Attention Insurance Agents: Earn Commission Incentives with MiniCo’s Fine Art and Collectibles Insurance Program

Whether it is fine art, baseball cards, stamps, a wine collection, or movie memorabilia, serious collectors take great pride in their collections. Collectors devote large amounts of time, effort and care to their valuables – not to mention sometimes large monetary investments. These collections need insurance coverage that addresses the appreciating value of the collections.

Many of your personal lines clients may have valuable collections that require insurance. Now, for a limited time, MiniCo Insurance Agency has an incentive program that rewards agents.

Starting July 1, 2014, MiniCo is offering additional commission incentives to agents writing new business in the MiniCo Collectibles Insurance program. The tiered commission program outlined below will be in effect from July 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014, for all new business written through MiniCo’s online agent portal.
Production Tiers
Once an agent reaches a new commission tier, the increased commission percentage will be applied retroactively to all business written during the promotion period. Renewal business is not eligible for the tiered incentive program.

MiniCo Collectibles Insurance provides all-risk coverage for private collections of any size in a home, office or art storage facility. Collections are insured for their full collectible value, and no appraisal is required at the time of application. Coverage is offered nationwide in partnership with AXA Insurance Company.

For more information, contact MiniCo’s Collectibles Insurance Department at 888-873-6931 or collectibles@minico.com.

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Special Event Insurance: Affordable Coverage to Protect Your Business

Special Event InsuranceTelevision programs like Storage Wars often show large groups of people gathered at a self-storage facility for lien sales, events that were generally sparsely attended in the days before the self-storage industry found itself in the reality TV spotlight.

Lien sales are not the only reason your facility may draw a crowd. Hosting events at a self-storage facility is an excellent way to market your business to the public, network with prospective customers and spread some goodwill within the local community. Whether you’re planning an open house, charitable event, carnival, picnic, holiday party or other type of event, the goal is to encourage people to visit your property.

Beyond the necessities of lien sales and positive marketing benefits of neighborhood events, these situations could expose your business to risk that may not be covered by your existing businessowner’s insurance policy (BOP). The good news is that there are some simple and affordable steps you can take in advance of the event to protect your organization.

Special Event Insurance – Many companies offer property and liability coverage for special events. These policies may address third-party property claims, host liquor liability, personal injury claims and many other event-day disasters that might occur related to the special event. Special event insurance policies typically are relatively inexpensive and many can be purchased the same day. This coverage benefits you by addressing the exposures of the event without putting your BOP coverage at risk. Your insurance agent will help you identify a policy that will address potential exposures for your specific event.

Vendors and Concessionaires – If your event includes the use of vendors, food and beverage concessionaires, ride operators or other service providers, take precautions when contracting for their services. Each vendor should hold the appropriate licenses and insurance to operate at your event.

Facility Preparation – The whole point of hosting an event is to draw a crowd, so take the time to prepare your facility for a large number of guests who are not visiting your property for normal business reasons. Be aware of occupancy restrictions and plan ahead to control attendees’ access to the facility where appropriate. Use signage and cones to direct members of the public to the area where the event will take place, make sure the parking area for attendees is clearly marked, and remove attractive nuisances such as golf carts.

The main purpose of a special event is to have fun, raise money if it is a charitable event, and introduce your self-storage facility to the local community. In order to be sure that everything goes smoothly, it is highly recommended that you take these precautions and consult your insurance agent and attorney to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance coverage and properly written agreements in place to protect your business, your customers and your guests.

The Importance of Business Income Coverage

Business Income CoverageSevere weather events can happen at any time of year, and the odds seem to be stacked against business owners in a storm’s path. According the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40 percent of businesses do not reopen after a disaster and another 25 percent fail within one year. The U.S. Small Business Administration estimates that 90 percent of businesses fail within two years following a disaster.

Large natural disasters – fire, flood, earthquake and wind – frequently come to mind when considering the type of occurrence that could shut down a business for good, but the truth is that smaller-scale events also can be devastating.

Disaster planning and preparation are critical concerns for business owners, and one key element is insurance. Business income insurance (or business interruption insurance) pays the policyholder for loss of income and expenses following damage to the property resulting in the partial or total suspension of operations.

As a program administrator with 40 years of experience writing self-storage risks, MiniCo understands both the importance and challenges of this coverage. Business income insurance is one of the most complex, least understood and most undersold coverages available to property owners. At the same time, it is absolutely critical to the survival of a business following a catastrophic loss.

If you are writing self-storage risks, MiniCo invites you to learn more about the benefits of business income insurance. Our self-storage BOP includes business income insurance up to 15 months of actual loss sustained with options of up to 18 months and up to 24 months. Contact a MiniCo representative at 800-447-8383 or customercare@minico.com.

Creating a Risk Management Plan to Address Wildfire

Risk Management Plan Fire is one of the costliest causes of loss for property owners and insurance carriers. In the western United States, wildfire is a serious annual concern. In addition to the potential for injury and loss of life, a single wildfire event can result in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. The National Park Service reports that only 10 percent of wildfires result from natural causes such as lightning, volcanic eruption, and sparks from rockfalls. The remaining 90 percent are caused by humans. The leading causes of wildfires are unsafe fires, arson, sparks from equipment, power arc lines, and accidents.

It is important for self-storage business owners to address the risk of wildfire by planning ahead and taking steps to mitigate the risk of damage and loss from a fire event. Detailed checklists are available from several online sources to include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) (www.ready.gov), the U.S. Fire Administration (www.usfa.fema.gov), and the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org).

In addition to checklists, consider some basic risk management principles to assist in preparing your facility.

  • Develop a Written Plan – Your facility’s written fire preparedness plan should be easy to understand, accessible, and updated on a regular basis. The plan may include property maps and diagrams, tenant information, building construction data, insurance policy numbers, and contact information for key personnel, tenants, insurance agents, local police and fire departments, utilities, and contractors. 
  • Practice Your Evacuation Plan – Implementing a facility evacuation plan can help avoid confusion and prevent injuries. Even with a small staff, provide documented training. Schedule periodic practice drills to ensure that your managers are ready in the event of a fire emergency to execute the plan including limiting tenants’ access to the property and mitigating the spread of fire. 
  • Mitigate by Communicating – Address fire prevention with your tenants on a regular basis. Flyers stuffed into monthly bills, e-mail, and signage placed throughout the facility are effective methods to remind tenants that the storage of flammable materials and use of items such as candles and heat lamps is prohibited at the facility. Signage also may be used to alert tenants to areas where smoking is prohibited. This step is critical if your facility is located in an area surrounded by brush and trees. You don’t want your tenant to be the cause of a wildfire. 
  • Get to Know Your Fire Department – During a fire, the fire department’s knowledge of your facility’s layout and buildings may help save lives and minimize damage. Invite your local fire department to visit your property for an inspection and consultation to discuss any issues they may identify during the walk-through that require remediation.

As with any risk that may affect your self-storage property, the key to preventing and managing the risk of fire is awareness. Educating yourself and your employees about fire preparedness, creating a written plan, and taking the appropriate steps to maintain the property to reduce the risk of fire are effective strategies to help minimize the risk of costly property damage in the event of fire. In addition, your insurance agent can advise you regarding insurance coverages and limits for your property.

Mike Schofield
President and CEO

Get Commission Incentives for New Business in MiniCo’s Fine Art and Collectibles Insurance Program

Serious collectors are everywhere. Some of your personal lines clients may collect items such as fine art, wine, sports memorabilia or stamps. If so, these clients need insurance coverage to protect their valuable collections.

Starting July 1, 2014, MiniCo is offering additional commission incentives to agents writing new business in the MiniCo Collectibles Insurance program. The tiered commission program outlined below will be in effect from July 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014, for all new business written through MiniCo’s online agent portal.

The tiered commission program outlined below will be in effect from July 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014

Once an agent reaches a new commission tier, the increased commission percentage will be applied retroactively to all business written during the promotion period. Renewal business is not eligible for the tiered incentive program.

MiniCo Collectibles Insurance provides all-risk coverage for private collections of any size in a home, office or art storage facility. Collections are insured for their full collectible value, and no appraisal is required at the time of application. Coverage is offered nationwide in partnership with AXA Insurance Company.

For more information, contact MiniCo’s Collectibles Insurance Department at 888-873-6931 or collectibles@minico.com.


Learn More

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Risk Management Checklist: Hazardous Materials

Risk Management ChecklistCreating a risk management checklist for your self-storage business can be a challenge, and this series of articles offers suggestions for various categories and items that you may want to include in your checklist. The focus for this checklist is hazardous materials.

The following questions may be useful as part of your company-wide risk management checklist.

Hazardous Materials Checklist

  • Does the rental agreement have a clause addressing storage of hazardous materials?
  • Are employees trained to identify exposures associated with hazardous materials?
  • Are employees trained on procedures to address a hazardous materials exposure?
  • Are employees trained to investigate the storage of barrels, cans and drums that are entering the facility to be stored?
  • Are emergency telephone numbers posted in the event hazardous materials are identified?

This brief article is not intended to provide specific legal analysis or advice, and should not be construed to apply to every potential situation involving insurance coverages and losses. For specific information and questions concerning this article and the information contained therein, please consult your insurance agent and/or your attorney.

MiniCo’s Annual Agent Contest: Viva Las Vegas!

Las Vegas ContestMiniCo Insurance Agency is giving away a free trip to Las Vegas, and one lucky insurance agent could be the winner!

For every full quote request for self-storage commercial insurance you submit through MiniCo’s agent portal between October 1 and December 31, 2014, you will be entered to win our fantastic free trip to Las Vegas.

MiniCo Agent Portal

The winner will receive:

  • A trip for two to the largest self-storage industry expo in Las Vegas, April 7-8, 2015
  • Two round-trip airline tickets
  • Two nights in a hotel
  • $300

Each full quote request you submit via the online agent portal equals one entry into the prize drawing (latest eligible account effective date is March 31st). MiniCo will draw the winning entry on January 7, 2015. (Please see the Official Rules and Regulations for details.)

Don’t miss your opportunity to learn more about the growing self-storage market while enjoying the excitement and hospitality of Las Vegas!

Sweepstakes is open to all legal residents of the United States who, at of the time of entry, are licensed independent insurance agents. Participant must be at least 21 years of age or older. Please see the Official Rules and Regulations for details.

Burglary, Social Media and Your Reputation

BurglaryAlthough there is no nationwide data on the specific number of burglaries that take place in self-storage facilities each year, the magnifying power of the Internet may promote the misconception that this type of crime is a common occurrence. This can be harmful for a self-storage business if potential customers get the wrong impression about the industry as a whole or your facility specifically.

If a tenant were to make a comment about a burglary or other illegal activity at a self-storage facility on a social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter or Yelp, that one complaint could be seen by existing customers and hundreds of potential customers in a matter of minutes. Implementing a social media policy that identifies the person in the organization who is responsible for monitoring and responding to such posts and specifies the appropriate response is critical to help prevent long-term reputational damage to your business.

Risk avoidance is an important risk management strategy to combat the risk of burglaries as well as the risk of reputational damage. The fact that self-storage facilities maintain no care, custody or control over tenants’ stored items may lead a facility owner to believe that a self-storage business would have no exposure in the event of a burglary. However, an exposure may exist if a claim of owner negligence is determined. With that in mind, it is critical that owners and managers take steps to avoid potential claims of negligence related to burglary. Elements that need special attention include the following:

• Lighting – Darkness is an asset to criminals. Inspect light fixtures, bulbs and automatic switches or timers daily to ensure proper operation.

• Gates – A malfunctioning gate may allow unauthorized people to access the property. Inspect gates and keypads regularly to ensure proper operation and make repairs as quickly as possible.

• Fences – Criminals may cut holes in fencing or take advantage of damaged sections to access your property. Inspect fences regularly and make repairs as quickly as possible.

• Premises Inspections – Daily inspections should be conducted and documented to include locks, lighting, gates and fences.

In addition to these aspects of physical security, conducting criminal background checks of employees and tenants remains a good deterrent of illegal activity on the premises. However, this is a topic self-storage business owners should discuss with an attorney prior to implementation in order to understand applicable state laws related to this matter.

Risk transfer, in the form of insurance coverage, is another key strategy to protect a business in the event of a claim resulting from burglary. It’s a good idea for facility owners to schedule a coverage review with their insurance agent to discuss their policy including customer goods legal liability and limits for general liability and umbrella coverage. Implementing proper risk management strategies can help self-storage business owners avoid damage to their reputation within the community as well as potentially costly claims and lawsuits.

Mike Schofield
President and CEO

MiniCo Insurance Agency Celebrates 40 Years with a Photo Contest

Happy 40th Anniversary
Join MiniCo Insurance Agency as we celebrate our 40th anniversary. Our valued customers, insurance agents and friends are the key to our success, and we want to reward you for your loyalty.


You are invited to join MiniCo’s 40th anniversary celebration by participating in our photo contest. Submit your creative photo wishing MiniCo a Happy 40th Anniversary, and you might win one of three prizes.

  •  One (1) Grand Prize: $500 Visa gift card
  • One (1) Second Prize: $250 Visa gift card
  • One (1) Third Prize: $100 Visa gift card

The contest starts October 1, 2014. Remember, creativity counts!

Click the link below for contest details, official rules and the entry form.

Get Contest Information

Follow MiniCo on Facebook for contest updates

 

Take Advantage of Commission Incentives for MiniCo’s Fine Art and Collectibles Insurance Program

MiniCo Insurance Agency is offering additional commission incentives to agents writing new business in the MiniCo Collectibles Insurance program. This specialty fine art and collectibles insurance program is an effective solution for your clients who own valuable collections of art, wine, memorabilia, stamps, toys, and hundreds of other types of collectible items.

The tiered commission program outlined below will be in effect from July 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014, for all new business written through MiniCo’s online agent portal.

The tiered commission program

Once an agent reaches a new commission tier, the increased commission percentage will be applied retroactively to all business written during the promotion period. Renewal business is not eligible for the tiered incentive program.

MiniCo Collectibles Insurance provides all-risk coverage for private collections of any size in a home, office or art storage facility. Collections are insured for their full collectible value, and no appraisal is required at the time of application. Coverage is offered nationwide in partnership with AXA Insurance Company.

For more information, contact MiniCo’s Collectibles Insurance Department at 888-873-6931 or collectibles@minico.com.

Learn More Get a Quote

MiniCo Offers Multi-Location Discounts for Self-Storage Risks

If you are an agent writing multi-location self-storage risks, are you receiving discounts? MiniCo Insurance Agency specializes in writing large self-storage operators. In addition to multi-location discounts, MiniCo’s self-storage insurance program is underwritten by two A.M. Best “A” rated carriers, Liberty Agency Underwriters and Aspen American Insurance Company, giving us enhanced capability to respond to the coverage needs of larger operations.

Contact MiniCo’s new business team to learn more about the level of discount available for the self-storage risks you would like to quote. To register for MiniCo’s online agent portal or submit an application, click on the links at right.

Chris Nelson
Underwriting Team Supervisor
cnelson@minico.com
800-528-1056

Laura Roy
Senior Underwriter
lroy@minico.com
800-528-1056

Get a Quote
Agent Portal Registration

Avoiding E&O Exposures for Insureds and Your Agency

Errors and omissions insurance, commonly referred to as “E&O” coverage, protects businesses and individuals from claims and lawsuits arising from failure to perform contracted work as well as mistakes made in the course of doing business.

There are a few simple steps that can help reduce the risk of creating an E&O exposure for yourself and your agency.

    • Have your clients sign off on unwanted coverages
    • Use the most updated version of a carrier’s application (if applicable)
    • Discuss any coverage restrictions or limitations that are included in the quote or policy
    • Educate insureds by providing examples of coverages or explaining the intention of certain coverages (see download link below)
    • Inform clients if you are using a non-admitted carrier or a carrier with a lower A.M. Best rating
    • Offer professional E&O coverage specific to the client’s industry just as you would for your own agency

MiniCo has created a “Coverages in Action” flyer to help agents explain some of the optional coverages available in our specialty self-storage insurance program. Click the link to download a brochure, and contact your MiniCo underwriter at 800-528-1056 for more information.
Download Brochure

MiniCo is Celebrating 40 Years Serving the Self-Storage Industry

MiniCo is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month, and we have something to say.

Thank you.

MiniCo to Celebrate 40th AnniversaryMiniCo has grown to become one of the strongest brands in the self-storage industry because of you: our customers, independent insurance agents, advertisers, supporters and friends.

The entrepreneurial spirit that launched the company’s first sales of retail products and customer storage insurance is still going strong. In our 40 years of informing, educating and being the national provider of insurance for self-storage owners, we have been dedicated to supporting and growing the industry through our products and publications.

Forty years is an important milestone for any company. MiniCo’s sustainability is largely attributable to our core value of customer-focused service. Our company culture places a significant value on serving our customers to include policyholders, insurance agents, subscribers, and advertisers.

In addition to day-to-day interactions with our customers, MiniCo continually strives to refine and enhance our insurance products and educational resources so that they may provide the greatest value and benefit. These efforts, in turn, have helped us learn more about the industry and the needs of owners, operators, developers and managers.

MiniCo also has been a strong supporter of the Self Storage Association, of which we have been a Patron sponsor for five years, as well as state associations. We persist in our strong belief that working with associations to educate and support their members creates positive momentum within the industry and fosters a climate of growth and innovation. Recently, during a time of great confusion throughout the country over the future of health insurance, MiniCo partnered with the Self Storage Association to offer a health insurance exchange offering multiple products to its membership.

At the center of all of our efforts throughout the years has been our relationship with the diverse individuals who make up the self-storage industry. We sincerely thank you for your business and support over the past 40 years and look forward to the future.

If you plan to attend the Self Storage Association’s Fall Conference and Trade Show, please visit MiniCo at Booth 516 and join us for our 40th anniversary cocktail party on Thursday, September 11th. All conference attendees and vendors are welcome.

We hope to see you there!

Mike Schofield
President and CEO

MiniCo Collectibles Insurance Offers Commission Incentives

Starting July 1, 2014, MiniCo is offering additional commission incentives to agents writing new business in the MiniCo Collectibles Insurance program. The tiered commission program outlined below will be in effect from July 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014, for all new business written through MiniCo’s online agent portal.

Production TiersOnce an agent reaches a new commission tier, the increased commission percentage will be applied retroactively to all business written during the promotion period. Renewal business is not eligible for the tiered incentive program.

MiniCo Collectibles Insurance provides all-risk coverage for private collections of any size in a home, office or art storage facility. Collections are insured for their full collectible value, and no appraisal is required at the time of application. Coverage is offered nationwide in partnership with AXA Insurance Company.

For more information, contact MiniCo’s Collectibles Insurance Department at 888-873-6931 or collectibles@minico.com.

Learn More
Get a Quote

MiniCo to Celebrate 40th Anniversary in Las Vegas

MiniCo to Celebrate 40th AnniversarySince its founding in 1974, MiniCo Insurance Agency has been committed to providing specialty insurance to self-storage business owners. Forty years later, MiniCo is widely acknowledged as an icon of excellence in the self-storage industry.

MiniCo will be celebrating with customers and friends in the industry at the Self Storage Association’s Fall Conference and Trade Show to be held September 9-12, 2014, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. We also will host an anniversary cocktail party on September 11th, which is open to all conference attendees and vendors. The festivities will include free drink tickets, a special anniversary gift from MiniCo, and drawings for two prize packages including airfare and accommodations at The Breakers Palm Beach Resort and the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego.

MiniCo is making available to interested agents a limited number of complimentary passes to attend the trade show on September 11th. This event is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the self-storage industry and meet with small, mid-sized, and large operators. Those who attend are also invited to MiniCo’s 40th anniversary cocktail party.

Detailed information about the trade show is available at the Self Storage Association’s website. To learn more about writing business for the self-storage industry, contact customercare@minico.com.

The Risks of Technology: Understanding Cyber Liability

, Cyber Liability InsuranceToday, doing business online is standard operating practice for many self-storage businesses. Facility websites, online marketing, social media, property management software, electronic databases and cloud-based computing streamline many necessary tasks, improve efficiency, and enhance both marketing and customer service. However, this reliance on technology also may create exposures that could result in costly lawsuits and claims.

You have been hearing the term “cyber liability” more often in recent months as a result of high-profile cyber incidents. With the widespread adaptation of technology across hundreds of industries, cyber liability is now an issue that affects every business with exposures including computer viruses, data theft, identity theft and other cyber crimes.

Insurance companies are responding to the growing need for cyber liability coverages by developing new policies to address a wider range of exposures including both first-party and third-party liability.

First-Party Coverage

Business Interruption: Interruptions in business due to breaches of a company’s network
Crisis Management: Costs of retaining a public relations firm to help mitigate damage to the policyholder’s reputation and brand
Extortion/Threat: Costs to investigate, negotiate and settle threats made against the policyholder related to international computer attacks
Privacy: Expenses for breach response services such as notification, credit monitoring and identity/credit repair

Third-Party Liability Coverage

Security: Failure of network security to prevent the transmission of computer viruses or hacking
Privacy: Failure to protect private or confidential information
Media/Content: Libel, slander and other forms of disparagement as well as copyright infringement by website content
Regulatory Actions: Regulatory actions brought by state or federal agencies to enforce privacy regulations

First-party coverage is commonly available for privacy breach response, which covers expenses incurred by the self-storage facility such as customer notification, credit monitoring, credit and identity repair, and computer and legal forensic services. Policies to address additional cyber liability exposures are becoming more broadly available in the insurance marketplace.

Schedule a meeting with your insurance agent to review your potential exposures and identify possible cyber liability coverage solutions. MiniCo Insurance Agency continues to monitor this area of coverage with the intent to enhance our coverage options in the future.

Mike Schofield
President and CEO

MiniCo Named Best of Business in Self-Storage Commercial Insurance

MiniCoMiniCo Insurance Agency has been selected by readers of Inside Self-Storage magazine as a 2014 Best of Business winner in the category of best commercial insurance for the third consecutive year. Inside Self-Storage is a national trade publication for the self-storage industry.

The magazine launched its Best of Business reader survey in 2011. Self-storage industry professionals are invited to elect their choice of best businesses in 35 categories including customer service, manager training, call-center services, construction project management, and payment services.

MiniCo will be profiled in the November issue of Inside Self Storage magazine along with other 2014 Best of Business winners, and the company will be honored at a special ceremony as part of the Inside Self Storage World Expo in April 2015. The complete list of 2014 Best of Business winners may be found on the magazine’s website.

MiniCo President and CEO Mike Schofield commented, “It is an honor to receive this recognition for a third year in a row from our peers, customers and friends in the self-storage industry. MiniCo’s experienced team works each day to deliver on the promise of the company’s core value of client-focused service. We are dedicated to taking care of every customer, every time.”

For more information, contact MiniCo’s Customer Care Department at 800-447-8383 or customercare@minico.com.

Commission Incentives Now Available for MiniCo Collectibles Insurance

MiniCo is now offering additional commission incentives to agents writing new business in the MiniCo Collectibles Insuranceprogram. The tiered commission program outlined below will be in effect from July 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014, for all new business written through MiniCo’s online agent portal.

Production Tiers
(New Business Premium)
Agent Commission
Below $5,000 15.0%
$5,000 to $10,000 17.0%
$10,001 to $25,000 18.5%
$25,001 and over 20.0%

MiniCo Collectibles Insurance is an excellent insurance solution for your personal lines clients who are also serious collectors.

Click here for full program details and to get a quote.

Get Ready for Storm Season: Storm Aftermath & Filing a Claim

467331793This article addresses actions that self-storage business owners may take in the aftermath of a storm and filing a claim. The first article in this two-part series discussed steps to prepare for storm season.

Reporting Claims
When the storms have subsided and you are on your self-storage property surveying the damage, your initial thoughts will likely include your insurance carrier. In the event that you have kept a record of the names, addresses, phone numbers, policy numbers and other identifying information concerning your various carriers, you will have the necessary information at your fingertips to make a few calls to report your claim to your insurance company. Please keep in mind that a claim can usually be reported to a carrier by either the agent or the insured, but each claim should only be reported once. Claim reporting information should include the following:

• Your business name, address and phone number
• The name and phone number of the person to be contacted by the insurance company
• All contact information for the insured and/or the insured’s representatives
• Policy number
• Date, time and location of the loss
• A brief description of the damage (if multiple buildings are damaged, specify which buildings are damaged with specific addresses for each)

Taking Action
Once you have reported the claim to your carrier, a claims representative will contact you to arrange for an inspection of your property. While awaiting further action by your insurance carrier, there are a few things you may wish to consider:

• Ensure the safety of yourself, your employees, passersby, customers and the public at large. If your building is not stable, do not enter it or allow anyone else to enter it.

• Check for electrical power lines that may be down or damaged and gas lines that may be severed or leaking. Notify the appropriate authorities immediately.

• Protect the property from further damage and protect any contents or other personal property.

• Begin emergency and/or temporary repairs as soon as practicable to mitigate your damages. Most insurance companies will cover reasonable and necessary emergency repairs which safeguard your property from further loss, so keep detailed records of the amounts you spend and take photos.

• Keep any receipts for emergency repair work and an accurate record of such work along with information to identify by whom the work was performed.

• Do not discard any item without checking with your claim representative first.

• Be prepared to provide your claim representative with copies of all documents such as photographs showing damage, emergency repair invoices, receipts, and inventories.

• Take many photos.

Frequent and severe storms have become a way of life these days. The guidelines provided above are offered to assist property owners in the careful consideration, analysis and presentation of their insurance needs in the face of potentially catastrophic storm activity.

NOTE: This brief article is not intended to provide specific legal analysis or advice, and should not be construed to apply to every potential situation involving insurance coverages and losses. For specific information and questions concerning this article and the information contained therein, please consult your insurance agent and/or your attorney.

Get Ready for Storm Season: Advance Preparation

484035459This article addresses steps that self-storage business owners may take to prepare for storm season. The second article in this two-part series will discuss actions to take in the aftermath of a storm and filing a claim.

The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1st through November 30th. With over 7,000 self-storage facilities located in coastal areas, it is critical that operators take the necessary steps to prepare for extreme weather. Even if a facility is not located in a hurricane-prone area, businesses may be affected by tornadoes, windstorms, fire, earthquake or other environmental emergences at any time during the year.

Creating and maintaining an emergency preparedness and response plan as part of a facility’s overall written risk management plan is a critical task for self-storage operators. Here are some basic guidelines to help prepare for and respond to severe weather events.

Advance Preparation

We recommend completing a pre-storm analysis now in preparation for severe storms, tornadoes and hurricanes depending on your geographic location. Some of the recommendations will apply to all business owners, while some are applicable to select locations. Being prepared is the key. Hopefully the following suggestions will help everyone to be ready.

• Locate any and all insurance policies you own and ensure that they are kept in a place where storm activity will not likely affect them (safety deposit box, relative’s home, etc.).

• Make note of the names, addresses, phone numbers and policy numbers for each of your policies and keep your list on your person so that you will be prepared to make contact with your carriers once the storm activity has abated.

• Keep contact numbers for the local authorities such as the police/sheriff, medical facilities, utilities, and emergency contacts.

• Have a place of safety and an emergency plan in place for your family.

• Have a safety plan in place with emergency supplies in case an evacuation warning goes into effect.

• Keep cell phones and flashlights fully charged at all times.

Coverage Review

You should also review with your insurance agent the coverages available on all of your policies, particularly property-related policies, to ensure that storm-related exposures are included in your coverages and that your policy reflects appropriate property values. Insurance companies are empowered to place moratoriums on new business or addendums to existing business during the period when a storm appears imminent. At those times, insurance carriers may issue instructions to agents to cease binding coverage and will not contemplate any exceptions. Again, this common practice underscores the necessity of securing accurate insurance coverages well in advance of storm season.

NOTE: This brief article is not intended to provide specific legal analysis or advice, and should not be construed to apply to every potential situation involving insurance coverages and losses. For specific information and questions concerning this article and the information contained therein, please consult your insurance agent and/or your attorney.