Inside Self-Storage

MAY 2019

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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Once you've notified your agent or carrier, stay in close communication throughout the process and follow any instructions he provides. In the meantime, there are a few things to avoid doing: Don't give out information. It's best to avoid discussing the claim with tenants, visitors, witnesses, or another party's lawyer or insurance company. Let your adjuster do the talking. Don't give out information about the incident, investigation or potential settlements. If you're contacted by someone seeking this type of info, advise him to contact your claims adjuster directly. Don't admit liability. It's important to avoid saying anything that could be construed as admitting liability for property damage or bodily injury. For example, if a tenant's belongings are damaged from rain coming through a leaking roof, don't say something like, "Well, we should've had the roof inspected" or "Don't worry, we have insurance." Don't make volunteer payments. Volunteer payments are when you offer to make a deal with the tenant to cover the damage yourself. Making this type of payment without consulting your insurance agent or carrier could nullify your coverage. If that happens, you may be responsible for paying for any resulting claims, legal fees or court-ordered damages, which could be quite costly and jeopardize your business. When bodily injury or property damage happens at your facility, it can be frustrating and upsetting for everyone involved. Remember that your insurance carrier's claims department is staffed with experienced professionals who'll look out for your best interests and guide you through the process quickly and efficiently. Working with your adjuster to begin the investigation as soon as possible and following his instructions during the process can help resolve the claim quickly and with the most positive outcome for your self-storage operation. Don Sedlacek is vice president of claims for Phoenix-based MiniCo Insurance Agency, a provider of specialty insurance programs for self-storage businesses in Canada and the United States. For more information, call 800.528.1056; visit www.minico.com. Don't hesitate to file a claim because you're concerned about the effect it could have on your future coverage or premiums. That's why you have insurance in the first place! The most important aspect of your policy is how it'll respond when you need it. If events aren't reported in a timely fashion, you could be in breach of certain policy provisions and, consequently, jeopardize your protection. Act Now! Source: insideselfstorage.com, "Filing an Insurance Claim: Critical Steps for Self-Storage Operators," by Kay Schaefer May 2019 I ISS 19

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