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Key Agent Newsletter
Summer 2016



. Storm Season Insurance Claims: Are You Prepared?
. Available Now: MiniCo President & CEO Speaks on Insuring
. Self-Storage Risks
. Risk Management Resources for Self-Storage Operators

Storm Season Insurance Claims:
Are You Prepared?
by Don Sedlacek

Storm Season Insurance Claims: Are You Prepared?The Atlantic hurricane season is now officially underway, and the forecast is for as many as 13 named storms between June 1st and November 30th. For those not located in coastal areas, these months are also an active time for tornadoes, wind and hail storms, and wildfires. As a self-storage operator, you need to take the necessary steps to prepare for severe weather and be ready in the event that you need to file an insurance claim.

Assemble Information and Supplies

Take the time to assemble the information you will need in the event of a severe storm. Create a contact list that includes the names, addresses, phone numbers and policy numbers for each of your insurance policies as well as contact information for your local authorities, medical facilities, and employees. The list should remain on file at your facility with a copy kept on your person once a severe weather event has been predicted. In addition, keep your active insurance policies in a safe place where storm activity is not likely to affect them such as a safety deposit box or relative’s home. Finally, put together an emergency kit with items you may need to shelter in place to include flashlights, batteries, a battery-operated radio or television, sturdy shoes, identification, a cell phone and an extra set of keys for company and personal vehicles.

Review Your Insurance Policy

Does your insurance policy cover business interruption? Are you covered in the event of a catastrophic loss? What are your potential out-of-pocket expenses? If you are unsure about the contents of your insurance policy, schedule a coverage review with your agent. Be sure to discuss storm-related exposures and confirm that your policy reflects appropriate property values. If your policy specifies replacement with materials of like kind and quality, ask your agent to explain how that may affect potential repairs in the event of property damage at your facility.

Identify Vendors

If a severe storm hits your area, you and many other property owners are going to be seeking vendors to perform temporary repairs. Materials may become scarce, and you could wait a relatively long time for service. Identify vendors you may need following a weather event and talk to them about the availability of and their access to materials following a storm. You may be able to work with them to secure a priority position for response following a severe storm. Be sure to select licensed, insured contractors.

Report Claims

Once the storm has passed and you have surveyed the damage at your facility, it’s time start the claims process. Keep in mind that you can report a claim to your agent or directly to the carrier, but only report each claim once. If you work with an insurance agent, it is a good idea to report the claim directly to him/her. To make the report, you will need your business name, address and phone number; contact information for the policyholder and/or their representative; the insurance policy number; the date, time and location of the loss; and a brief description of the damage including specific building addresses. A claims representative will contact you to arrange to inspect the property.

Take Action

While awaiting the insurance company’s inspection, there are a few actions you may wish to take to secure the property and prevent further damage. Most importantly, 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. Identify any downed electrical power lines or damaged gas lines and notify the appropriate authorities as soon as possible.

You don’t need to wait for the claims adjuster to start documenting the scene, so take photos and videos that show the damage. It is also a good idea to make an inventory of lost and damaged items. Most insurance companies will cover reasonable and necessary emergency repairs that safeguard your property from further loss. Be sure to keep detailed records of your expenses and keep your receipts for supplies you purchase and any work accomplished by a vendor. Finally, do not discard any item before checking with your claims representative.

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.

Don Sedlacek is Vice President of Claims for Phoenix-based MiniCo Insurance Agency. MiniCo is a program administrator offering multiple specialty property and casualty insurance products for a variety of unique industries and exposures including self-storage, fine art and collectibles and agribusiness. For more information, visit


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