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Key Agent Newsletter
June 2021

Preparing for Hurricane Season

Preparing for Hurricane Season
June 1st marked the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season. This year's extended-range forecast published in April by Colorado State University research scientist Dr. Philip Klotzbach anticipates above-average activity. His forecast for the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season predicts 17 named storms including 8 hurricanes with 4 classified as major hurricanes (Category 3-5). In addition, this forecast estimates the probability of a major hurricane landfall on the entire U.S. coastline as 69 percent, the U.S. East Coast (including the Florida peninsula) as 45 percent, and the Gulf Coast as 44 percent.

Dr. Klotzbach also addresses the concern that the population may have become complacent about heeding hurricane preparedness advice by reminding property owners that "it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them." This is important advice to keep in mind considering the added challenges business owners are facing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now is a good time to remind your clients about the importance of emergency preparedness. The hurricane season officially began on June 1st, but emergency preparedness planning is critical for all businesses no matter their geographic location. The first step is to create an emergency preparedness plan. Once the plan has been developed, it is important to communicate it to managers and employees and provide ongoing training.

Providing planning resources to your commercial property clients may help them start the process. A detailed hurricane action plan prepared by Liberty Mutual Insurance, one of MiniCo's carriers, is available for download at In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers many valuable online resources for business owners at Resources include insurance coverage review forms, checklists, communication plans, and other preparedness documents.

In addition, MiniCo offers a wind/hail deductible buy-back program for commercial properties that enables property owners to lower their deductibles to as little as one percent or a specific dollar amount. The monoline program is underwritten by an A.M. Best "A" rated non-admitted carrier. For more information or to get a quote for the wind/hail deductible buy-back program, contact Angela Cozzo at or 800-528-1056, ext. 3008

Nonprofit Social Services Insurance


Preparing for Another Grim Wildfire Season

Preparing for Another Grim Wildfire Season
The 2020 wildfire season shattered records across several western states with more than 4.3 million acres burned in California alone, a number greater than twice the state's previous record. Colorado experienced four of its largest fires in the state's history, over one million acres burned in six wildfires in Oregon, and Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming all set new state wildfire records. Unfortunately the outlook for 2021 is equally grim. AccuWeather's wildfire forecast predicts 9.5 million acres will be burned across the western states in a season that may be devastating in both intensity and length.

Wildfires are unplanned events that burn in forest, grassland, prairie, or other natural areas. Lightning can trigger burns, but they are frequently initiated by humans through intentional or unintentional means. Wildfire is a serious concern for businesses across the country and one of the costliest causes of loss for property owners and insurance carriers.

It is critical for property owners to adopt a mindset of pre-wildfire mitigation. In other words, take steps now to reduce potential property damage and other insurance claims in the event of a wildfire. The Department of Homeland Security's website, recommends the following steps to prepare for wildfires.

Stay Informed

Up-to-the minute information is vital in situations where conditions may change rapidly. Wildfires are dynamic events that may change direction and speed without warning. Community warning systems and outlets such as the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio provide current information. It is also important to know your community's evacuation plan.

Make a Plan

Make a Plan
In the event of a fast-moving wildfire, employees and customers at a business may need to evacuate the premises. Planning ahead includes creating a detailed plan that identifies multiple evacuation routes and gathering emergency supplies including N95 respirator masks. It is also wise to take the time to drive the planned evacuation routes and make notes of landmarks since visibility may be limited during a wildfire event. Once the plan is established, employees should be provided training to familiarize them with the routes, supplies, and safety protocols.

Create and Maintain a Defensible Space

Doing everything possible to keep fire from spreading to a property is one of the most important steps in pre-wildfire mitigation. Fire-resistant materials are a wise choice for construction, renovation, repairs, and outdoor furnishings such as benches, tables, and signs or decorations. A water defense can be set up using sprinklers and hoses that can reach all areas of the property. In terms of landscaping, establish vertical and horizontal defensible zones by thinning shrubs and trees to create space, ensuring that the crowns do not overlap, and removing low tree branches to separate branches overhead from grass and shrubs. The goal is to create a primary defensible zone by eliminating all leaves, debris, and flammable material within 30 feet of buildings and removing combustible debris from roofs and gutters. This space must be inspected regularly with ongoing maintenance performed to maintain this defensible zone. Pre-wildfire mitigation steps as described above can also make a difference in an insurance carrier’s underwriting decision to offer a new business quote or a renewal quote.

Click the button below to learn more about MiniCo's portfolio of specialty insurance products for a wide range of industries and exposures or contact an underwriter at

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Property Valuation's Impact on Claims

Property Valuation's Impact on Claims
For the past several years, catastrophic insurance claims of all types have been occurring more frequently and with increasing severity. The Insurance Information Institute reports $25.5 billion of insured losses in the United States in 2019 as a result of natural catastrophes to include severe storms, wind, hail, wildfire, flood, and earthquake. Overall losses were nearly double that amount at $49.9 billion. It is critical that commercial property owners, including owners of self-storage operations, prepare for potential catastrophic losses resulting from natural events as well as manmade and accidental occurrences such as fire, roof leakage, slip-and-fall incidents, bodily injury, and others.

Property owners need to be aware that valuation affects the claim payment in the event of a covered loss. Replacement cost is the most popular insurance property valuation, and it provides coverage to repair or replace a building with materials of the same or comparable quality. This method of valuation does not include the value of any land. It does include the cost to purchase materials and hire professional contractors to repair or replace a building.

Here are some things to consider when discussing replacement-cost property valuation with your self-storage clients:

· Replacement cost coverage does not account for depreciation.

· The market cost of labor and materials to repair or replace a damaged building can fluctuate dramatically.

· Recent improvements and new construction should be considered when updating the insurance property valuation.

· If insuring with a policy that offers a blanket limit on signs, office contents, fences, etc., consider the value of everything that is covered by the blanket limit.

· The property valuation should include the cost of the foundation.

Ensuring that a self-storage operation is appropriately protected also includes the following:

· Purchasing adequate limits for customer goods legal liability is important in the event of a catastrophic event. The minimum limit available on MiniCo's BOP application is $25,000 and is typically not adequate in the event of a fire or other large loss.

· Business income (or business interruption) coverage is critical to an operation's survival in the event of a catastrophic loss. It is also one of the most complex, least understood, and most undersold insurance coverages available to property owners. Take the time to discuss the benefits of business income coverage with your self-storage clients.

· Risk management planning and performing maintenance tasks in a timely manner are more important than ever in helping to minimize potential claims and costly lawsuits.

The insurance industry is signaling that 2021 will bring significant premium increases of 8 to 15 percent for commercial property policies including the self-storage sector. It is necessary to evaluate premium costs in relation to potential out-of-pocket exposure in the event of a large loss, major liability claim, or catastrophic event. Be sure to address property valuation at the annual insurance review with each of your clients who are commercial property owners. If you have questions about property valuation or would like more information about MiniCo's specialty BOP for self-storage risks, contact an underwriter at 800-528-1056 or

Hail Action Plan


MiniCo Sponsors Applied Net 2021 Virtual Event

MiniCo Sponsors Applied Net 2021 Virtual Event
MiniCo Insurance is proud to sponsor the upcoming Applied Net virtual conference and trade show. Last year's online event was an excellent opportunity to network, learn, and interact with insurance industry professionals in a virtual setting. The MiniCo team is looking forward to speaking with you at this year's conference.

Applied Net 2021 (virtual)
August 23-26, 2021

In addition to interacting at the conference, you can find MiniCo on IVANS Markets. This digital platform provides immediate, current information to our valued agent partners.

Click the button below to learn more about MiniCo's portfolio of specialty insurance products for a wide range of industries and exposures or contact an underwriter at

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