 September 2017

Irma Threatens Art Spread Throughout South Florida Homes” | Marion Maneker, Art Market Monitor, 8 September 2017

Culture’s a carnival for opening of dazzling Faena Forum” | Andres Viglucci, Miami Herald, 25 November 2016

Hirst’s golden mammoth on display at Faena Hotel Miami Beach” | Damien, 8 December 2015

Len Blavatnik buys Damien Hirst work for $15M at amfAR gala” | Emily Smith, Page Six, 23 May 2014

#Miami #MiamiBeach #Irma #HurricaneIrma #preparations #insurance #art #artmarket #artstorage #FortressFineArtStorage #Crozier #ArtBaselMiamiBeach #Faena #FaenaForum #AlanFaena #LenBlavatnik #DamienHirst #GoneButNotForgotten

when buying a home in a “global warming zone”

Ron Lieber, the “Money” columnist for the New York Times, suggests a team to work with and a process to follow when purchasing a house “in a global warming zone.”

Mr. Lieber suggests:

a real estate professional

who has deep knowledge of the local market and has lived through a few floods, fires or hurricanes”

a municipal flood expert

“preferably someone from town or city government who can explain any and all regulations you might need to know about when or if you ever want or need to fix your place up”

a local insurance expert

    • what sort of insurance claims the home has generated in the recent past
    • two reports to obtain and read: the CLUE, for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, and A-PLUS
    • “get both, follow up with the homeowner and ask about any flood insurance claims or FEMA grants that may not show up on the reports”

“Read every word of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website on the flood insurance program before you buy a home”

a home inspector

    • who can check how well the roof might hold up in a hurricane

When out looking at houses, check the features of the houses

    • look out for special impact-resistant glass in the windows or hurricane shutters.
    • wind mitigation inspection, how well the roof might hold up

Make like a reporter and talk to any potential neighbors”

    • ask questions


You’re Buying a Home. Have You Considered Climate Change?” | Ron Lieber, The New York Times, 2 December 2016

#realestate #climatechange #climaterisk #resilience #smartluxury #finance #insurance #floods #municipalfloodexpert #art #artcollections #museums #privatemuseums