Inside Self-Storage

NOV 2018

Inside Self-Storage (ISS) is an information source for industry owners, managers, developers and investors covering news, trends, facility operation, finance, real estate, construction, development, marketing, technology, insurance and legality.

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Q & A Tipton is not a rookie. This one-woman POWERHOUSE took her frst leap into the insurance industry over 40 years ago as a fle clerk, and is now the President Insurance Programs. by Rachael Wheeler RANDY TIPTON You've been in the storage industry for over 40 years. What's it been like to be on the ground foor of an industry like this and to watch it grow so much? It's interesting, when I frst started there were very few women in the industry. It was truly a male-dominated business. There were a handful of us and now it's saturated with professional women and entrepreneurial women and that's kinda cool! To see this industry that was flled with really bright, wonderful men has now incorporated guys are girls and that's exciting. When I frst started, the self-storage facilities were pretty basic. They didn't use a good grade metal, they were always the rows of doors, and there weren't any that went up. The security wasn't as good, the construction wasn't as good, and there was virtually no automation. Maintaining logs for your renters was done on an old ledger sheet. There weren't computers or faxes; it was a different world. It was all about the manager hopefully being friendly enough to rent that space. There wasn't any online advertising, it was all Yellow Pages. Quite a difference, right? Talking about insuring for weather, Universal Insurance covers so many varieties of solutions for your customers, like pollution insurance, which most people wouldn't even think about but makes complete sense. Did this wide variety of insurance options evolve and grow over the years as your customers' needs began to expand, or did you start out with this broad gamut? Truth is, it's a clandestine business and people use our self-storage industry, sometimes, for the wrong reasons. After hearing about these problems for multiple times, I went to one of our insurance companies and pitched this idea to create a pollution liability program specifcally designed for self- storage that was reasonably priced. I was able to do that by putting everybody into what we call a risk purchasing group so that everyone would have the buying power and not have to deal with what insurance companies call "minimum premiums." So instead of paying a minimum of $5,000 a year, they might pay $600 or $800 a year for some really good coverage but they improve our self-storage industry. So that's the pollution story! On the other coverages we offer, those kind of change as the industry changes. You'll fnd that with many of the insurance providers: they start realizing that the customers' goods need higher coverage now because tenants are more litigious, particularly in certain states where you add on certain employment practices liability coverage because that's a growing concern for self-storage owners. The evolution of a good insurance program that's in a niche market is to evaluate and upgrade as the industry evolves. Let's shift gears and talk about redevelopment and what you're seeing. You've mentioned in previous interview that the industry has aged, and so have the facilities. Are you seeing a lot of redevelopments, renovations, and things like that going on right now? Not as much as we'd like to. We're seeing a lot of storage owners adding buildings on – having that little bit of vacant land and building another one or two or three buildings, but we're not seeing enough renovating and reinventing to build the infrastructure up to the caliber of what it should be. When we do see it, we're really excited because these buildings are aging and they do need attention paid to them. They need to pay attention to the construction, they need to pay attention to the ADA laws and how that affects their tenants' wellbeing and not getting hurt. We're just starting to see that, but we'd sure like to see more. Especially with the ADA rules and regulations. It's the idea of "pay now or pay later." The thing we want to do as an industry is be proactive and not wait until we start having the media notice us as an industry, that we're not an ADA compliant industry. I'm kind of the Pollyanna of the world, I'm so positive! But sometimes I think these storage owners don't like to spend the money because things are going well and JANUS INTERNATIONAL GROUP ADVERTISEMENT

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