Insurance is challenging Jedi Knights and hostage negotiators as the job to be in, thanks to this summer's blockbusters “Entrapment” and “The Thomas Crown Affair”, starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo, pictured.

Insurance is challenging Jedi Knights and hostage negotiators as the job to be in, thanks to this summer's blockbusters "Entrapment" and "The Thomas Crown Affair".

The films feature Catherine Zeta-Jones and Rene Russo respectively, in similar roles as insurance investigators going undercover to seduce gentlemen thieves Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan.

But the real world investigators – all men – laughed off the image of black tie parties inhabited by thrill-seeking master criminals.

Apparently, the most glamorous aspect of the job is phone conversations with mystery informers.

Mark Dalrymple, a chartered loss adjuster with Tyler & Co, may be the art world's answer to the film characters. Undercover work is part of his job, but he could not discuss his methods.

He did reveal he offers rewards for information, and has posed as a dealer to entice stolen art works into the open. He said: “Once I had three or four weeks of telephone negotiations, then suddenly the guy said his boss had found out who I was and the phone went dead.”

But he points out that publicity has turned art theft into a dying profession. “We make the thefts so well known that something like the Titian stolen from Longleat can never appear at a legitimate transaction. The bad guys are saddled with them.”