It’s fair to say that, as Vice President of Commercial Insurance at the Insurance Office of America, I worry more than most.
In fact, as someone who manages risk for a living, it’s my job to worry about what could happen to my clients’ properties and livelihoods. And as a coffee fiend, I’d particularly like to see the coffee businesses that have brought me so many happy moments stay safe.
That’s why I’m here to tell you how to protect your business—through insurance. Yes, that dull, dry, but oh-so-important matter. I’m going to give you all the advice that you NEED to know, so you can be ready in case you actually have to use it.
Whether you’re a new coffee shop owner or a roaster who distributes to an entire continent, when it comes to insurance claims, you have a lot in common. One of these things in common is that you’re probably underprepared. Regardless of the industry and even the size of the enterprise, insurance is usually delegated to that nice person in the office with 1,000 other things to do. As such, it’s almost always an afterthought. Many times, insurance coverage is dealt with a day or two before renewal in a few rushed emails back and forth to a broker. The conversations that should happen get postponed, and postponed, and postponed again.
Regardless of the size or style of your coffee shop, insurance is a must.
But you know the headache we all get when we blow off our morning pour over? Multiply that by 100. That’s the headache you’ll have if you need to make an insurance claim and aren’t prepared.
Imagine that in the next few months your business will experience a break-in, a fire, a hurricane, a flood, or something of a similarly destructive magnitude. After the initial shock wears off, you’ll start down the road of filing an insurance claim. Part of this will involve meeting with an insurance adjuster, at which point you’ll be asked to do something that will seem impossible: make an accurate list of all of the damaged, lost, stolen, flooded or burned items. I remember asking people to do that in Florida in the aftermath of the 2004-2005 hurricane season. They stared at me blankly and asked, “Are you kidding?”
People who have suffered a loss to their homes or businesses are rarely capable of enumerating every item that has been damaged. Between the trauma of the event, the emotions associated with loss, and the focus needed to rebuild and survive, very few people have the presence of mind to think through what the room “used to look like” to remember all of the items in the mud or ashes. To get an idea of how difficult this is to do, try making a list of everything in the premises of your coffee business, complete with information about condition, from memory. Can you do it? Now imagine doing it when shocked by the trauma of potentially losing your entire business.
Even in the worst case scenario, you’ll be protected.
And now work out the cost of replacing every item you forgot.
Can you imagine that feeling?
We can’t remove the heartache of this happening to your coffee business, but we can remove the headache of the insurance claim. Imagine the best aspirin EVER, because that’s what this advice is—and you can do it in less than an hour, in just nine simple steps.
Here’s what you do:
- Get some well-charged recording equipment. It doesn’t have to be pricey; your phone or camera will do.
- On a blank sheet of paper, make a rough diagram of the rooms in your business.
- Block out an hour of your schedule. During daylight is best.
- Number them #1, #2, #3 and so on until all rooms and hallways have an number. Don’t forget to number attics, basements, outside spaces where you store things, etc.
- Enter Room #1, and before filming, open all drawers, closets and remove items from under furniture, etc.
- Starting with Room #1, record a video of the entire room from left to right, top to bottom, 360 degrees. Record slowly so all items can be seen clearly. Make sure you film all equipment, electronics, artwork, and other valuable items, and take an extra moment to film the serial numbers of all electronic and computer equipment.
- As you finish a room, mark it off your paper diagram until all have been filmed.
- Upload the video(s) to Google Drive, Dropbox or another cloud storage platform.
- Remember to update it when new stock arrives.
And you’re done.
God forbid you ever suffer a loss, but should that happen, you’ll be able to make a claim for every single item. The insurance company, not you, will pay for your state-of-the-art brew equipment, the specialty coffee that arrived a week ago, the stereo system, the barista uniforms, the branded coffee cups and plates, the artwork/plants/bicycles that you had as decoration… EVERYTHING.
Pass this along to your friends and business associates. Do it with your home as well. And share it on your social media. It can make ALL the difference.
Written by A. Giambarba.
Perfect Daily Grind.