Since its founding in 1974, MiniCo Insurance Agency has focused on providing specialty insurance solutions for the self-storage industry. But the company’s mission has always been far greater than simply underwriting policies and handling claims. MiniCo is dedicated to continually seeking out and developing new and innovative insurance solutions to meet the changing needs of the self-storage industry as well as educating industry professionals about risk management while providing concierge customer service to self-storage business owners and independent insurance agents.
Coverages Designed for Self-Storage
One of the key features of MiniCo’s self-storage insurance program is customization. While some insurance providers take a “one-size-fits-all” businessowner’s policy (or BOP) and apply it to whatever type of business is being quoted, MiniCo’s BOP has been designed specifically to address the unique needs of self-storage operations. Underwriters are then able to customize the policy for each customer with property and liability coverages as well as specialty coverages to include the following:
- Business Property and Business Income – buildings and structures, business personal property, business income, course of construction, pollutant cleanup and removal, employees’ personal property, building ordinance, valuable papers and records, accounts receivable, fine arts, fire protection systems, media and data, identity recovery, crime and employee dishonesty, and trees, shrubs, and plants.
- Business Liability – comprehensive business liability, umbrella coverage, general liability, personal injury and advertising injury, hired and non-owned auto liability, and medical expenses.
- Self-Storage Specialty Coverages – customer goods legal liability, sale and disposal liability, and limited pollutant removal.
- Optional Coverages – system protection (equipment breakdown), earthquake, employment practices liability, employee resident manager’s personal liability, data compromise coverage, and deductible waiver option for cosmetic loss to roof coverings.
Insurance Solutions for Difficult Properties
For a variety of underwriting reasons, some self-storage properties are more challenging to insure than others. Considerations such as age of buildings, use of buildings, geographical location, and loss history may negatively affect a carrier’s underwriting decision and lead to coverage limitations or a declination to offer a quote. Self-storage operators in areas that are prone to severe weather are well aware of the challenges in the current insurance marketplace. The rise in the number and cost of wind and hail claims since 2008 has left many insurance agents scrambling to secure insurance coverage for their clients who own self-storage businesses.
In an effort to address this issue and provide additional solutions for self-storage operations that are difficult to insure, MiniCo recently has been named a coverholder for London-based Lloyd’s. The company will be rolling out two new programs that may benefit self-storage owners facing these types of insurance challenges.
- Property Only Coverage for Difficult Self-Storage Exposures
This new property insurance program will offer a coverage solution for facilities that are difficult to insure due to geographic location, age, or marginal underwriting characteristics. Stand-alone general liability with self-storage specialty liability coverage will be available to complement the property coverage.
- Wind/Hail Deductible Buy-Back Program For Commercial Property
Many insurance carriers have implemented high percentage wind and hail deductibles for property in geographic areas prone to catastrophic wind and hail claims. Deductibles of five to ten percent are becoming more common in the most challenging locations. MiniCo’s program will enable property owners to purchase a stand-alone buy-back policy that permits the deductible to be as low as two percent or a specific dollar amount. This will decrease the property owner’s potential out-of-pocket financial exposure and assist in compliance with mortgage deductible requirements.
“Our partnership with Lloyd’s is an exciting next step in MiniCo’s evolution,” says MiniCo’s President and CEO Mike Schofield. “The new property program and wind/hail deductible buy-pack program allow us to support independent insurance agents and their self-storage customers who have encountered challenges in securing coverage for their businesses.”
Risk Management Information
MiniCo is at the forefront in providing materials to educate self-storage professionals and insurance agents about risk management. Operators who actively address risk management at their facilities help to minimize on-site injuries, property damage, insurance claims, and lawsuits. These efforts go a long way toward protecting the self-storage operation’s bottom line as well as help to keep insurance premiums lower.
Two long-standing free e-newsletters published by MiniCo provide valuable risk management information. e-Risk Management is a quarterly publication written for self-storage owners, operators, and managers to identify common risk management issues and provide tools to assist in mitigation. The bimonthly Key Agent publication is targeted to independent insurance agents who work with self-storage operators to help educate them about the industry and its unique exposures. Back issues and subscription forms for both publications are available on MiniCo’s website.
The company’s website and YouTube channel feature the MiniCo Safety Shorts series of loss control and safety videos developed for self-storage owners, operators, and managers. These short-form videos address topics such as ladder safety, tenant safety, and preventing slips, trips, and falls.
Industry events and national conferences have offered opportunities for MiniCo representatives to participate in panels and educational events. In recent years, Mike Schofield has made presentations on a number of risk management topics to include catastrophic claims, social media and online marketing risks, cyber-liability exposures, and the essentials of self-storage insurance. In addition, Schofield contributes a monthly President’s Page feature in the Mini-Storage Messenger, which frequently addresses risk management topics for the self-storage industry.
Concierge Customer Service
When MiniCo advertises that “no one knows self-storage insurance like MiniCo Insurance Agency,” executives and team members consider the statement to be both a promise and a challenge. MiniCo stands alone in the insurance industry as the only company with underwriters and claims adjusters focused solely on self-storage properties, a fact that is as true today as it was when MiniCo was founded in 1974. Many of the company’s underwriting and claims professionals have over 20 years of experience specifically with self-storage properties. In addition, the MiniCo team continually surveys its customers as a means of evaluating and improving its level of service to both property owners and insurance agents.
As Mike Schofield notes, “Our goal is to provide world-class service to every customer with every interaction. That is more than just a saying at MiniCo. We strive to achieve that goal each day.”
COMPANY INFO BOX
Company: MiniCo Insurance Agency
Products: Self-storage specialty commercial insurance, self-storage tenant insurance, fine art and collectibles insurance, agribusiness insurance, sports and activity insurance
President & CEO: Mike Schofield
Headquarters: Phoenix, AZ
Contact: Customer Care Department