Recovering From Natural Disaster: Self-Storage Operators and Customers Bounce Back Quicker With Tenant Insurance

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By Jonathon Vogel

As the New Orleans Saints made their thrilling Super Bowl run in 2010, the rest of America caught a glimpse of the people of Louisiana. They found an inspiring, resilient lot. Their upbeat, can-do attitude helped them bounce back from the worst of circumstances—2005’s Hurricane Katrina—and showed how to look ahead to a better tomorrow.

After Katrina devastated New Orleans and much of the state, destroying homes and leaving entire neighborhoods unlivable, many residents turned to self-storage facilities to keep their property safe. Residents of Metairie, La., just west of New Orleans, stored belongings saved from Katrina’s killer flood.

But Mother Nature added insult to injury in May 2009 as a tornado ripped through Metairie.  Metro Self Storage was in the middle of the swath of devastation, and the storm’s winds and rains destroyed more than a 100 units belonging to people who had already endured too much heartache.

Tenants who had elected to take the storage facility’s offer of tenant insurance protected themselves against loss and didn’t have to worry about replacing their possessions. Unlike other victims of the disaster who had to wait for their insurance companies to respond—or simply make do with even less than they had after Katrina—customers with tenant insurance were visited on site by a disaster-response team. Agents were right there with them, writing settlement checks on the spot, helping those in need just after the skies had cleared.

Because an insurance team was on site within hours of the storm, Metro management didn’t have to worry about claims and coverage issues, but instead could focus on all the other worries surrounding the disaster—the health and safety of staff, tenants and customers, the arduous effort of recovery, the essential job of cooperating with police and other first-responders, the hopeful work of looking ahead and rebuilding.

“The site was a nightmare,” said Brian D. Blankenship, executive vice president of Metro Storage LLC. “But the insurance response team was great. They met with our customers, and settled most claims right there. It was also one less worry for my team.”

One less worry―when disaster strikes, that’s all anyone really wants, whether you own a vast storage facility or rent a tiny unit that serves as an extra attic. That’s what an insurance partner provides. If you’re considering a tenant-insurance program, make sure your provider is committed to being there and supporting you, no matter where or when you need it.

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