About Us

What is GRASP?

The Story Behind and the Reason Why

In 2004, one of the most devastating fine art warehouse disasters on record destroyed an estimated USD100 million in fine art property, including over 50 works by British abstractionist, Patrick Heron, and 100 works from the Saatchi Collection.

Beyond the financial loss, the London Momart warehouse fire destroyed a significant cache of irreplaceable cultural property. This fire, coupled with the damages to art stored in warehouses and the major thefts from museums, like the Bührle Collection in 2008, taught the art insurance world that our assumptions about security standards needed careful re-assessment.

Without a uniform and objective standard by which facilities, their operations and policies could be assessed, the safety of their contents -vast troves of priceless personal art and objects given over to warehouses each year - and the countless cultural treasures in museums, could not be guaranteed.

XL Insurance Company SE hired expert, independent risk surveyors to develop a web-based Global Risk Assessment Platform (GRASP) creating and managing an objective risk assessment system to evaluate both warehouse and museum facilities worldwide.

A GRASP report is not just a simple facility report but an advanced benchmark security report based on XL Insurance Company SE experience.

As of today, hundreds of surveys have been conducted worldwide – either as part of the Museum Security Programme or part of the Warehouse Security Programme – not only resulting in a quantifiable profile of each institution but also in an increase of awareness and motivation to improve specific risk areas.

The Way it Works

The objective of GRASP is to produce a single summary page profiling the risk against standard criteria by evaluating results from 1200 security topics checked by an on-site independent, professional security risk surveyor. This matrix analyses processes and functions of the art institution. To further ensure that the security evaluation process is completely objective and protected by secure reporting methods, the questionnaire is based on a binary system.

The “Yes or No” format avoids subjective assessment. The GRASP system is designed to weight risk significance thus emphasising priorities in respect of security improvements.

GRASP covers:

  • Natural and Allied Perils and Contingency Planning
  • Building Layout and Design
  • Building Policies, Inspection and Maintenance
  • Electronic Security
  • Fire Detection and Suppression
  • Environmental Alarm Systems and Monitoring
  • Human Resources and Training
  • Facility Administration
  • Access Controls
  • Transport, Planning and Packing
  • Transport Operations
  • Inventory, Storage, Handling and Hanging
  • Museum Specific Items

Each survey provides a report indicating critical areas and generating an overall score as well as a checklist of professional recommendations in order to improve or modify critical risk areas and processes efficiently.


The surveys can normally be conducted in one working day.

How to get the GRASP report

If you are interested in GRASP, please contact grasp_[at]_risks-online.com

After the risk assessment has been conducted you will receive a report indicating critical areas and a list of practical recommendations on the risk areas to improve. You can then decide whom to forward the report to.