Grace Best-Devereux

getting the big picture

If you’re lucky enough to own an artwork by Andy Warhol or  have a collection of antiques that are damaged, chances are it could be Grace who comes knocking at your door. Grace is a loss adjuster specialising in fine art and photography. “I’m the face of insurance,” she jokes. But she has a point.

Loss adjusters are specialists who investigate when things go wrong. If an insured artwork or photograph is damaged, Grace’s job is to assess the damage, consider whether it can be repaired and report to the insurers the facts at hand. Grace calculates an accurate value for the item, connects artworks with the best restorer for the job and, if the piece is damaged beyond repair, makes payment recommendations so that owner can be compensated. But that’s not as simple a task as you might think.

“I may have to do a lot of financial analysis and research,” Grace explains. “The value of art is not fixed. For example, if the artist died in the last year, the value will probably have risen. I’ll also confirm the history of the artwork and possibly conduct a full investigation on the situation of the loss. Art claims can, on occasion, be fraud.”

Born in America, with a British dual citizenship, Grace was always drawn to the art world and began her career as a sculptor. After working for a fine art museum in Seattle, she moved to London to complete a Masters’ degree with the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, where she published her dissertation on insuring contemporary art. After a stint as a gallery manager, she joined a Lloyd’s insurance broker before moving to loss adjuster McLarens.

“I started as a sculptor,” she says, “but realised I wanted a career related to the business side of the art market. Now I see and interact with art and artists of all kinds.” As an adjuster, Grace spends much of her time building collaborative relationships with the insurance companies that sell these specialist policies and the brokers who deal with the client. Her work takes her to art galleries, museums, storage facilities, vineyards, and the homes of wealthy wine collectors.