Frank Crystal & Company recently announced it created its Art Finance Group to help investors obtain proper insurance for fine art and other collectibles such as wine and jewelry. The entity also will provide advise to private individuals and institutions who use fine art as collateral in financial transactions and loans.

"More and more, sophisticated collectors, investors and their advisors are recognizing that fine art--as well as collectibles like wine and jewelry--is an asset class, not just a passion," said Jonathan H. F. Crystal, company executive vice president and head of the private client services group.

Frank Crystal is one of the nation's largest independent insurance brokers. Based in New York City, it has ten offices throughout the U.S.

The company's financial institutions group works with banks, investment advisors, asset managers and hedge funds. The private client group covers personal risk management for affluent individuals and families, with an emphasis on fine art risks. The Art Finance Group is designed to bring the two together.

Within the past year, the company said, it has provided risk management and insurance advice on loan transactions of more than $500 million, with collateral value exceeding $1 billion.