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Key Agent Newsletter
June 2017

Did You Know...?

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Planning Ahead For Hurricane Season

Hurricane SeasonSince the record-shattering Atlantic hurricane season of 2005, that region has experienced hurricane activity that has been calmer by comparison. While this is a positive result in many respects, there is a risk that property owners may have become complacent about the possibility of storm-related damage and the impact it could have on business operations. Insurance agents can be an excellent resource to help remind their self-storage clients about the importance of prior planning for hurricanes and severe weather.

The respected Colorado State University forecaster Dr. Philip Klotzbach has predicted that the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season will have slightly below-average activity with a forecast including eleven named storms including four hurricanes with two classified as major hurricanes (Category 3-5). Additionally, this forecast estimates the probability of a major hurricane landfall on the U.S. East Coast as 42 percent, the Florida peninsula as 24 percent, and the Gulf Coast as 24 percent. The hurricane season officially begins on June 1st, and self-storage business owners in coastal areas are encouraged to take the necessary steps now to prepare for hurricanes and severe weather.

The first step is to create an emergency preparedness plan and communicate it to facility managers and employees. Self-storage businesses not located in hurricane-prone areas will also benefit from this process since tornadoes, windstorms, fire, and earthquakes may strike at any time. An emergency preparedness plan is a basic requirement for all businesses.

Training — Once the plan is in place, the facility staff should receive ongoing training to familiarize them with its key elements and procedures including shelter-in-place provisions and post-storm safety considerations.

Emergency Contacts and Documentation — Facility operators should assemble a list of important contact information and keep it in a secure location away from the facility premises with a copy kept on hand when severe weather is imminent. Contacts should include carrier names, addresses, phone numbers, and policy numbers for all insurance policies as well as contact numbers for employees, local police, medical facilities, utilities, and other emergency contacts.

Insurance — Business owners should meet with their insurance agents to ensure that storm- and disaster-related exposures are addressed by the policy. Other items to review include building values, deductibles, and business interruption coverage.

Vendor Supply Chain — Business owners should identify vendors and contractors in the area and talk to them about their ability to respond following a catastrophic event. It may be possible to make arrangements with these businesses to secure priority response in the aftermath of a catastrophic event.

Customer Contact Information — It's a good idea for facility operators to keep an electronic record of customer contact data such as email addresses and telephone numbers in order to provide pre- and post-storm communications about accessibility at the self-storage facility and related issues.

Liberty Mutual Insurance, one of MiniCo's carriers, has prepared a detailed hurricane action plan that is available for download at www.minico.com/hurricaneplan. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers many valuable online resources for business owners at www.ready.gov/business including insurance coverage review forms, checklists, communication plans, and other preparedness documents.
 

 

Self-Storage Premises Inspections and Risk Management

When it comes to insurance claims at a self-storage facility, the business owner and managers have a significant role to play in minimizing risk. While it may be impossible to prevent severe weather events, operators can take action to mitigate criminal and negligent activity on the facility premises that could result in costly claims and lawsuits.

One of the most effective methods of mitigating undesirable behaviors is by enforcing the rules spelled out in the lease and holding violators accountable. This strategy includes providing training for the managers who will be tasked with the day-to-day implementation. As the “eyes and ears” of the operation, managers need to be thoroughly trained on acceptable and unacceptable tenant behaviors since they are the ones who perform daily inspections of the premises and have regular interactions with tenants.

How much damage could a tenant potentially cause to a self-storage property? Click below to watch a video posted by a former tenant who lived in his rented unit for several weeks undetected by facility management. The extreme danger inherent in this type of behavior is evident in just the first two minutes of the video.

Play Video

It should be noted that good judgment is required when approaching lease violators. Each situation is different, and, depending on the observed activity, a face-to-face interaction may not be the safest course of action. A third party may be required to intercede if criminal activity is involved, or an email or letter may accomplish the objective for a lesser violation. When open flames such as candles are observed being used in a unit, the tenant should be confronted immediately.

A well-executed policy of actively policing the facility premises may help to insulate the facility against potential losses from property damage, insurance claims and lawsuits. In addition, these efforts can weigh in the operation’s favor when it comes to insurance premiums and policy renewal decisions.

For more information about risk management strategies for self-storage businesses, contact your MiniCo underwriter or our Customer Care Department at 800-447-8383 or customercare@minico.com.
 

 
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Marketing Tips and Tools from the MiniCo Blog

The MiniCo blog is an excellent resource for agents seeking information about topics such as getting started as a new agent, e-mail marketing, social media, website design, video marketing, customer service and networking.

If you have not yet checked out the MiniCo blog, get started with two of our most popular posts.

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How to Create a Memorable Customer Experience

.Customer satisfaction is one of the biggest things we can strive for in the insurance industry. Every agency aims to offer customers a unique and positive experience. Here are a few things you can work on to help ensure that your customer interactions are truly a memorable experience.

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