Glasgow University insures art collection against terror attack

The museums collection includes art and other artefacts.
The museums collection includes art and other artefacts.
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One of Scotland’s leading ­universities has awarded a contract to insure its vast art collection against a terrorist attack.

Glasgow University said it had appointed a new provider to offer cover for works by artists including Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Rembrandt and James McNeill Whistler.

The £200,000 contract also provides terrorism insurance for the university’s buildings, and for business interruption.

The university is home to the Hunterian Art Gallery, which includes one of the world’s most significant collections of Rennie Mackintosh’s work.

The gallery also features the Lady Shep-en-hor, a 2,500-year-old Egyptian mummy, and the “Bearsden shark”. Discovered in 1981, the fossilised shark is 330 million years old and thought to be the only one of its kind in existence.

It also holds a cast of a skull believed to be Robert the Bruce, which was used last year to create a digital reconstruction of what the king may have looked like.

A public notice posted ­earlier this week shows the university awarded the ­insurance contract to multinational firm Arthur J Gallagher & Co, which has an office in Edinburgh. The university had to find a firm which could provide terrorism cover after changing insurer in 2016.

Galleries including the Louvre in Paris and the Bardo National Museum in Tunisia have been the scene of terrorist attacks in recent years.

UK insurers stopped offering terrorism insurance on commercial policies following the IRA bombing of the Baltic Exchange in London in 1992. The building was later demolished to make way for the Gherkin.

Following the bombing, the government and insurance industry jointly established the Pool Reinsurance Company Ltd, known as Pool Re.

It is understood more than £600 million has been paid out to date in relation to 13 separate claims.

A spokesman for the university confirmed it had agreed a contract with a new provider.

He said: “The University of Glasgow is home to numerous works of fine art. We have recently appointed a new provider to insure these works, along with buildings, contents and business interruptions, as part of our annual renewal process, as we have done for many years.”