There's no end to the tangible and ethereal dangers we face in this day and age. It's a wonder we endure as a world culture, thriving where we should realistically fail, escaping castigation where it is often warranted, mercifully slipping through the hands of jeopardy. If ever you feel unlucky, put out or unaccomplished, it's easy to gain perspective: Simply sit back at the end of a long day and give thought to all the perils you managed to avoid in the preceding 24 hours (keep in mind these lists are by no means exclusive):
- Physical—Disease, illness, criminal attacks, accidents, crossfire, natural disasters and (my personal favorite) basic mortality.
- Emotional—Love, betrayal, fear, love, distrust, anger, love, sadness, grief, love, frustration, disappointment, despair, etc. Did I mention love?
- Mental—Overwork, underpay, familial stress, financial stress, health-related stress, low self-esteem, a full gamut of diagnosable disorders, sleep deprivation, bad relationships (personal and professional) and general demoralization.
- Intellectual—Lost brain cells from too many controlled substances (preservatives, additives, alcohol, drugs) and uncontrollable substances (radio waves, microwaves, radiation, pesticides). Poor information, misinformation, lack of information, lack of desire for information. And finally, evolution, which aims to make Mankind more skilled and less gifted with each passing year.
- Financial—Identity theft, virtual theft, credit-card fraud, unstable investments, a fluctuating economy, lay-offs, costly accidents, losing (or lost) lottery tickets, and other unpredictable tragedies.
- Spiritual—Lack of faith. Too much faith. Lack of answers. Oversimplified answers. Lack of conviction. Zealousness.
- Moral—A shortage of working ethics and guidelines (and respectable bodies to educate and enforce), and too many laws upheld by corrupt power-holders.
- Technological—Viruses, hackers, spam, crashes, breakdowns, meltdowns and—the letdown of all letdowns—the television show missed thanks to poor VCR/DVR/TiVo performance. The only thing worse is the eBay auction lost due to a poor network connection. Ouch!
Notice I failed to address business in this list of hazards. There's no need: This month's authors have duly covered the topic. Industry experts in the field of law and insurance will explain your liability exposures and how to rectify them, as well as how to protect yourself from threats outside your control. Today's self-storage operators not only face the dangers of natural disaster and breached homeland security common in every industry, they confront specialized risks as well.
From tenants who won't or can't pay to those who sue for damaged goods or the unlawful sale of their property, you're fortunate to shut the books on an average business day and be well in the black. Add the increasing need to verify customers' identity, make available tenant insurance and consistently modernize your rental agreement, and you've got even greater impetus to count your blessings.
Every day, you face a whirlwind of business risk. But appropriate insurance coverage coupled with proactive legal measures will keep you in the clear. Some days it's a miracle just to be alive, healthy and (mostly) sane. Why add a list of liabilities to an already full supply? Don't let fate hit you where it hurts—keep your business covered, and thank whomever you thank for small marvels.
Teri L. Lanza